Monday, August 30, 2010

Hooray for Cupcake Day!

SPCA Cupcake Day was today - what a great excuse for some workplace gluttony! My sister Laura (who is an amazing baker and also makes cards for Topography) raised a lot of money with her workfriends... my mouth is watering just looking at all that icing (I have a major sweet tooth!)

You can see she was dressed appropriately in the apron I decorated recently, and a new cupcake pin I made last week. How cute are her ginger with cream cheese icing catcakes?

If you missed Cupcake Day but would like to donate to the wonderful SPCA, just click here.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

For the love of: Amy Butler

No.1: This is the start of a little series explaining the stories behind our OTLP fabric choices, starting with who we consider the Queen of the US textile market - Amy Butler.

(Actually this should officially be the No. 2 in the series - I started this series with my post on Studio E's new modern damask fabric in black in white here).

I shouldn't really admit this - but Greta and I can both spend HOURS if left unchecked trawling international textile websites looking at the latest colours, directions and collection release dates of our favourite designers. There's a massive 'movement' of design-led crafters and sewers in the US and Europe. Australians have also recently caught the wave and you will see many Australian crafters now using the latest designer fabrics mixed in with their special vintage favourites. Here in New Zealand I've noticed if you search trademe for 'Amy Butler', a whole range of items pop up. Two years ago and this wouldn't have been the case.

As a designer, Amy Butler sets trends and is known for contemporary design with a vintage 'twang'. Her 'Lotus' and 'Mid Western' ranges for Westminster and Rowan Fabrics have been some of the most successful ranges internationally with the craft community, and have been reprinted and restocked over and over.

This month she was featured in Elle UK magazine and Living Etc UK for her new wallpaper range (yes that's right, she now designs wallpapers, stationary, etc too). She was also profiled in depth in Where Woman Create USA magazine, with gorgeous shots of her home studio - check out the Living Etc and Where Woman Create pictures below and download the PDF article here. Bold and beautiful throw cushions are scattered all over retro couches, simple vases and collectables line bookshelves and functional office tools organise her work spaces (I'm so jealous of this work space!!!)

Amy's studio is, among other things, a homage to her current range entitled 'Love' - lots of turquoise, blues, purples and botantical prints. As well as botantics, 'Love' also includes a touch of Indian and eastern influences, such as the 'Bali Gate' fabrics that I use in lily pad designs' range (see bottom picture of my blue lily pad). She's talked in several articles about these two themes running not only through her current work, but also her new upcoming collection, 'Soul Blossoms'. Here's a preview:

'Soul Blossoms' won't be available until December/January, and according to TrueUp, a US fabric blog, it "takes it up a notch" and has several Indian-inspired colourways including 'Sari Blooms' and 'Temple Doors'. The three ranges within the collection again focus on blues and turquoises, alongside a cerise and orange-based line and a fern-green based line. No doubt these will be the three colourways many quilting, home decor and crafting lines focus on this summer in New Zealand!!!

Here at OTLP we [heart] Amy Butler so much her fabrics feature in several of our products, as it does in our close friends at Holly Chic Baby's bassinet and cot bedding and Estella Rose's shoulder bags. For products made using her 'Love', 'Lotus' and 'MidWestern' fabrics, check out our products below, all of which you can buy online through our websites Lily Pad Designs (and retailers); Topography; Holly Chic; and Estella Rose.

You might also like:

Babybites article: Hand-made for Father's Day

When you just can't think of something meaningful for your other half on Father's Day...why not buy something hand-made with love that celebrates his fatherhood. OR give him something he can make or do with with kids on the day. I've rounded up myfavourite finds by NZ Mums in my latest column on Baby Bites today, check it out! (Including our gorgeous Topography new Dad shirts!)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

My creative space: lily pad flower skirts a la tinkerbell!

I had the loveliest surprise last week when a new-found cyber-friend of mine, Marie from softearthart, sent me this lovely "Thumbelina on a water lily pad" in the mail as a gift for my four year old. We had begun talking online when I joined New Zealand Handmade, which Marie is a team member of, and were conversing about how apt the lily pad doll was for me - not only for my business, but for my family. My four year old is obsessed with Thumbelina and Tinkerbell and all fairy creatures, and we'd just been watching and re-watching Thumbelina and new Tinkerbell Disney movies on DVD. Now we sit with this delicate needle felt art creature in our hands and tell the story verbally to each other - it's a wonderful tool for developing her recall, language and story telling.

So I want to thank Marie not only for her gift, but also for sparking my latest new 'creative space' project, which I've made with my four year old this week.

The clogs began turning in my mind for this project the minute I received Thumbelina. Her body sort of melds into the lily pad petals and leaves. And in the Tinkerbell movies, Tinkerbell, Silvermist, Iridessa and the other fairies wear dresses made of petals and leaves. One thing led to another...Maddie and I first made a sketch, and then raided our tulle fabric scraps to put together a new invention - the "lily pad flower skirt". The skirt itself is meant to be the "lily pad" - made of an opaque green organza with a gold thread through it that looks like leaf veins. The "flower" on top is all different coloured and shaped tulle petals, with a few ribbons thrown in to represent stamins. I don't know if this is anatomically correct - but she loves it!

For more than 160 other lovely crafters creative projects this week, visit Kirsty at

Monday, August 16, 2010

Yay for handmade!

So today I really want to celebrate all things handmade and give all crafters and artists a big round of applause. I've noticed several blogs recently talking about how it feels that 'handmade' is really having its day in New Zealand at the moment...and I totally agree. Here's my list of recent things I've felt excited about:

1. FELT is one of the three nominees for the 'online selling store of the year' award in the Net Guide Awards 2010. Yay Lucy - you totally deserve to win and EVERY craft blogger or follower needs to vote for Felt!
2. Kraftbomb is turning 2 in a couple of weeks - will be a fantastic event!
3. New suburban craft markets are popping up everywhere in Auckland - there's yet another in Auckland with info on facebook and some 'night' markets
4. A whole bunch of 'support groups' are forming - joining Auckland Craft Collective and Crafty Business is 'New Zealand Handmade' - a collective that has started an Etsy group under the same name to promote New Zealand crafts to the world; Supporting WAHMs in NZ - on facebook; and Linked NZ - another facebook group supporting home NZ businesses
Join New Zealand Handmade!!

5. One of my favourite magazines, Your Home & Garden, which has always supported 'DIY', not only has a cover story on knitter extraordinaire Mel Clark's home and craft, but dedicates its foreword to supporting handmade: "Adding something handmade to the mix is one of the best ways to say something unique about you."
6. Foxes online store recently opened, and had awesome 'mainstream press' including a big double page feature in Viva!!!
7. Auckland had its first 'Auckland Art and Craft Fair' at the Art Gallery, which was crazy buzy
8. Joining the huge amount of 'underground' zines is Extra Curricular magazine, which celebrates people who do creative projects in their spare time
9. Joining other mum-run online stores selling designer and handmade NZ goodies for kids like Little Kiwis Nest is Mum-Made

Now these are just the things I know about, and I readily admit I am really more of a 'mainstream' crafter than an 'alternative' or 'uber-cool' crafter type. I just love using amazing fabrics and colours to inspire my children, and other people's children, to be creative. I have no problem mixing my craft items with (well-made and preferably eco-friendly) store-bought items. Yet I have noticed all these arty things surely, that means other middle of the road families have too.

What else is happening that we can add to this list?

Anyway, I'm proud to let you know that I'm going to be doing my best to bring crafty goodness to more families in New Zealand each week from now on. The online magazine Baby Bites ( has for a little while now run a column called "Handmade Heaven". Its editor Jodi loves good design and handmade goods too, and she's been running this column (she recently featured my lily pads). But she's a very busy woman running two businesses and needed some help with scouting and writing. I noticed her request on "Mums on Top" recently for help... and anyway long story short I'm now helping her out with writing it. If you make your own, or notice great kids products made by hand that would be good for the column, please write me and let me know!

Topography - Little Custom Shirts: August Giveaway!

If you are looking for baby gifts or something special for your little one, my website has been updated with new shirts and photos, so check it out if you haven't had a look lately.

I specialise in made-to-order shirts for babies, but I also do size 2s for toddlers and am now running a giveaway to win one of my original designs, Frog or Teacup.

All you have to do to enter the draw is -
  • Be a follower of this blog (either through Google or subscribe to email updates through the box in the left column)
  • or follow the Topography Facebook page

There is also a little bonus draw for any followers that link this giveaway to their blog or Facebook page, just make sure I know that you have  :)

Entries close 9.00am on September 1st, and if you become a follower for this month's giveaway you are automatically entered in our Super-September one too!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

My Creative Space - E is for Elephant

I have always wanted to make a soft toy and Cotton Kiwi's sock monkey tutorial has been on my 'to do' list for a while, but this week I was inspired by a gorgeous book I stumbled upon in the library, 'Sock and Glove' by Miyako Kanamori. There are instructions for all kinds of animals but I had to make the elephant, I thought the trunk and crinkly ears were so clever.

It took a bit longer than I expected as my handsewing is not quick, but it was like a book I couldn't put down and the only tricky bit was attaching the ears. Apparently the body was a good enough toy all by itself as it was kidnapped for a while...

I had a little teddy bear t-shirt that happened to fit so of course I had to do a mini-version of my alphabet tees (it looked so cute on the sewing machine that I had to stop and take a photo!). My daughter had decided it was a girl, and called 'Elephant' (of course), but when she saw the shirt she told me it was 'not e for elephant, e for Eeyore'.

The drawstring pants are from a pattern in the book, I should have fitted them before sewing because they came out as hipsters (I used a really big sock), but they are still functional, complete with hole for the tail.

I love this book and I must admit my first instinct was to copy the whole thing before I returned it to the library, but then I figured if I don't believe in ripping off music or movies, I should also  support a really clever crafter - so I have a copy on its way from (love their free delivery!).

To see what other craftiness has been going on this week, have a browse through kooyotoo's My Creative Space.

Monday, August 9, 2010

lily pad liners - new black pattern launch!

Today we're launching our new season black and white lily pad pram liner! Made from "Fans in White" fabric by US-based Studio E Design, the new fabric is a modern take on a traditional damask shape, moving it forward into a stylised, funky all over pattern. It's a fresh take on a timeless, vintage classic shape and this trend is very 'in' for the coming seasons - see my Karen Walker post below!!!

The fabric comes from a hugely successful 'black and white essentials' range from Studio E, for which they release new patterns every year and are up to Series IV. The theme is 'more than basics' and hip design blogs in the US such as Fabric Flair create home furnishings and furniture as well as clothing from them.

In my excitement of finding this fabric I also bought a small quantity of a complementary design from the same essentials collection - "Baroque Scroll in White". Seen here made into one of my lily pinboards for a friend, I think it's a sophisticated, vintage pattern for a pinboard to be used in an 'adult' space. In my friend's house it adorns her living room and computer area. (More of these can be made to order).

So: the flipside to introducing this new season pattern in the lily pads is that it means I have nearly sold out of all the previous pattern called "Daring Damask". If you loved this pattern, but were holding off buying - you'd better hurry! I have one left on my Felt Store and Daisy Baby, Holly Chic and Bay Bee Cino each have 1 or 2 left.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Giveaway winner announced!

Our lily pinboard giveaway closed yesterday, so today Miss Four and I printed off all 148 entries - yes, 148!!! - from our blog followers list, our email subscription list, and our lily pad designs facebook page. We cut them all into little tickets, folded them blind, mixed them up in a big bowl, and took them over to our neighbour, who is also the local area Community Constable. He kindly drew out...Amanda Gray!

Well done Amanda, your Full Moon Pink medium size lily pinboard will be on its way tomorrow. The Full Moon Pink pattern is one of my all time favourites, and is made with one of designer Amy Butler's most popular polka dot patterns. It has been renewed at the fabric wholesalers over and over due to huge demand.

The alternative prize (remember I offered the choice of a boys or girls design) was called Blue By the Sea, also med size. I've decided to list this pinboard on my Felt Store tonight for a majorly discounted price. So if you missed out, check it out!
Thanks to everyone who entered...we really appreciate all your support. xo

Friday, August 6, 2010

New fabric shipment - can you guess what for?

Yesterday was my favourite day of the week - the day my fabric shipments arrive from the US! It coincided with a purchase of a new fabric for me - gorgeous Southern New Zealand merino, from Designer Textiles. It's been through a flash technological process making it extra durable on the outer layer, for rough and tumble kids, while still soft and comfy on the inside layer.

I CAN'T WAIT to get started on my new projects this weekend - hubby may have to take the girls out to the park if it stops raining! Or I might have to sacrifice watching the rugby Bledisloe game (a big deal in our house as we are a NZ-Australian household).

So for a bit of Friday fun, I thought I'd see if anyone out there wants to hazard a guess at the new projects I'm working on with these fabrics...if you guess right I might even put together a wee prize!

Giveaway reminder/s!

Just a reminder to all my fellow Kiwi Mummy Blogs bloggers - my giveaway closes at 9am tomorrow morning. If you sign up to follow my blog, or join by email, or 'like' my new facebook page, you are in the draw for either a medium size Full Moon pink spot lily pinboard, or a By the Sea blue stripe pinboard (see this blog post). (PS: yes, I extended the dates to include my new facebook page.)

Good luck!

I also wanted to let you know about Dolls and Daydreams' giveaway - for a wonderful pattern for her eco dolls house! Check it out:

Eco Friendly Dollhouse pdf pattern Giveaway
Sarah’s hosting a fabulous Giveaway over at Dolls And Daydreams for her Eco Friendly Doll House PDF pattern!
Let your children’s imaginations grow whilst learning about recycling at the same time!
I’ve entered, how about you? Fingers crossed!! Good luck everyone!!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

My Creative Space - For the kids

This week I have started some projects for little people in my life, each piece with a different applique.

My daughter's current #1 obsession is Heffalumps... I'm not sure how much more to add to this one, just some hair and a few more outlines or a full embroidered face.

My baby son is growing up surrounded not only by Winnie the Pooh characters, but also his father's Star Wars memorablia - I thought this would brighten up a plain sweatshirt (thanks to a lily pad offcut!).

The hoodie is for a third birthday this weekend - he and his dad are car crazy and have a slot-car set, so I have tried to make it look like a race.

To see what lots of other crafty people are up to this week, have a look at the My Creative Space game on kooyotoo.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

lil magoolie features our aprons!

Yesterday the fabulous Maddie from Lil Magoolie featured our applique aprons on her blog in a post called "On Trend: Aprons". Click through and check it out! Not only were we rapt to see our aprons picked out as among the best from the many out there, but as our first 'joint' product combining Topography's appliques and lily pad's fabric selections we are just so proud she likes them as much as us :)

It was also great to see that our price point is realistic for mums on budgets: we were equal cheapest!

You can buy our aprons on Topography's website - or my Lily Pad FELT Store - either choose what's there or make your own special custom order.

Thanks Maddie!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

We match Karen Walker's new season!

I was super excited when I saw Karen Walker's facebook page advertising that their new season collection hit their stores this weekend. Not because I was rushing out to buy up - that would have to be a MAJOR once in a lifetime treat! - but because my lily pad patterns match her new range and influences so exactly!
Check out her "Next Season: Salzburg, USA" collections just coming instore for both the Northern Hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere. Her blue dress (above) is almost identical to our Periwinkle Blue lily pad liner, which is made from Amy Butler's recent 'Bali Gate in Periwinkle' fabric from the LOVE collection.
She also features a modern take on a neutral damask fabric (right), a red damask and a red circle/stripe Indian-influenced type pattern - all similar to patterns we have in our current range.
The 2010-2011 textile 'colour palette influences' I blogged about a little while ago (check my post below) all show strongly in her collections too - both the upcoming one and the current season called 'The Village'. Navy is huge, and there's strong traditional patterns, military, and a a few hints of orange and turquoise.
It's exciting to be reassured we're on the right track!
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