Thursday, October 28, 2010

Auckland Parent and Child Show!!!

I've just got back from setting up at the Auckland Parent and Child Show with my friend Lisa of Estella Rose Designs bags - we overlap our fabric styles deliberately so people can buy a 'combo' of a matching lily pad and baby mama bag. I think the concept looks AMAZING set up in real life together, check it out:


(Cool matching maternity skirt exclusive to Things for Baby!)

We're on our retailer Things for Baby's stand at no 447, if you are going to the show this weekend, come check us out for some very special show prices!!!!

My Creative Space....bunting, bunting

I’m officially obsessed with different ways to make bunting at the moment. As well as a nursery room decoration, I’ve used it as a party decoration for my daughter’s first birthday.

I discovered this gorgeous free downloadable ‘alphabet’ bunting and made a string of bunting with “Loren-is-one” out of scrapbooking paper. It prints with a pattern on the front, so I used the print of the scrapbooking on the back so it's fully reversible. I simply sewed the scrapbooking paper onto a ribbon – whola! I wrote about it for Baby Bites magazine here. I love it so much I’ve now transferred it to her bedroom wall.

Working with the paper to make the celebratory-themed bunting has led me down the road of two new ideas now.

I’m making ‘mini’ Christmas themed bunting for my Christmas tree, instead of tinsel. For first one I’m using the scraps left over from my Christmas Card Keepers (don’t forget our giveaway, ending this weekend!).


But once I’ve finished that, I’m going to go and buy a whole bunch of red and green scrapbooking paper, and some high quality Christmas wrapping paper, to make some 'mini tree bunting' to sell at my upcoming markets – the Summer Fair at the Michael Park School, Ellerslie next weekend Nov 6, and the Devonport Craft Market, Nov 21.

Fun, fun! Hop over to Kirsty’s for more creative projects coming to life....

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Babybites column: Haunted Halloween fun!



Most families in New Zealand can take or leave Halloween. Mine could mostly leave it. But when I saw this cool paper ‘haunted house’ idea, I got in the spirit!

A few months ago US blogger Sarah from Dolls and Daydreams spent hours designing and drawing a downloadable PDF of an ‘eco friendly’ paper dolls house that you can print, colour-in and stick onto an ordinary cardboard box. It teaches kids about recycling and ‘upcycling’, and was a massive hit, with bloggers around Australia and New Zealand being drawn to her website. She quickly followed it up with printable themed accessories, ‘wraps’ for clothes pegs to make little people, and different patterns for a ‘big red barn’ and a ‘school house’.

Her latest design is a haunted house for Halloween that is filled to the brim with bats, cobwebs, spooky ghouls, a mummy, and a scarecrow in a field of pumpkins outside. It’s exactly the right kind of (non) spooky for little kids, and the best part is it doesn’t require staples, glue or tape. It simply slots together and can be taken down and stored flat, ready for next year. If the kids ever let you take it down!



Happy trick or treating this weekend! x


NB: Read this column again, and all my other 'handmade heaven' columns for Baby Bites at: http://www.babybites.co.nz/

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sewing School with Sarah Bird!


Last weekend I attended a ‘practice run’ for Sarah Bird’s ‘Sew Inspired’ summer school at the Corban Estate Arts Centre in January. Sarah is the organiser of the Devonport Craft Markets, the designer behind Cotton Kiwi and a lovely, lovely new crafty friend I’ve made this year.

It was like being in Project Runway (one of my favourite shows!) – but without the competition edge. It was just pure fun! Four of us lined up in an arts studio, with our machines, piles of gorgeous vintage fabrics, books on sewing and appliqué, patterns and accessories to drool over.

We were there to learn, and wow did we soak it up. Sarah was able to teach us several new techniques in just a few hours, and tell us which sewing book writers are the best to buy, because they explain projects in ‘sewer’s terms’ – ie in ways that are actionable and easy to understand.

She was also able to give us hint after hint of how to make your sewing special, unique and sentimental to you and your family. Hence the title, ‘Sew Inspired’.
I don’t want to give away all her hints and teaching points, because if you want to know more, you’ll need to enrol in her course in January!





But my favourite two take-outs were (out of scores of notes I took):
  • Learn what your machine can do - read the manual! Then, work with its styles - don't try to do the impossible, or you will set yourself up for frustration and lose your enthusiasm.
  • When you are building up an appliqué design, think in 3D, textural terms, layer pieces up and use different sewing stitches, not just zig zags – it will make your design look more luxe and designer.


In the space of a day, I created a fully-lined handbag using Sarah’s fabrics, and two appliquéd teatowels....I am particularly proud of my bag and my fantail teatowel.

Find out more about Sarah’s sewing school at the Corban Estate Art Centre's website, or on Sarah's blog, http://www.cottonkiwi.blogspot.com/

Thursday, October 21, 2010

My Creative Space: Getting into the spirit...

Another reason I‘m so incredibly organised for Christmas this year is because my retailers have asked me for Christmas stock already. This has included a great new challenge to create custom-made Santa Sacks for Bay Bee Cino, to the store's own specific design.

I asked for permission to add a little bit of ‘lily pad designs’ style to the look of the bags, which included ‘funk-ing’ up the patterns in the layers of fabric on the patchwork design by including signature patterns from my other products.



After hours and hours of folding, layering, and critiquing, I finally created a red and green ‘traditional’ one, which is for boys or girls, and a pink ‘modern’ girly one.


The hardest part of meeting the design brief was trying to find pom pom fringing. Pink I managed to find ok, but no-one stocks red. Turned out to be an almost impossible task unless I was prepared to dye more than 45m of the stuff myself, which seemed far too risky!

I would have thought our obsession with vintage would have meant pom pom fringing was in easy supply! There’s a market opening there!!!

After trying all the major trims wholesalers, in the end the lovely Helen from the brand new ‘Little Craft Store’ in Pt Chevalier suggested thinking of different ideas, and it led me to think about using tassling or loopey fringing instead, and I think it’s given a nice point of difference between the two styles.

Lovely small, jingly reindeer bells and shaped buttons finished the styles off nicely (triple and quadruple stitched for safety!)

Each sack is made to order and personalised with a child’s name. These are exclusively for sale from Bay Bee Cino, Newmarket, from this weekend, contact info@baybeecino-newmarket.co.nz or email me directly to facilitate a sale...

For other creative projects coming to life this week, visit http://www.kootoyoo.com/

PS: Don't forget to enter our pre-Christmas Santa Sack giveaway...only one more week to enter! Click here to find out what to do.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Mum Made - New store now open!

Since we started this blog we have discovered so many amazing products handmade by kiwi mums, and now there is a gorgeous online store dedicated to them - www.mummade.co.nz.

The website looks as pretty and professional as their sweet logo, and has a wide range of products for babies, small children and mums. 


Here at OTLP we are very proud to be supplying Mum Made with lily pad designs pinboards, Topography bag tags and our co-designed lily pinnie aprons

There are also lovely knitted things, modern cloth nappies, and soft toys, all handmade and at reasonable prices.


If you were at the insanely busy Mary's Market in Auckland on Saturday you would have seen Mum Made's table packed with goodies (Mum Made's Brenda has blogged about it here), Aimee was there too with Holly Chic and Estella Rose and has some awesome pics on the lily pad designs Facebook page


Thursday, October 14, 2010

My Creative Space - Christmas {hearts}

There is so much Christmas going on in my head at the moment that sometimes it is a relief to realise it is only October! Not only do we have our huge OTLP Christmas Giveaway, but there are also crafty Christmas blog swaps popping up.



I have signed up for a couple of swaps, so now I have to figure out some ornaments to send,  and yesterday I experimented with some hearts... I was inspired by My Little Jedi's turquoise and red Xmas post  and it came out quite sweet, the plain heart side is a pocket for some yet-to-be-determined christmas treat!


(p.s. I must add that cutting out a big pile of heart shapes can be very therapeutic).

As today is Thursday, you can visit www.kootoyoo.com to see what other bloggers have been up to this week.







And if you would also like to get in the holiday spirit a bit early, check out these links:

Our talented friends at New Zealand Handmade have a single ornament swap open internationally, click here to sign up (by October 23rd) and get the details.

If you like the idea of making (and receiving!) 5 or 6 ornaments, www.sew-funky.com is co-ordinating a swap for NZ crafters, info is here and you have until November 5th to sign-up.

And finally, if you can stretch to making a soft toy instead of an ornament, Meet Me At Mike's is organising a children's charity drive for handmade soft toys. The sign-up sheet is here (note: you won't be able to read about the charity without signing up!).


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Choose your own prize! October secret santa giveaway



***GIVEAWAY CLOSED NOV 2010***

We love Secret Santa packages around here – good things come in small packages, and even more delightful things come in ones that package together lots of handmade goodies!


This month we’re offering a massive giveaway of ‘On Top of a Lily Pad’ (OTLP) products. It’s our biggest giveaway yet! More than $NZ70.00 worth of Christmas handmade goodies of your choice of colour, size, and appliqué, choosing from:
Imagine your children’s delight this Christmas when you go all out to bring back traditional Christmas cheer – in a stylish, modern way, using 100% cotton designer fabrics in the latest home decor trends. Will you go with all red polka dots, in an Amy Butler tribute? Or will you use a vintage style pattern....or a vibrant green as your theme?


We also want to encourage you to teach your children about the gift of giving at Christmas – by getting them involved in writing Christmas Cards. As well as drawing a winner of our $70.00 prize pack, we will draw a ‘runners-up’ prize – this lucky person will win a set of six Christmas cards designed by the lovely Sarah at Songbird Designs. Ultra modern and stylish, these quality cards are among some of the range pictured on my Christmas Card Keepers and are eye-catching and stylish! The timing to win these gives you plenty of time to make the international postage cut-off date for this year of November 29th (Australia) and November 22 (rest of world).







(As an additional offer, I’ll send out a handmade Christmas Card to the children of every person who buys a Christmas Card Keeper between now and Christmas – ‘from Secret Santa’ – to get your board started looking full and busy.)

Our giveaway competition is open from now until the end of October, 2010, and closes at 5pm Monday Nov 1, 2010. The winners (both the main prize and Songbird Designs’ card pack winner ) will be drawn by random.org .

Please note: due to the weight of the pinboard, and size, this competition is only open to NZ and Australian readers. Sorry!
HOW TO ENTER:

There’s two ways to enter our giveaway:
  • For 1x entry, join our blog’s mailing list (see left hand column), or our facebook pages (see left hand column), AND leave a comment on this post with your favourite thing about Christmas (current followers just need to leave a comment below)
  • For 5x entries, re-post about our giveaway on your blog or facebook page, AND tell us you have done this via a post below.
All entries must be recorded before 5pm Nov 1.

Good luck!!!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

To market, to market....





On Sunday Greta and I had a wonderful day catching up with all the other crafty people on the North Shore, Auckland, at the Devonport Craft Market. It was the biggest market yet, with more than 54 stalls! We introduced our new Christmas range of goodies and the reactions were classic - lots of 'oohs and aahs and I love them' - but just as many 'oh no, not Christmas already!'. We feel exactly the same way! Where has this year gone! Our babies are one this week and next month! But it's only something like two and a bit months away....and good to spread the budget and creative preprations.

As usual we had our stock priced at special market prices and lots were gobbled up. But you can still buy more on our websites - Lily Pad Designs here and Topography here.


NEXT MARKET DATES:
The whole lily Pad pram liner range, and select pinboards, will be available on my retailer Holly Chic's stand - at market prices. Our joint 'On Top of a Lily Pad' lily aprons will be available on our new retailer Mum Made's stand, as will Topography's luggage tags (perfect stocking fillers for kids who like to label kindy or school bags!).
November 6: St Michaels School Fair, Ellerslie:
Along with Holly Chic we'll be showcasing our family friendly products in our first ever outdoors marquee! Come along and join the family fun day.
November 21: TBC!!!!!
(We'll keep you posted!!!)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

It's International Baby Wearing Week!





Greta and I have both loved using our slings for our baby no. 2s. For both our first babies we had a go at front packs - I can clearly remember using it for a quick 4pm walk around the block to calm no. 1 down at the start of the witching hour. And we both used them highly successfully at airports, going through the waiting lines and customs, etc.


But to be honest I never really got into them for use every day, because firstly, they had so many straps and secondly, five years ago, they were not very good looking and were made of that synthetic waterproof material that doesn't breathe. (Today, they are great! Lots of natural materials. My husband loves his backpack).

By baby no. 2 I think I'd become so much more relaxed about holding my baby and carrying her around a lot - in fact with such a busy life I have really enjoyed carrying her around when I can, as it means I have more touch-and-feel few moments of "yes, baby, I'm here, and paying you attention, despite doing a million other things".


And I'm also now obsessed with patterned 100% cotton fabrics too, so I started investigating fabric slings. I've found that today there are several lovely New Zealand businesses making gorgeous slings out of 100% cotton fabrics, stretchy breatheable fabrics, and merino...like Mobi Wrap, Little Kiwi Baby, Unido, Dulce & Zoet, Black Bow, Bellaroo...and lovely Australian imports too like Peanut Shell.



When bubs was still little, I had a go at making the style of "cap shoulder" slings, and made three for myself (to match different outfits!), one for Greta, and a few for other kindy mums. These are a couple of pictures of my slings.








If you don't already know about it, there is an amazing group called SlingBabies (http://www.slingbabies.co.nz/ ) who have reviews and 'how to instructions' on all types of slings, including how to measure and wear them properly to keep your baby comfortable, and safe.


When no. 2 gets too old to be carried, I am planning on turning the fabric from my slings into a cushion cover or a purse, for her glory box :)



This week is the start of International Baby Wearing Week and I'm aware of at least two initiatives Kiwis can join: the inaugural "Australia and New Zealand Babywearing Week", a Babes in Arms initiative sponsored by Ergo Baby, is in full force on facebook, generating long lists of sling events happening all around NZ and Australia and donating to charities. And in Auckland, Slingbabies is supporting "Auckland Sling Walk 2010" around Mission Bay, on Oct 16th. Check them out!

HIGH FIVE for SLINGS


Five reasons to try out a sling during International Babywearing Week:




1: It is invaluable when dropping off and picking up no. 1 from kindy - I use it everyday still with no.2 at 11 months old - it keeps her nicely up high to view what's happening and also out of the paint!









2: It takes two seconds to pop on when you run into the mall to go to the Post Office - no dramas getting the pram in and out of the boot.





3: It's an invaluable breastfeeding cover in the early days, and you can still do your chores with them rocked to sleep by your walking during that newborn witching hour (come on, you know they won't sleep in a cot at that time, so just get on with it!)





4: It supports your back and spreads their weight evenly- I've NEVER had back pain with no.2, when with no.1 I had fortnightly chiropractic appointments.





5: You get more 'hands on' time with your precious no.2, when time is a luxury :)
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