Friday, May 27, 2011

Handmade vs The Man

'I Heart NY', by tru.che,

In a week when the power of social media has been widely discussed in the mainstream news, I find this fascinating...

Handmade jewellery (Etsy store tre.che) was ripped off by retail giant Urban Outfitters in the US, who then had to backtrack after being attacked on Twitter and Facebook. Read the story here (via Sarah McNeil).

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Autumn-Winter 2011 fabric trends

This winter the colour and fabric trends are all about wrapping ourselves in comfort and warmth and nostalgic, happy feelings.

As you’ve no doubt seen in coming out in the shops, the women’s and men’s wear fashion colours for Autumn – Winter 2011 are quite dark, warm, rich and regal. There is still a layered, boho French Parisienne flavour – with stripes, spots, vintage florals, and the 1950s longer hems to skirts. The top most used colours in fashion are camel shades of brown, with warm red berries and purples. Add layers upon layers of knits as the key wardrobe look, along with gold, lace, military and aviator styled coats, platforms, boots and wedges.

Overall, the fashion looks are much more reserved than we’ve been used to in Winters’ past. It’s as if the world’s natural disasters and economic situation is keeping us in check, stirring up a desire to hold onto treasured trends, comfort, grace. Of course with a little bit of luxe to perk us up!

The fashion world’s influence on crafting and interior decorating trends in fabric is really literal this season. The colours follow fashion’s lead exactly with the hot new trends in printed fabrics focusing on nostalgia, French inspiration, and cute, old fashioned happiness.

If you’re a crafter, designer or interior design home decorating fanatic, read on for my take on the fabric and print trends.


Pantone’s Fall Fashion Report for 2011 surveyed once again all the fashion designers in New York Fashion Week and came up with a colour palette for the season that rotates around ‘camel’ or as they call it, bamboo.

Pantone called the season’s look “sensible, but spirited”. “Designers take a painterly approach to fall 2011 by artfully combining bright colors with staple neutrals, reminiscent of how an artist would construct a stunning work of art,“ said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®. “Much like a painter's masterpiece, there is a certain romance to this season's palette.

“Taking cues from the great masters, sepia tones of old Hollywood, Chinese opera, cityscapes and countryside, designers are paying close attention to texture, contrast and color for fall 2011 – pairing menswear with feminine twists, warm prints with cool metals, incorporating both old and new influences, and creating an intriguing balance between colors."

Check out their top 10 palette below, and my mood board (top of this blog post) I’ve put together to illustrate it. My favourite new colour in the palette is the gorgeous deep ocean-inspired teal greens and blues – so amazing and such a modern take on the winter dark forest green we’re used to.

I’ve just got to get that shade into my next home project – or maybe a new lily pad?

Pantone’s accompanying 2011-12 Trends for Home Furnishing and Interior Design Report puts the trends into nine colour stories:
Indigo Effects
Transcending Time
Back to the Fuchsia

Nouveau Neon and
The Comics.

Just the names of the palettes alone make it clear what the home trends are.

In terms of a favourite colour combo for room schemes, the American home and design magazines and blogs like Apartment Therapy have picked grey and yellow as their favourite interior colour scheme, and Ty Pennington’s first collection includes this palette. I’ve also noticed design leaders in New Zealand such as Homestyle magazine , Líl Magoolie and crafter Dear Colleen highlighting the sunny yellow trend.

However downunder in both Australian and New Zealand interior magazines we’re still seeing the bright red, black and white combination that’s been strong for a couple of years now continue.

And how jealous am I of this 'office in a cupboard' in white, teal and red:


In both fashion and interiors, everyone’s looking for texture, so we’re seeing tartans, houndstooth and checkers. The tribal ikat from last season has become more refined, often resembling casual stripes and spots.

The French influence keeps nautical stripes in vogue, and large print spots from Parisienne blouses and scarfs comes in too. Supporting this theme is an astounding number of US and European quilting and craft designers bringing out prints with Eiffel towers; fleur de lis; poodles, French postage stamps, and love words in type.

The other key quilt and craft fabric theme is a fluid, bohemian group of patterns that include some abstract florals and damasks, flowing circular patterns, and styles emulating the lace look that’s so central in the fashion trends.

Following on from last season, typography continues to dominate in prints – mostly showcasing old style postal stamps, war posters, and coffee sacks.


For little boys, the nostalgic trend introduces patterns such as view finders, old fighter planes, rustic robots, bicycles and buses. For little girls, the French theme provides a range of patterns, with gorgeous poodles, cute cherries, apples and spots.


This year I love that New Zealanders have also invented their own special, localised theme - with “Kiwiana”, prints, typography, place names, and heritage images really hot on t-shirts, baby clothes, cushions, tea towels, wall art like bus roll canvases, and more. The ultimate style symbol this winter: appliqued cushions made from old fashioned, snuggly upcycled New Zealand woollen blankets!

My pick of the bunch: by StudioK on

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Cushion Swap - Done!

My first ever cushion cover has been posted today to Australia, I hope my swap buddy likes it! Her blog has a lot of rainbows, so I dug out the brightest prints I could find in my stash, and used an old upholstery fabric sample for the sunny background. After appliqueing the large hearts I noticed a small blemish in the golden fabric - one small panic attack later there is now a little pink heart (on the right) to show which way up I designed the cushion to go.

Not brave enough to try a zip, I did an envelope-type back, but did try snaps thanks to this tutorial on Make It and Love It.

There are some awesome cushion ideas at Punky and Me where everyone is posting their finished covers. My favourite so far is this one by Lola Nova.

And even MORE great ideas every Thursday at Our Creative Spaces, kindly set up for us by Kirsty at

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Addicted to Spoonflower

Since my last Spoonflower post (here) I have got completely hooked.

Every Friday there is a new contest so just signup and you can vote for as many fabric designs as you like (my daughter and I go through them together which means anything with cute animals gets a vote from us).

My 'black and white' entry

I have even entered a couple of competitions myself, despite my very limited vector-drawing experience... and not come last, yay!!!

My 'alphabet' entry

It is really fun to come up with an idea from the contest theme, and then see how everyone else had completely different ideas.

'Backyard Baby' by Patty Sloniger

The Project Selvage competition to design baby boy fabric for Michael Miller has just finished and the winner was Patty Sloniger, she is AMAZING (designs here), and her winning collection 'Backyard Baby' is so original and cute.

The next competition has the theme 'ice cream' and my entry - 'Choc Tops' is the picture at the top of this post. I can't wait to see what everyone else has done. The week after that will be 'folk tales', can you recognise this one?

See what everyone else is making at

p.s. If you are interested in designing for Spoonflower, check out this post by Ruby in the Dust, and Spoonflower's help page

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Totally Tinch-ified

I've got a serious crush. On all things Tinch Design Studio. And it's official, my house is now totally Tinch-ified. Seriously, there's not many more places I could put Helen's gorgeous creations. They now adorn:

- the baby's bedroom door

- the fridge

- the magnetic noteboard at the back of my craft cupboard

- my bedroom wall.

Neat aye? The re-stickable photo frames are my latest purchase, and Helen still has a 10% preorder discount running, hop on over.

I wonder if my house could do with just a tinch more? The "quote marks" could be cool too...

Friday, May 6, 2011

Loving... pretty houses

I have seen lots of pretty houses on the interweb this week - somehow looking at amazing houses isn't frustrating like looking at the local ones just out of our reach!

We write about Amy Butler a lot because we love her fabrics - Apartment Therapy has a tour of her house and it is so beautiful. 

Lovely blogger Retromummy is considering a move from Sydney to the country, and her weekend open home adventures (with four children!) have produced some gorgeous photos.

Have you seen Sophie Dahl's cooking show? This is the London house where it was filmed, clean and white so you can imagine what you would do with it... on the show it was filled with vintage china, candles, bunting and snuggly furnishings... (via Meet Me at Mike's)

And finally, my favourite new website, Unhappy Hipsters. 'Mid-century modern' decors with dream furniture - and tongue-in-cheek captions (like this one). I even spotted Karen Walker's house...

'Things I'm Loving' - Fridays at Paisley Jade's     :)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Handmade Heaven: To Mum, with love xx

Most years, the best presents from your children on Mother’s Day are made by them, such as a picture they have drawn, or a card they have made. But every now and then it’s also special to receive (or organise for the grandmothers, from their grandchildren) a special present that commemorates motherhood.


This year I’m loving these gorgeous “Brag About It” silver ‘children’ necklaces that feature your children’s names and sometimes even their birthstones – handmade on Etsy and ordered in from the US, they arrive swiftly and are so sweet. Greta also wrote recently on this blog about little silver ‘posey’ rings, traditionally for bridesmaids, that you can order with the same stamped look of name impressions - this time on the inside.

If you’re keen to support a local Kiwi crafter, check out these gorgeous ‘Mum’s the word’ pendants from Cloud Nine – one of mine and Baby Bites’ favourite crafters. I also really love the funky pairs of navy drop earrings with ‘kiss’ marks on them.

Greta also found a‘Family Tree/Whakapapa Rakau’ bracelet or necklace, with charms made from leaves with all your family’s names engraved, by New Zealand crafter etc on Felt.

How about a gorgeous wee 'jewellery tree' from Foxes to hang all these trinkets on too?


It's also good therapy to poke fun at yourself sometimes too. So my other type of favourite Mother's Day gift ideas do just that.

I've bought my mother-in-law (or in text speak, MIL) a Dear Colleen 'lemons' print. MIL and I can gossip away many a Sunday afternoon doing exactly what it says to do! The wonderful Dear Colleen also slipped in another one for me: this really is the best Mother's Day ever, thanks Colleen :) It's now hanging proudly in my kitchen in an oversized large white frame.

My final ‘wish list’ idea this year may not technically be handmade – but the idea is that you and your children choose and “build them” together. All the rage in Australia when I was there last month, these “family” stickers are bought individually, each in different poses or outfits. You buy a replica of each person in your household (dogs or cats included!) and adorn your car’s back window. Which Mum are you? The sporty one? The working one? The knitter? Go on, laughter is good medicine after a long day!


As a Mother one of the coolest things I think you can do is pass on skills and creative crafting traditions. So if your children are into crafting (and you’re into free printables) – show them how to download some of these free Mother’s Day cards too – here and this one here via L’il Magoolie.

I have already downloaded this wicked one from Fantail Digital Art, a fellow NZ crafter - I have a thing about birds and especially owls right now.

So go on - get that printer going: then act surprised when you open them on Sunday!

Enjoy this weekend and remember to sit back and celebrate your wonderful family.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Easy Treat: Eton Mess

Dessert on Friday night was a tribute to Eton old boys William and Harry.

1. Meringues 
They don't need to be pretty, so the kids can help. I was out of cornflour so just used 3 egg whites beaten stiff, then 3/4 cup of caster sugar added gradually + a splash of vanilla essence (12 palm-sized meringues cooked 1 hour @ 120 degrees C, then cooled in oven). Or just buy some!

2. Fruit
Strawberries are traditional, but any fruit or sauce will do. I had some frozen mixed berries so cooked them up with a tablespoon of sugar, strained them a bit to get a thick lumpy sauce, and left to cool. Tinned boysenberries would be good too - one day I will try rhubarb ( a la Sophie Dahl)

3. Whipped Cream

4. Mess!
Cover a whole meringue with cream, broken meringues and sauce. The messier the better (this pic is a bit tidy really, but didn't stay that way...)

p.s. added bonus of being gluten-free for those who need it   :)

Related Posts with Thumbnails