Thursday, March 31, 2011

Baby blue - Star Wars style

Baby boy is not such a baby any more, but his robot room is finally taking shape.

The colours came from these Star Wars posters. The Episode I poster on the left I found already framed years ago in a Rendells clearance (oh how I miss thee Rendells!), the Clone Wars cinema banner was a gift from my brother while I was pregnant.

By coincidence, my Nana crocheted this baby blanket that ties in perfectly (it is his favourite thing in the world, he loves putting his fingers through the holes).

My mum made the curtains from some clearance fabric she found that is in binary! Love it.

(She also made this gorgeous quilt, I have posted about it before here)

This amazing robot mobile was made by some other clever family members of mine, along with some matching letters for the bedroom door.

The scooter was a Christmas present from another Uncle and Aunt, it isn't from space but it does have a sparkly seat (and he is really good at riding it backwards).

I found these mini Star Wars prints (on the left) by Xander at Kraftbomb, and Aimee gave us this awesome Moon Mum robot (on the right, from Holly Chic) which I have framed with a robot poem that cracks big sister and him up.

If you are wondering what else I have made for the room myself.... um.... there are some cushions coming... and Teddy is wearing one of my prototype alphabet t-shirts. Darth Tater is currently the only toy memorabilia from Dad's Star Wars collection that is allowed to be toddler-mauled (note one arm is already missing).

See what everyone else has been doing each week at's 'My Creative Space'.

P.s. The other OTLP bedrooms so far:

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Handmade Heaven: Yoozoos!

Foo. Oodle. Jooniper. Gooloop and Hooper. The tongue-twister names alone will attract your little guy! These fun plush softies from designer and animator Julian Stokoe from Yoozzoo in Auckland look like characters straight out of a cartoon – and actually, they are.


Julian was inspired to make this set of dolls after developing the characters for animation and book form. Yoozzoo dolls are a limited edition series of 50 each of 6 characters. Designed and made in New Zealand, each doll has a polar fleece outer and is filled with 100% NZ carded wool.


Each doll comes with a swing tag featuring their own story. My favourite, Foo, is described as a 'go-getter', especially if that means going and getting more supplies of quince jelly and milk. Available at New Zealand design store or direct at

(Aimee is on holiday this week but this is her latest Handmade Heaven column from

Friday, March 25, 2011

Handmade Heaven: Dressing up has never been cooler!

(We love making special clothes for our kids but sometimes you see something so clever you really want to buy it! Aimee is on holiday but this is her recent handmade column from

Funky handmade Melbourne label Paul and Paula has come up with the most amazingly detailed hoodies, tees, leggings and pants with dragon spikes, bat wings, shark teeth and lady bird spots mixing in perfectly with navy, red, stripes and denim. Here’s one ‘costume’ you won’t mind the kids wearing out the door!

Spotted first on the L’il Magoolie ‘L’il Earthquake Appeal’ for Christchurch, I traced these wickedly cool clothes back to their designer’s website and loved them to pieces. Paul and Paula clothing can be bought direct on Etsy or you can bid on the lady bug hoodie over at Lil Magoolie’s until March 30.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

My Creative Space - Abstract on Turquoise

My very neutral lounge needed some colour.

The only colour it had was this board Aimee made me last year and this A Little Vintage cushion I love. So I was inspired to use turquoise, white, black and red.

This square canvas had been intended as a nursery project for my son, abandoned when I found something better than I could ever draw! It is nice and big, 61cm x 61cm.

I chose a testpot for the base colour (Resene Endorphin) - I love testpots because you can get amazing colours and the paint is so nice to paint with, runny but with great coverage. There was enough for two coats (and two brushes, thank you Miss 4), which easily blocked out the really dark paint underneath.

After the base was dry, we did a white layer (just in art acrylic paint), which I left to dry so that it wouldn't turn pink and grey with the next colours. My 'vision' was a messy corner/L-shape, with which my helper concurred.

I had a black testpot already and an amazing new red (Resene Rocket).  Miss chose to use the black brush, so I did the red and we finished it off. It looks even better than I was hoping for, bright and fresh, and reminds me of Japanese writing characters. After a varnish layer only one question remains, which way up?

Every Thursday 'My Creative Space' is at

Thursday, March 17, 2011

My Creative Space - Ladybug, ladybug...

Meet my first machine-sewn softie (i.e. not involving a sock!)

I wanted to make something special for Softies for Christchurch so this took a little while. I really liked Cotton Kiwi's post the other week about design, and how handmade projects develop, so this is what happened...

Looking for something with a basic shape, I was inspired by my daughter's turtle - he is so cute and I love how his little legs flap if you shake his body. A friend gave me some textile samples a while ago so I had this velvet-y green and beautiful Royal Doulton gold for his tummy.

On closer inspection, I decided that it would be important to get his head right, and it looked a bit complicated for my first try. So I needed a flatter animal, like a ladybug! (and yes, I did always call them ladybirds until my children started watching American television...)

Fighting the urge to go out and buy some gorgeous red material, I embraced our re-design theme and remembered a red tea-towel I had used to back some coasters at Christmas.  I figured it would be soft and practical for washing. I kept the Royal Doulton gold tummy because it is so pretty.

I needed to break up the red to show two wings, so I used this spotted ribbon that has been waiting for a project for ages. After sewing down the middle of the ribbon I realised it would have looked tidier to sew down each side of it, but now little fingers will be able to ruffle it a little.

The black cotton is from Aimee's lily pad offcuts, I just sewed a piece to the tea-towel, perpendicular to the direction of the ribbon, and then cut out a big oval to get the body (and a matching oval from the gold).

I actually made some little cardboard circle templates for spots but at some stage I decided hearts would be cuter, and I think they have made a big difference. And I was about 95% done before I realised red and black are the Canterbury colours, so that was just luck (and ladybugs are lucky too!)

The legs were just black rectangles sewn and stuffed, and then pinned between the front and back (right sides together), so I could sew it all up in an oval, leaving a little gap for turning. Then I just had to turn, stuff, and handsew the opening. The hardest part was getting the little fat feet through the opening when I turned it, next time they won't be quite so chubby!

I was going to leave it without eyes until Miss 4 found it, fell in love with it, and then asked "Mum, where are my eyes?"  So there will be eyes tomorrow before it is posted off.

Softies for Christchurch is collecting handmade toys to distribute to children that need something to cuddle. You can find out how to donate one here.

('My Creative Space' is a game we play each week at

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Top 5: Jane Austen-esque Movies

The Pride and Prejudice 'Classic Smackdown' at Meet Me at Mike's has been a landslide, with almost everyone preferring the BBC mini-series starring Colin Firth to the 2005 film. The consensus is that you can not capture enough of the book in two hours.

Which got me thinking, if you only have two hours free for a Jane Austen-fix, what are some fun options that won't just leave you feeling like corners have been cut? These are my picks (that will surely have you reaching for a book afterwards too!)

#1 Bridget Jones's Diary (Inspired by: Pride and Prejudice)
One of the best romantic comedies ever. Bonus points for the definitive Mr Darcy playing Mr Darcy. Perfection.

#2 Bride and Prejudice (Inspired by: Pride and Prejudice)
Ok, it looks silly, and it is... but in the best way - colourful, fun, musical, and actually very faithful to the story. Martin Henderson may seem like an odd choice for Darcy but he does arrogant and aloof well. Bonus point for Gilmore Girl cameo (Gilmore Girls will be another post...)

#3 Clueless (Inspired by: Emma)
Relive the 90s and laugh at the fashion, slang, and some great one-liners. If you want traditional and pretty, the Gwyneth Paltrow version of Emma is sweet, but this one is a clever adaptation. Bonus point for Paul Rudd who really doesn't look very different!

#4 The Jane Austen Book Club
I think I watched this as an insomniac early one morning during my second pregnancy. I cried a lot, but I enjoy a good movie-cry. The characters are pretty one-dimensional but the idea is genius - 6 people, 6 Austen books, 6 months. Their passion for Jane Austen will make you hunt out a book immediately.

#5 Becoming Jane
I haven't seen this one but it has been recommended to me as an enjoyable watch, and sounds like a good candidate for a movie-cry... young Jane Austen (Anne Hathaway) dreams of marrying for love until issues of wealth and class arise.

I have a very good friend who has a passion for 'P&P', are you a big Austen fan too?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

As luck would have it...

I literally can't believe my luck. For the second time in my life, I have driven off with precious lily pad designs stock on the roof of my car. And didn't realise, for three hours.

As one lady said when I went back to retrace my steps: I'm lucky I didn't forget to put my baby in the car.

My head is so full of all the hundreds of things I want to do both at work in my day job and through lily pad for Christchurch, and as I settle into a new routine with someone to help me with childcare, and school starting for my nearly five year old, I feel a little woolly headed at the moment.

And so it was that the other day I drove off from a fabric shop with 6 metres of designer fabric on the roof of my car.

When I finally realised, and took both my children back to retrace my steps, I really didn't think I'd find it. But I had hope, because last year I lost my baby's sling in the same way - and found it the next day, in a gutter. When Miss nearly five suggested we walk around the check the grass areas next to the fabric shop, I pretty much said ok because it was sunny and otherwise without some exercise and sunshine the day seemed so futile.

But there it was! Some lovely honest person had popped it up on the fence line of the business next door.

So now I can make and sell my lovely frenchy, vintage-y, new line of "Modern Paisley" black and white lily pads. Here's a sneak peak of this lovely, lucky fabric.

PS: this is my last post for March, as I am going on a much needed overseas holiday for a couple of weeks with my hubbie and girls. Greta will continue to post while I'm away and I'm back in April. Will miss you all!! xx

Monday, March 14, 2011

Confession - I love a Royal Wedding!

I was 4 years old when Lady Di became the Princess of Wales (July 29th, 1981), and it was a huge event in my little life. Mum says my kindy teachers were quite shocked that I had been up late in the night to watch it, but pre-VCRs my poor mother probably didn't have a choice!

In the days before hardcore paparazzi and the internet, the wedding between the 32 year old heir to the throne and his 20 year old virgin bride was all fairytale. She was beautiful, a 'commoner' (although her family were aristocrats with one of England's great estates), and even a kindy teacher!

It was not hard to fill my scrapbooks - the royal family were on the cover of the New Zealand Women's Weekly every week in the 80s, and always in the newspapers too. Hard to believe now when they are usually only in the news here for scandal. At the end of the year my grandmother gave me this commemorative book, a prized possession with fascinating details like who rode in which carriage... {starting to get a little embarrassed}

My childhood obsession hobby gradually faded but there is still a glamour and romance to royal weddings that is not often replicated by celebrities (no matter how hard some have tried...) And now that Prince William and Kate Middleton are only weeks away from their big event, the biggest question is of course - what will she wear?

Grace Kelly will probably always be the gold standard for royal brides - at the height of her beauty and career she was dressed by a Hollywood costume designer when she married Prince Rainier of Monaco in 1956.

I also love Princess Margaret in 1960 (very 'Mad Men' Season 1!) and Lady Helen Windsor in 1992.

Poor Kate (sorry, she is now Catherine) has already been criticised for her fashion choices - too safe, too boring - but I think she is looking elegant and pretty, and her trademark Issa dresses let her show off her figure. Like Michelle Obama, she often wears off-the-rack 'High Street' fashion -  important PR for a publicly-funded figure during a recession.

So I will be following with interest - will the dress be by Bruce Oldfield? Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen? Will William wear Red? Will they have these on their cake? Welcome to Prince William who is coming to New Zealand this week  :)

p.s. If your little girl is fascinated by princesses, you must see Aimee's gorgeous fairytale decorating

Saturday, March 12, 2011

I'm grateful for... organisers!

The other week I fell in love with this Sarah McNeil print, and then a few days later it popped up on a Facebook auction for Christchurch, run by Foxes! So yesterday it arrived in my mailbox...

Not only does it have a 'favourite things' feel to it (I can't resist lambs and strawberries), but I love the title - 'Trying to Be Happy Most of the Time'.

I am grateful for people who set something up so the rest of us feel like we are making a contribution. Auctions (and bake sales!) make both the donator and the buyer feel good about helping, so thank you to everyone that is organising these fundraisers. If you haven't had a look at Li'l Magoolie's auction yet, it is a gorgeous collection of products for mums and kids (you will have to fight me for this hat!)

Aimee and I have each donated special sets for this auction - lilypad + (very smart) cafe face washers or navy + black newborn Kiwi shirts. Organiser Maddie is a Christchurch resident and passionate about her adopted hometown, so please take a minute to check it out.

Another organiser I'm grateful for this week - Leonie (aka kiwiatheart) who has started Softies for Christchurch. I have had a lot of fun designing my first fabric softie (pics to follow next week), and am so pleased that it will be given to a child that will really appreciate it. There is no cut-off date yet so if you would like to make one just email Leonie.

FeltAid has started up again too, their shop is here for more handmade goodies with all sales going to Red Cross.

Maxabella organises 'I'm grateful for...' on Saturdays, thanks Maxabella! 

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