Thursday, September 30, 2010

My creative space: Of fairytales from far, far away, nursery this is how to spoil a child

I've coveted these "Far, Far Away Chapter II" fabrics from US designer Heather Ross for months now, and I wasn't disappointed when they finally arrived in the post. Heather Ross considers herself an artist and illustrator first and foremost, before a fabric maker, and the time and energy she spends on drawing and painting her fabric designs is obvious.

Always focused on childhood themes, innocence and tenderness, it feels as though you are sharing a little bit of love with your child and spoiling them rotten when you create something from her fabrics. Focused on happy traditions, her attention to detail extends even to the fact that rather than use fine-spun quilting fabrics, she has deliberately chosen to use a cotton linen, with a handmade, woven textile, to include a tactile, authentic feeling and experience.

Her "Far, Far Away I" collection drove the 'homemaker' market wild when it launched through design house Kokka, and this year's "Far, Far Away Chapter II" totally lived up to expectations. Key to the theme are the fairy tales about Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty, and the Princess and the Pea, and the nursery rhyme about the Owl and the Pussy-cat. I knew the minute I saw them that I had to have them, and thanks to the trust and artistic eye of a super-special new retailer (who I can't announce yet!) I was recently given the chance to develop this theme and create a whole new exclusive collection. Oh, the bliss! I've literally just finished my girls' and matching boys' lily pin board ranges, and I had to share with you.

The Rapunzel-themed board has been in the back of my mind for months now. I had a vision that the long plaited ponytails lent themselves perfectly to being accompanied by 'plaited' or zig-zag or woven ribbons for the pinboard - like Rapunzel's hair itself is literally wrapped around the pinboard. I'm rapt with the plaited ribbon I eventually found and think it looks lovely next to the candy-floss pink satin ribbons.

The other board rounded out the sweet, 'sugar and spice and all things nice' vintage theme for the girls collection- it's a baby pink Robert Kauffman damask and would look amazing in a little girl's room.

The Owl and the Pussy-cat blue boys' pinboard just instantly reminded me of the 'snips and snails and puppy dog tails - that's what little boys are made of' rhyme. It's perfect for cheeky, busy, wandering, musical little boys' nuseries. The traditional chocolate and turquoise gingham looks divine too.

My 'fairytales and nursery rhymes' collection is also accompanied by an exclusive range of misty-grey, vintage-inspired lily pads, only available at my new retailer. Watch this space - I can't reveal who yet!

PS: I'm hanging out now for Heather's new range to be available, sometime next year. It's called "Macaroni Love Story" and it features images of newspaper boats; wooden peg dolls; and macaroni play necklaces. Amazing!

For other crafty projects this week, hop over to

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Auckland kids send their love to Christchurch kids

The awesome team at Kids Fashion Review delivered nearly 1000 care packs of toys and gifts to Christchurch children on September 21st, after raising nearly $10,000 from the auction of goods from New Zealand's independent baby products designers and retailers (including little ole us). Also in the packs were thousands of additional donated goods from the same (and many more) retailers and designers.

Our favourite blogger Maddie at 'lil magoolie volunteered amongst some other lovely Christchurch mums to hand out the care packs, and did an amazing photo montage on her blog - click here to see the kids receiving their goods. Prime News also covered it - video link here.

We're so amazed at the generousity and kindness of spirit Kate Gorman and the team at Kids Fashion Review have displayed for putting this appeal together. Putting a smile on these kids faces again was priceless. It's too easy for the rest of the country to put to the back of their minds and carry on commuting, working and running school runs. But there are hundreds of families still without homes and running water and very stressed. Well done Kate for helping make a better day for 1000 families!

One group of Auckland children who haven't forgotten about all the kids in Christchurch is the Marlborough Kindergarten morning children. Based in Glenfield, Auckland, Marlborough is my daughter Maddie's kindy, and they have an amazing community spirit. When I told them about the Kids Fashion Review (KFR) appeal, and wondered if the kids could contribute, the teachers didn't hesitate to spend a couple of days getting every one of the 45 children to write a 'thinking of you' message and draw a picture for the kids in Christchurch, telling them how much they care. I sent them to Kate and she included them in the packs along with all the other donated goods.

The kindy also held mat-time 'news' times, explaining to the children what had happened and getting them to practice their emergency training for if it happened up here. Marlborough also took the time to take the kids photos with their artworks, and document the process in their kindy books, so they will be able to share their stories with their families, and remember the event for the rest of their lives. I wanted to share a couple with you, with the parents permission. See their caring gorgeous faces, above.
Here is what my Maddie wants to add: "Please try to have a good day, kids. If you want to come to Auckland anytime, we can have a play, and you will feel better." (Too cute, she is only four).

It's kindy holidays now, but on our return next term I'm going in to mat time to read out some of the 'thank you' letters from the kids in Christchurch thanking KFR and all their contributors for the bags. There are some wonderful heart-felt messages - you can read them here.

This has been a wonderful lesson in caring for your community for these kids, and I want to thank Kate for letting them get involved. xo

Friday, September 24, 2010

Sew & Tell Amy Butler Challenge - Mini Stockings (Topography)

This blog challenge was perfect timing as I have been developing Mini Stockings for this Christmas. They are my own design - big enough to applique on, small enough to hang on a Christmas tree. There is a pocket between the coloured and the white layers so they can actually work as stockings (for tiny gifts!) as well as tree ornaments. There is some soft wadding inside to hold their shape.

The Amy Butler fabrics I had on hand were the Full Moon Polka Dot in Slate (from the Lotus Collection, and my most requested fabric for Baby Alphabet Shirts) and Martini in Blush (Midwest Modern). Aimee very kindly gave me some scraps of Polka Dot in Cherry which I think has come out really well on plain red.

Each stocking is approx 17cm from where the ribbon is attached, to the toe.

I can't wait to see what everyone else has come up with at, there are so many amazing Amy Butler fabrics to choose from!

Christmas spoiler alert: heirloom dolls

I really hope my children, Miss M and Baby L, don't see these on my computer screen - nor my niece Miss T. If they do, my Christmas surprise from their Gran will be spoilt! Check out what the amazing Jennie @ A Little Vintage has done for me! Dolls made especially in their image and 'upcycling' some very special fabrics. Read Jennie's blog for the full story of how and why they were made the way they were.

Thnx Jennie - this means so much to me! xoxo
(And thanks Mum - Gran - for parting with special sentimental family fabrics xoxo)

Amy Butler sew challenge - NZ entries!

So I've told you before about how much we love Amy Butler. Turns out, there are so many Amy Butler fans around the world that there's a massive flickr group with over 10,400 products in there!

And one of her biggest fans is blogger amylouwho, who is holding an open competition this weekend for people all around the world to link to and blog about their products they've made using Amy Butler's fabrics. The prizes are great, and Kiwis can enter. I've rustled up the following Amy Butler lovers:

Pictured above: clockwise from left to right:

Greta @ Topography (Christmas decorations; brooches; luggage tags)
Rebecca @ Little Paper Bird (cross-over dresses)
Leigh @ CoolCrib (baby shoes)
Keri @ Holly Chic (baby bedding)
Aimee @ Lily Pad Designs (lily aprons with Topography; Christmas Card Keepers)

And there will be more over the weekend!

Check out all the other AMAZING entries on AmyLouWho's Sew & Tell Challenge Page!

And here's a selection from the wider flickr group - check them out for yourselves!!!

Sew & Tell Challenge: Cool Crib Shoes for Crawlers!

A new crafty friend of ours, Leigh, makes divine baby shoes and she made these ones especially this week to enter the Amy Butler competition. As she doesn't have a blog, here's her blog entry:

Because you're never to young for cool shoes! CoolCrib is a range of beautiful cot shoes for newborns through to six months. Fun yet functional, they are gentle on babies skin and designed to stay on.

CoolCrib have designed a unique one-off pair of shoes for the Amy Butler competition using scraps of fabric from the August Fields collection - they have been crying out to be used! These shoes will be donated to the FeltAid shop to help raise to the rebuilding and clean-up of Christchurch.

Sew & Tell Challenge: my finished Xmas boards!

(Hello to all the American Sew & Tell Challenge readers following Amylouwho!!! Welcome to New Zealand's Amy lovers!)

Right - finally after many late nights I've finished the Christmas Card Keepers! These have just gone up for sale on my Felt Store this week and priced for $NZ28 - a bargain! But I chose the price as I really want to encourage people to get into the swing of bringing back Christmas Cheer and encouraging kids to get in traditional crafts.

As promised, I will send each buyer's children a 'card from Santa' in the mail to start your board off. These are going to be handmade with love by Greta's sister - check out her range on Topography's site.

As a second encouragement - in October OTLP will be running a giveaway of our Christmas products of your choice of colours - it will be a two tiered prize approach. One of the prizes will be six pack of the GORGEOUS Songbird Designs Christmas Cards - those featured in the photography on my boards. All designed by a lovely crafter here in New Zealand and divine. Follow this blog to find out more details on how to enter...

So - three ways to buy:

1. Visit my online store and choose your favourite design

2. Buy the Amy Butler Cherry Spot Christmas board I've donated to the FeltAID Christchurch earthquake appeal at

3. Visit Greta and I on our stand at the Devonport Craft Market - Oct 3rd.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

My Creative Space - Cute as a button

My projects seem to be getting smaller and smaller, but I think this is as small as I can get with applique - brooches about 3.5cm wide.

I love that I can use up scraps of fabric, and that after the applique I can do the rest while I'm sitting on the sofa.

Covered buttons have always fascinated me, and that's what I wanted them to look like, so I have covered a plastic circle with some wadding and the applique, and backed it with felt and a pin. I also have my eye on some covered-button hair ties (by Songbird Designs) on FeltAid...

The third photo is another 'little' project that is coming together for the Amy Butler competition this weekend, details here if you haven't seen them already.

Check out every Thursday to see what hundreds of other people are up to.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Feedback on lily pad colours?

This week I've finished a new navy-based pad for my lily pad pram liner range in a gorgeous Amy Butler 'wildflower' pattern from the Daisy Chain collection. However now that I've made it - I'm not sure about it. I think perhaps the flower picture gets a bit lost in the shape of the liner, which is a shame, and also the pattern is very bold - the turquoise very bright. I'm not sure that it fits my more traditional, damask-based, vintage-inspired range of patterns for the rest of the pads. Can I seek your feedback please?

Here's a picture of it beside one of my other new creations - a lily pad in a gorgeous pale pink and vintage grey - also from the Amy Butler Daisy Chain collection. This is a sneak peak at one of a new range of four colours exclusively designed for one of New Zealand's most divine and gorgeous baby stores - stay tuned to find out who!

Check out the other Amy Butler patterns in the international competition happening this weekend on amylouwho!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Kids Clothes Week Challenge!

So yet another bloggy challenge has been issued by one of the American mum blogs I follow - this one is a Kids Clothes Week Challenge! The challenge is to spend one hour a day for a week (September 20-27) sewing clothes for your kids, and then pop the results up on a flickr group. It's only Tuesday (Monday in the US!) and already there are over 988 entries in the flickr group and 424 comments on her blog about it - now that's some SERIOUS blogging power!!!

I checked out a few pages and one of the entries that jumped out at me was a gorgeous little sunfrock made from the same Amy Butler fabric 'Periwinkle Bali Gate' that I use on my blue lily pad. Isn't it divine! Imagine a little one year old or an 18 month old relaxing on a walk in a pram with a popsicle, in a matching sunfrock and lily pad pram liner! Oh the style!

I also love the 'big butt baby pants' by Made By Rae (who I follow) - she's seriously cool and has pointed me in the direction of several absolutely non-fail sewing patterns for mums and kids. Especially the McCall's 5388 women's top pattern, which Rae has modified a million times to make cool shift tops that are friendly to post-baby tummies!!!

Rae's 'big butt baby pants' above are going into the flickr pool, and are especially for kids who wear MCNs (modern cloth nappies) and need a bit more room in the rear - my baby no.2 wears MCNs and I seriously love them. So in my book these pants are gorgeous!

The Kids Clothes Week Challenge and flickr group is worth a look, even if it's just for a bit of "fall" Northern Hemisphere-style inspiration for future projects. There are also giveaways of sewing patterns each day, using, so you might get lucky!

I might pop up this wee 'bumblebee' hoodie I made Lori on the flickr group, complete with yellow tulle wings on the back.
I'll also try to convince Greta to enter her Spring Lamb and Kiwi t-shirts she's completing for the winner of our KFR charity auction pack.

Happy crafting and sewing!

PS: Don't forget Kiwis and Aussies can enter the Amy Butler competition we blogged about the other day - entries close on Friday this week!! I'm entering my new Christmas Card Keepers!!!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Applications for Markets - Now Open!

Have you ever thought about selling at a craft market? There are some great Auckland events coming up that are taking applications now.

The first Auckland Art and Craft Fair went so well in July (see this previous post ) that it will be back in December, this time in a bigger venue at the Aotea Centre (pictured). All the application details are here. The Fair is organised by the Auckland Craft Collective  - they also have an info night coming up about blogging, Twitter and Facebook (featuring one of our absolute favourite bloggers, L'il Magoolie ).

I didn't get to First Thursdays in its previous life, but I will definitely be checking out its re-boot on December 2nd. Held at St Kevin's Arcade on K'Rd, it is at night (6pm-9pm) with art, craft, food and music - sounds like a party! Applications are open now at

Crafternoon Tea is celebrating its first birthday in October and taking applications now. In June 'CT' was our first experience of being sellers at a Craft Market, and it was like a crash course - such friendly people and a very high standard of products (see post).

After having a break for a couple of months, we here at OTLP are very excited to be doing our next market in Devonport on Sunday, October 3rd. Applications are now closed but check early each month for info. At the market we will be launching our new products for the holiday season, stay tuned...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

My creative space: bringing back a little bit of Christmas cheer

This week I wanted to share with you my latest project that has been under construction now for a couple of months. It may be a little early for Christmas, but I want to launch my "Christmas Card Keepers" at the next Devonport Craft Market on October 3rd.

The idea for the Christmas Card Keeper came from my love affair with pinboards. As any regular reader of this blog will know, I am OBSESSED with pinboards. They are the perfect place for all those lovely little treaures like show tickets, birthday cards, small things children collect at kindy, not to mention funky photograph holders. I have one in every bedroom of my house.

I have actually spent the past five years slowly perfecting my recipe for the right shapes, sizes, ribbon lengths, functional brads, material choices, how to fix up the backing so there's no rough I sell my pinboards at the market and also in some of my boutique retailers like Holly Chic and Bay Bee Cino.

But I am also a little obsessed with Christmas, and with Christmas cards. Each year I lovingly and painstakingly spend time designing Christmas cards, and tracking down people's addresses, and then hanging my own ones we receive up on the blinds...only to get really annoyed at how often they blow off, or get pulled off by the kids.

So, combining my love affair with Christmas, and decorating in a tasteful, yet seasonal way (I am also fanatical about my tree decoration theme each year), along with the need to sort out my messy card issue...I came up with the Christmas Card Keeper.

I've changed my recipe for these pinboards to a MDF wooden backing, which is flat, rather than a thick profiled panel like my other pinboards - the idea being that they are flat and easy to pack away each year, in the box or cupboard, beside the tree. They are padded to allow extra cards to be pinned to the surface when you run out of pegs - but come with 16 mini pegs on satin ribbons, to look like the string people used to hang their stockings on in front of the fireplace. They have a hanging wire on the back, so you can simply take down another picture and hang the Keeper up for the month of December, then take it down again. Or just lean it on the mantle or kitchen bench!

I've also tried to use fabrics that use the colours of the season...but don't use naff silly Christmas characters. I've imported several fabrics that I think would work with a modern house interior scheme, and also included a retro/vintage Kiwi Summer fabric. I've made about three quarters of my stock now...what do you think so far?

And what do you think of my second idea - I thought I'd do a giveaway that encourages people to get back into letter and card writing for Christmas - especially with kids. A bring back Christmas cheer campaign!! Thought I could offer to send a free 'secret card from Santa' to the children of everyone who buys a Card Keeper, to start the board off. Thoughts?

When the range is finished, I'll be loading them up on my online store . ...

Also - a massive thanks to Songbirds Designs for the gorgeous Christmas cards (hand designed!) featured in my product shots. Sarah sells these in her online store - closer to Christmas too!

For more creative inspiration, head over to Kirsty's

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

FeltAID: Things for kids

The FeltAID fundraising initiative for families suffering after the Christchurch earthquakes is going amazingly well - they've got more than 60 artists and designers who have already donated to the store, from Auckland down to Dunedin and everywhere inbetween.

I really want to acknowledge the amazing caring souls and dedication of the co-organisers, Sarah from Songbird Designs and Ana from Ami Ana - you are angels for doing this for Canterbury! As Sarah and I were saying last night - if everyone in New Zealand just stopped their busy lives and thought for just 5 minutes about what the Christchurch people are doing right at that same moment...we'd all be down there manning spades, rebuilding houses, and fixing historic mortar. So if you can't be there - why not buy a piece of handmade love from FeltAID and show you care in some small way?

As this blog is dedicated to all things fabric, and all things family, we thought it would be nice to share with you some of the things available on FeltAID for kids. Yesterday the FeltAID ' helping out' blog did a lovely job of pulling together kids items, and featured Greta's Topography contribution to the cause. Greta made this lovely lilac one-of-a-kind t-shirt especially after the earthquake, as she reminisced about times with her grandmother. It's a lovely story! Read it here on FeltAID.

Then, today the fabulous 'lil magoolie also chose her favourite items for kids and mums' Christmas presents - I got a lovely surprise to see my lily pad 'lily love' that I've donated to the cause in amongst her pics, alongside Cotton Kiwi's fairy skirt and A Little Vintage's gorgeous doll and HRJDDesign's magnetic wall puzzle - all lovely crafty ladies I've met recently. Thanks heaps Maddie for supporting the fundraiser!
So what are you waiting for, buy a special present today!

Saturday, September 11, 2010 helping out!

Striking Keys
Striking Keys

As the hugely successful children's 'retailers' relief effort by Kids Fashion Review for the kids in Christchurch wraps up this weekend, the next round of fundraisers is starting up.

This week it's the artists, designers and crafters turn - and we're proud to be involved in this too!

The ' helping out' relief effort has been set up as a 'pop-up' shop within the website. The group is run by volunteer graphic designers, artists, jewellery makers and fashion designers, and is known as FeltAid ( ).

All of the proceeds of the goods sold on FeltAid will go to the Canterbury Red Cross Appeal, which is helping with restoration projects and family welfare assistance.

The goods for sale on FeltAid have all been donated by artisans from all around New Zealand to the cause, from Auckland all the way down to Dunedin. It's a natural reaction by the craft community to band together to lend a 'handmade hand' - every day we pour love and thought into our creations and gifts for people we love. By donating goods we are sharing this love with the Christchurch community. Christchurch is also the home of's headquarters, and a vibrant arts community, many of whom have been personally affected by the quake.

The pop-up store will only operate until October 31st, so get in quick to buy a bit of handmade love and help the Christchurch community. It's perfect timing to fill those Christmas stockings!

(PS: OTLP has donated goods to the store, as have our crafty friends. Beautiful goods there!).

Sock Monkey Mania!

Sock monkeys, sock elephants, sock name it, I want to make it! So much so that I dedicated my first ever "DIY or Buy" column for this week to sock animals. What I'd like to do is make every fourth or so weekly 'handmade heaven' column into a "DIY instructional" piece that encourages parents just starting to get into handmade or craft projects to have a go. But in the same piece, if they just feel it's too hard to try, I can encourage them to buy from local New Zealand crafters who are selling similar or related goods instead.

Of course, I'm not an expert at writing tutorials - I always look at the real experts, like Maddie at 'lil magoolie or Megan at Mousehouse, and admire their teaching talents. I'll more likely be pointing to other crafters' tutorials: so if you are local crafter with products to sell and tutorials to match, please let me know and I'll include you!! The more publicity for us all the better! (For the next "DIY or Buy" I'm thinking of doing bunting...)

Here's the link to this week's "Sock Monkey" column on babybites, complete with online tutorial from the lovely Sarah at Cotton Kiwi, and links to crafters selling animals including Cotton Kiwi, Ti Ti and Miss Mellie. My own creations, my sister's, and Greta's, are below. Also check out Greta's recent blog post right here on our OTLP blog, showing the process of how she made her elephant friend.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Earthquake charity auction so popular - now Monday night too!

As I type the charity auction to raise money for care packages for families in need in Christchurch is underway at 's chat page. I just missed out on an HRJDDesign magnetic treescape for my girls' room - so sad!
But it also turns out that New Zealand and Australia's independent retailers, magazines and children's designers are so generous that there are so many auction packs being donated that it will run over two nights! So if you miss out tonight, log online on Monday night to bid. Our OTLP and friends 'handmade' pack RRP$240 will go for sale on Monday night's lot (see post below for details).
Thanks to everyone prepared to help out Canterbury's families. I can't even imagine how stressed my girls would be after 150 shakes or more.
In fact I organised for my daughter's whole kindy class to write letters and draw pictures for the poor children, to help make their care packages' more personal.
If you or your children want to contribute letters, contact Kids Fashion Review!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Auction for Christchurch on Friday - Spread the Word!

Topography, lily pad designs and our friends Holly Chic and Estella Rose Designs have donated products for a special cause - families devastated by the Christchurch earthquakes.

Kids Fashion Review is hosting a live auction tomorrow (Friday) night so please tell everyone you know, and if you have products you can donate the contact email is Facebook updates are at

Proceeds from the auction will make sure care packages get to children traumatised by a terrifying week.

Our pack of handmade treasures includes two gorgeous rattles from Holly Chic, a must-have lily pad seat liner, two appliqued shirts (in colours and sizes of your choice), one of our unique children's aprons and a gorgeous shoulder bag for mum from Estella Rose. Total RRP is $240, and imagine how many presents you could use it for...

So check out the auction on tomorrow night, make a donation for a great cause and get some awesome goodies!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Amy Butler fans: competition and prize alert!!!

I'm so excited, I actually got hiccups over my drink! Amy Butler competition alert! The neat blog amylouwho - random thoughts by a multi-tasker - runs her own US-based version of the 'My Creative Space' bloggy game we have started contributing to (run by Kirsty from Kootoyoo in Australia).

Amylouwho runs hers on a Friday and is called 'Sew and Tell' and this month she is running a fantastic challenge competition to win a major prize pack of my favourite designer Amy Butler's goodies! The prize pack includes four Amy Butler patterns, several yards of Amy Butler fabrics, and a voucher for an online store.

I'm so excited that Greta and I have decided to postpone our own monthly competition/giveaway this month - so that we, and hopefully you guys, can have time to enter and try to win hers.

I contacted amylouwho (who's up in Virginia, USA) and specifically asked her if New Zealanders could enter and she's written back to say she'd be rapt to hear from us all - she has links to New Zealand through her grandmother's family. If a Kiwi wins, Amy will pay for the postage to us.

So: to enter you must read the rules - you have to put up a link on Friday September 24th (US time - so we'd have to do it late Friday night the 24th, or before lunch on Saturday 25th) on her site, showcasing your latest crafty project using something (even a scrap) from an Amy Butler fabric.

Amylouwho is also going to be blogging about an Amy Butler project every Friday between now and then, and has already started showing some of an Amy Butler flickr group's projects- it's worth following her blog and entering just to be inspired, let alone win.

If you enter - please email me or Greta a picture of your entry, and we'll do a showcase at the end of the month of Amy Butler goodness from around down-under!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

NZ Handmade interview with yours truely

This week I was really proud to be interviewed as a guest friend of New Zealand Handmade', the great creative support team I've recently joined. Their mission: to promote New Zealand artisans and crafters to the world via facebook and Etsy, and pass on promotional tips etc.

I was also a little bit embarrassed, because I'm not used to me personally being in the spotlight. As a journalist, I'm usually the one doing the interviewing! But if I want to make lily pad d's work, I guess I have to give it a go. I hope it didn't sound corny!

Have a read here or on New Zealand Handmade's facebook page. If you are a New Zealand crafter reading this, why not join too? You will be in the great company of a number of artists and crafters already selling around the world, and why not pick up some tips!

Here's an idea of what they offer: the amazing Kim from the unique wall decor company StickyTiki recently blogged about the top 13 tips for selling on Etsy.

StickyTiki receives rave reviews around the world and exports globally. I absolutely adore her work and don't just want but NEED a tree for my daughters' room when I pop them in together over the Summer time. I'm at the point where I need a spare room back for a real lily pad d's studio...

Thursday, September 2, 2010

My creative space: it's not about fabric!

Following all the links to the wonderful crafty people in last week's 'My Creative Space' bloggy game, I came across Megan from Mousehouse's awesome blog. Megan is a wonderful sharer of great ideas and has some neat tutorials on there. I couldn't wait to get started and spent most of the weekend on some non-fabric related crafts. It's been about 3 months since I last picked up my photos, scrapbooking stuff and paint brush because I've been so busy with the launch of lily pad d' thanks heaps Megan for the inspiration!

I had my heart set on the Personalised Children's Art Idea - where you overlay a photo of your child with text that acts like a time capsule and records things about them at their current age. I had a head-start because I was recently given electronic copies of my two girls' professional photos, taken when we stood in and pretended to be models for my friend's small New Zealand merino clothes business, billi tees. But I had a few technical difficulties, because unfortunately I don't have Photoshop or Pages or a specific photo/graphics programme.

Instead what I ended up doing was importing my photos into simple old Powerpoint. I've had heaps of success making home-made Christmas cards and party invites in Powerpoint, because you can position pictures and words wherever you want and move and layer things freely. You can either print straight to your printer, or save a slide as a 'jpg' and email it around. Powerpoint can't do flash things like 'white out' areas though, so instead of 'whiting out' my girls clothes like Megan does, I just positioned the text on the plain background, printed and then cut the photos to size to fit my frame. I still think it looks cool.

After that, I wanted to try to copy the idea of photo blocks, which I've seen recently on a friend's wall. These are made of images glued onto wooden MDF blocks, and are hugely expensive to be done commercially. My take on it was to buy a double set of little square canvases (from the Warehouse, for $2 for the set). I painted the sides of the canvases black, then printed the photos from a slide in Powerpoint. I'd positioned the photos how I wanted them and to the right size. Now I'm up to the stage of varnishing the photos and canvases, to give it a 'pro' look. I'd love some advice actually. Shall I use my paintbrush, or maybe a small roller?

Happy cs space everyone!

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