Thursday, September 29, 2011

Stool and dressing table redesign complete...

This week I've finally completed my make-over and redesign of a second-hand white dressing table, and French-styled stool to sit in front of it.

The duo now have pride of place in the middle of my little girls' shared princess/fairytale room, and with matching shapes on their legs and decorative gold gilding, they look like a perfect match. But each were actually found seperately on trademe over a couple of months, and both were in dire need of a little TLC to bring them back to life.

A bit of elbow grease and Chux's new 'White Blocks' for white furniture removed many of the surface marks. But once I started taking apart the seat of the stool to recover it I discovered not one but three layers of fabric, and the particle board inside had been reduced to a clay-coloured crumbly powder. The whole seat had to be replaced, and so the shell of the stool sat for several weeks in that state - see this pic below! Finally, using newly-purchased MDF I traced and cut a new seat with a handsaw, and then recovered with my one of my favourite fabrics, Anna Maria Horner's ''Woodcut in Perfect''. The cream pinstripe of the fabric gives it a lovely French shabby chic look.

My girls may be a little to little to sit in front of the mirror yet and wonder who's the fairest of them all...but I tell you with Miss Five that's not far off!

To see everyone else's clever Creative Spaces this week, head over to our special group blog.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Spring-Summer fabric trends 2011-12

New York Fashion Week Sept 2011 (for Spring/Summer 2012) just finished on Friday, and I’ve been glued to the online reports. NY Fashion Week always sets the tone for the upcoming fashion trends and so all the big colour forecasters release their new predictions at the same time, including the interior decorators. So for a crafter like me, it’s the perfect time to look at not only the new colours and prints for fashion, but also for craft fabrics and the home in 2011-12.

By the end of New Zealand’s summer and the start of the Northern Hemisphere spring, fashion colours will be fun and bright, sometimes neon like - but overall, their hues will take after yummy sorbet or gelato tones rather than being lurid. And counter-balancing the brights are restful maritime navy and royal blues and teal greens – perfect for thinking about lazy summer days at the beach.

Pantone’s new top 10 colour palette is headed up by Tangerine Tango (an orange/coral), Solar Power (yellow), Lilac and Cabaret (cerise pink). I particularly adore the idea of coral and juicy orange and the warmth they bring to your skin, and/or couch!

The warming up of fashion palettes is obvious when you look at high fashion designers in New Zealand such as Karen Walker, who’s current season spring/summer now in stores is set to brighten up and morph into the Northern Hemisphere spring/summer collection she just showed at NY Fashion Week and which will come out in stores there in six months time. In fashion, it’s not only the clothes getting this colour explosion - the new range of shoes that World have created for No 1 Shoes in New Zealand include awesome orange sandels and bright turquoise loafers.

Adventurous fashion lovers will mix the coral tangerines with lilac pinks and pull it off – nowhere is this more obvious than in the sportwear trend taking fashion by storm.

(Thanks and credits belong to the sources of the above compiled moodboard image – here we are showcasing images from Pantone’s report; Highpoint Market’s Spring report; NY runway looks; Trelise Cooper spring 2012 and Karen Walker’s collections.)

(This interiors moodboard's images belong to High Point Market's Spring Trends report).

The patriotic Americana theme is massive in the US, and British union jack imagery in the UK, and in New Zealand we’re still following our Kiwiana theme with fantails and tuis, kowhais and pohutakawas…summer jandels and bbq imagery.

But across all three markets, ''bold blooms'' are set to be massive, with High Point Market’s Spring Trend report noting a move away from the smaller, ditzy patterns of the past couple of seasons to big, proud blooms (check out Trelise Cooper’s collection to see this in particular). The size of the flower also supports the continuing Parisienne theme of last season, which also includes butterflies and village fetes.

High Point Market also comments: “Stella McCartney’s juicy new fruit motif from the runway has designers going bananas for a fresh new trend for veggies and fruits. But steer clear of the whimsy; this is a more realistic approach.”

The strong industrial trend in interiors and homewares lends itself to drawing-style sketches of bottles, labels, old ceramic urns, newsprint, architectural imagery of streets and houses, scientific sketches of botany, birds and bugs, and shapes and icons from science and mathematics.

The tribal theme in last autumn/winter’s season is much less dominant this season. “The next sphere of influence on a global scale will be India – or so says Vogue,” reports High Point. “Touches of that exotic land can already be found in home fashions…see our “Passage to India” moodboard including a peacock motif, elephants and sari patterns.” Top US fabric designers Amy Butler and Patricia Bravo particularly showcase this influence in their latest collections….and it’s noticeable too in Karen Walker’s prints and Trelise’s bejewelled pieces. An accompanying ‘Greek’ pattern also shows as a key trend, helping to make traditional damask patterns become more edgy and geometric.

For kids, there’s an abundance of polka spots, strong stripes, gingham checks and denims and for girls, prints of sketched, cartoon-like blooms and flowers.

UK forecaster Trend Bible also picked it right when they said more than a year ago that this season prints and patterns would also take the adult maths and science theme further into the children’s themes of outer space, robots and gadgetry like the inside of circuit boards. (Check out especially the Robot Factory prints below and on my favourite fabric website.)

Escapism and nostalgia also led to other print-driven stories in new fabric collections, such as vintage-styled imagery of Hawaiian scenes, pirates and treasure maps, and for little girls, tales of heroines and adventures in woodlands. Dr Seuss is making going from strength to strength with the release of The Lorax fabric collection, available from Jan, following the success of The Cat in the Hat collection.

As always, we try really hard to work the seasonal trends into the new lily pad collections. The new summer 2012 range (available now at Daisy Baby and soon at other retailers) is the first range that my business partner Lisa has worked on independently of me, and I think she has beautifully captured the trends and her range is really set to add some sunshine into your day!

So as spring and summer approach, it’s time to get exercising and get out and about. Dust off that pram, give it a washdown to get rid of any grunge (baking soda and warm water works well), and then spruce it up with a lily pad. Not only will it look great, but it will give baby a comfy place to sit while you run around getting fit, and importantly, stop them from sitting against your pram’s synthetic seat and becoming hot and sweaty under the hot sun.

I can’t wait for summer!

See the full lily pad Summer 2012 collection here -

Monday, September 12, 2011

Crochet Love

Meet my first granny squares    :D

I have wanted to crochet for ages so one morning last week I sat down with Pip's excellent 'Granny Squares 101' YouTube videos (see here), and an hour later I could crochet!!! Well, almost. It took a bit more practice, but it turns out I should have believed everyone who said crochet was quick and easy. I still have a lot to learn but I thought I would share some of the inspiring projects that are making this a must-do for me (and a New Years resolution that I have actually started, hooray!)

Vintage dress on Etsy

Maybe it is because I was born in the 70s, but I have always loved how crochet looks, even in clothes! When I started reading crafty blogs last year, I realised that you can do all sorts of things like gorgeous blankets or the cutest soft toys.

Paisley Jade is one of the most-read NZ crafty blogs and always has cool new projects... I love her cupcakes, and can't remember seeing mustached ones anywhere else! Small knitted or crocheted toys like this are called amigurumi, and this is what I would REALLY like to make. Kristy also has a 'How to Crochet' post here.

My Strawberry Shortcake doll collection is coming along nicely (see here) so I finally invested in these little hats, sold by The Enchanted Pumpkin on Etsy. Can't think of anything cuter. Except maybe...

... this turtle mobile by FaerySarah (formerly bobbyrobin). Teeny tiny and a perfect colour combination, I think her baby will love it (turtle was one of Mr Toddler's first words).

Speaking of Mr Toddler, his favourite thing in the whole world is his 'big blanket', made by my Nana. From when he was very little he would curl his fingers through the holes. Luckily he has accepted some mini-versions as travel-sized substitutes (a pink one in particular). More pics of his room here.

I mentioned to my mum one day that I had been looking at crocheted beanie/beret type hats on Etsy, and overnight she whipped me up these, without a pattern! Hopefully ninja crochet skills are genetic. Custom hats are good news for me as I have a big head...

I have saved the monster for last... this AMAZING dinosaur by Annette, who designs my favourite stationery at Nut and Bee. I don't think I could ever be that patient but I am definitely inspired!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Our Creative Spaces - Blackout

 Please excuse the pyjama bottoms!

So tomorrow it is here - the opening of the Rugby World Cup - and if you don't live in New Zealand you may not know that it is one of our biggest events ever and  will last for 6 weeks!

 Everything is going black - (Credits: Greg Page, Ruapehu Bulletin)

It has been a long and dramatic time coming, from when we lost our chance to co-host the 1993 tournament, to our Prime Minister flying to Ireland in 2005 to help with our pitch to the IRB, to Christchurch's games being moved after the devastating earthquake in February this year. It is 24 years since we hosted the first World Cup (also 24 years since we won...) which makes me feel a bit old, but it is lovely to see the little ones getting excited (see Aimee's Father's Day post here).

Rugby World Challenge on Playstation 2

Even Mr Toddler knows something is up because 'Dadda fast cars' has been replaced with 'Dadda rugby ball' (apparently after much research this one is the best game).

I had to commemorate the occasion with a little shirt for our future All Black, those of you with eagle-eyes may recognise the applique fabric as a lily pad scrap! I was so excited when I found it, I think it makes up for losing some of the cup's ornate detail in order to make a stencil shape.

This personalised shirt is for a friend's little man, how cute is the alphabet fabric? (I found it at Cushla's). See what everyone else has made this week at Our Creative Spaces.

I have written before about not dressing my daughter in black, of course now I can't find a plain black shirt to decorate for her...

Note: Obviously I can't sell cup shirts but I have a limited number of black shirts left for personalising, details here

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Gingerbread rugby teams....

On Sunday Miss Five, Miss nearly Two and I made gingerbread men for Father's Day. We're Rugby World Cup mad around here, and super excited that there's only a few days to go. So Miss Five's idea was to make a team of All Blacks, and a team of Wallabies (since Dad is Australian).

Once we'd made the little guys, we iced their 'shirts' using normal icing but piped their faces and the Wallabies insignia using special Icing Writing Pens. How cool they are! I'd never used them before.

Maddie kept asking me 'which one is the boss of the team?' (meaning the captain) so we nominated the biggest two gingerbread men. She knew the All Backs' boss was 'Richycaw' but she didn't know the Wallabies captain - so he remained just the 'boss!'

The best part was once Dad had seen his treat, there were enough gingerbread men to go around the GrandPops too...

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Things I'm loving...Dads.

This week I'm loving...hanging out with Dads, on Father's Day.

Miss Five has decided that this year we are going to make a little rugby team of gingerbread men for her Dad's Father's Day present. We've bought coloured icing to make them Australian green and gold icing tops...and of course we'll also mix some with a bit of red and blue to make some black shirt opposing All Blacks too!

She is SO excited about the Rugby World Cup 2011 - how neat is that!

But I'd also love to set up this activity for her and her Dad to do together. It's a fun, free and easy DIY that will keep the kids entertained for hours and keep Dad busy with the craft knife and string: amazingly cool little cardboard guitars, which I discovered online shared on one of my absolute favourite blogs. They have been created by the very clever Dad in the Make It Love It blog family.

To make them, all you need are old cardboard boxes, glue, pencils, jumbo rubber bands, and an adult to wield a craft knife. Simply follow the step by step instructions in the link above, thread the rubber bands as strings, and pretty soon you’ll be teaching the kids the classic song “Dance to my 10 guitars”.

We have heaps of cardboard boxes left over from moving house.
And I also thought, why not combine with my girls' favourite love - painting – and get out the craft paints and decorate them too?
(PS: if you need a reminder of the 10 Guitar song words, find them online here. I love this song too!)

To see what everyone else is loving this week, hop over to Paisley Jade's.

And Em's asked me also to link to the I'm Grateful bloggy hop here to see who else is grateful for and loving Dads this Father's Day weekend!

To read my original column on babybites, click here.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Sunshine in the Mail

Mail swaps can be stressful (as I found out when I overcommitted myself last Christmas!) but this week I received a gorgeous present thanks to Seaweed and Raine's stress-free 'Sunshine in the Mail' swap. My package *all the way from Australia* was so big that I clearly needed help opening it.

The swap was a blind one so I didn't know where it was coming from - what a lovely surprise to be spoiled by designed-to-a-t. This beautiful handmade bag was snapped up by Miss 4 as it perfectly fits her new favourite toy, but I am keeping the matching card with sewn-on ric rac (don't you love ric rac!)

This sweet poster came complete with clipboard for displaying!

And these pretty tags are a welcome addition to my stationery stash (do you think that is washi tape? I  need to try some...) It really was a lovely package, thank you so much Terese   :)

I sent my swap package off a couple of weeks ago because it had to go all the way to New York! I made the rosette brooch from lily pad scraps and sent some stationery from New Zealand designers...

I hope Lissa enjoys them, you can see her lovely drawings and photos on her blog A Chance of Sunshine. If you have ever thought about entering a swap, keep an eye out for an easy one like this and sign up!
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