Saturday, December 28, 2013

A rest and a discount

I'm having a bit of a blogging rest - it's that time of year isn't it?
I think that a lot of people are having a bit of a rest at this time of year....going away on holidays or just chilling at home.
I feel that not too many people are reading blogs at the moment - apart from you!

It's a great time of year for looking back over this year and looking forward to the year ahead.
Assessing and evaluating what you did, what happened, what you enjoyed, what you would do differently....
Planning for next year (and have we got some big changes happening here!)....thinking of future projects, changes to be made, things to do.

How did you go this year?
Are you going OK?

What on your horizons for next year?
Any New Year's resolutions set yet?

I'll be doing this is the days to come - thinking and planning.

And I'm offering a store-wide discount in my etsy shop.
Just type in the code: NEWYEAR2014 at checkout and you'll get 25% off.
But only until 4th be quick.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Last minute gifts - how about printables?

Have you forgotten something?....or someone?
Is there a gift that you just forgot to buy?

Well - it's not too late!
How about these great printables?

One of these might be just the ticket to stop red faces and mucho embarrassment on Christmas morning.

Check out all the prints in Ella Jane Studio's etsy shop - surely there is something there for everyone?

the earth has music by Ella Jane Studio

These labels might be just the job for a young person who may soon be leaving home coupled with some jars you may have tucked away in the back of your pantry.....

pantry labels by Happy Organised Life

These cameras are just too cute not to include.
They make a great little gift box.....pop some chocolates in why don't you?!

cameras by girliepains

How about sharing some of your favorite recipes?
Print out a bunch of these recipe cards and get writing.
Or you could just print out one and attach it to a plate of shortbread or a jar of chutney.

recipe cards by sparrowgraphic

I couldn't resist another darling print....
penguin by mercikiss
Retro caravans are all the go.
This one fits a cup cake, but you could put other treats in there and Bingo! you have a fab gift.

retro camper by claudinehellmuth
I just love printables - don't you?!

Monday, December 23, 2013

More random acts of craftiness

It seems to be a very creative time of year and I'm so enjoying seeing what others are up to.
There are too many fab things not to share some of them...

I wish I'd seen this word search tea towel earlier.
I know just the person for it!

on ruffled blog
 This coconut lime sugar scrub looks delicious.
I assume it's a facial/body scrub?
Has anyone tried it?

from the idea room
 Here's something else I could do.
I've got jars and I've got those flat glass just stick them on.
That's really pretty.

found on pinterest

And talking of glass containers...

from the ornamentgirl
....and I'm pretty sure I'd have some beads to put in there!

Now this is a natty little gift idea - I like!
Hot chocolate spoons - imagine the flavour possibilites.

from a beautiful mess

Now after all that hard work you can kick back with a nice refreshing cocktail!
Cucumber Collins - how cool does that sound?

from bluemountaindaisy

Friday, December 20, 2013

Christine's Millinery - "you can keep your hat on!"

It is so fabulous to meet someone who is so passionate about headwear!
Actually, it is just fabulous to meet Christine -

Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Christine Thompson and I'm a milliner - I make hats.
I have been making hats for over 20 years.
Mainly I have worked for opera, theatre, film and musicals.
"Madam Butterfly", "Carmen", "My Fair Lady", "Phantom of the Opera", "Love Never Dies", "Dr Zhivago", "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang", "Moulin Rouge", "King Kong", "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead", are some of the shows I have worked on.
In 2010 I started my own millinery business in the Blue Mountains, Christine's Millinery, producing original, one of a kind head pieces for formal occasions, smart casual wear, bridal parties and racing carnivals.

Who or what inspire you?

I was inspired and still am by the late great theatrical milliner, Jean Carroll.
She worked until she was 90 and loved every minute of it.
She also loved passing on her skills and I was very privileged to be blessed by her generosity.

Your signature or favourite item

My most famous hat was Nicole Kidman's hat which she wore in the film Moulin Rouge. 
I'm very proud to be able to tell people that I made it.
More recently I made a hat for an exhibition called Sooty Pot, which I designed after a trip to England in 2007.
I was inspired to make hats based on the chimney pots I saw there. I first wantes to do a whole series of chimney pot hats. I made two, the Sooty Pot which won an award and the Ochre Pot hat.


What do you most enjoy doing?

I spent many years realising the design dreams of others, before becoming my own designer-maker.
So I love developing new styes of hats and experimenting with colours and fabrics. 
I also love working with a client to create a unique, wearable piece of art, one that she or he feels proud to wear.
I also love teaching millinery and gain great satisfaction seeing students take on something on board that they have learnedfrom me and then making it their own.
I just love doing what I do.

What would you rather be doing?
One day I would like to travel the world.
When I'm rich and famous!

How did you start along this road?

I wasn’t interested in sewing until the age of 30, where it became necessary to learn how to sew after paying for someone to hem my trousers. A basic sewing course at TAFE led to the love of sewing and wanting to learn more and more until I settled on millinery.
In 1995 I went to Opera Australia to do work experience with Connie Kerr, their milliner. She liked my skills and offered me casual work until a position of assistant milliner became available.
I was the assistant milliner till Connie’s retirement in 2001, I then became head milliner. 

Where you see yourself in 5 years time?

I love what I do and can see myself making hats for many years to come.

5 words of advice for others
or 5 things you would say to other new artists/crafters/home businesses.

I have worked with some of Australia's best milliners and the best advice I was given in my early years in theatre was to always do my best and to strive for perfection.
Persevere and don't give up after the first difficulty.
Get good advice in the beginning and use help when setting things up.
Don't be afraid to try new things.
I believe that over-planning can set businesses up for disappointment. If you have your mind set on one goal yo might miss other opportunities that come your way. I think you have to be able to bend with the wind a bit, particularly in the economic climate we are living in.

If you would like to see some more of Christine's wonderful work you can find a selection of hats at The Nook Leura, or at some markets in the Blue Mountains.
For details of workshops or if you would like to commission a special hat contact Christine.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Out and about - Norman Lindsay Gallery and cafe

Norman Lindsay is Australia's (arguably) best-known artist.
He was certainly prolific, and is in it's day his work was very controversial.
His love of the female form was the source of much of his inspiration and he created a wealth of painting, drawings, sculptures and etchings with very bohemian and decadent subjects.
He also wrote - some of his works were banned, but his best know story "The Magic Pudding" is well-known and loved.
Thankfully his home near me in the Blue Mountains has been preserved....and was thankfully saved during the recent bushfires.
There is also a delightful many reasons to visit.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Random acts of craftiness - bits of DIY from around the webs.

There are so many creative and generous people on the interwebs and I am in awe of them and the stuff that they produce.

One of my favorite creative peeps has this ultra-sweet tutorial on her blog - grrl+dog.
I could see a whole swag of these being made for all the family.

by grrl+dog
How about some origami christmas trees?
Aren't they tres chic?
First seen posted by my friend Michelle on instagram, but I couldn't follow her link to the instructions, so instead I found this tutorial -

on mylifebox

While on the subject of paper....why not print your own christmas cards (if you haven't already sent them. I know I haven't!)
But, wait, you can use these already designed for you and you ca just doenload them and print them yourself.
How easy is that?
We can thank Delia Creates for them.

by Delia Creates
These are seriously cute -

from cake central
Upside-down gingerbread men become reindeer!
Oh deer!

You know I just love printables, and I marvel at the generosity of people who create FREE printables. They are awesome!

Look at this! Printable gift wrap!
Plus ideas on how to use it - really, there are some swell ideas!
from my poppet
How are all your Christmas preps going?
Er, um, better than mine I hope.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Where I've been - Narrabeen Lakes christmas market.

This is where I was on Saturday -

At Narrabeen Lakes Christmas Festival.
It's a great location, in the park that runs right next to the lake.

I met some lovely new people who have some gorgeous creations.

The vibrant photography of Maria Vantsos immediately caught my eye, particularly as we seem to have a shared interest in doors and windows, jewel-coloured houses and jewelled oceans - lovely, just lovely.
Maria was still setting up her stall when I lobbed by but you can see more of her work and her newest collection "A little gypsy in my soul" on her website, but be careful viewing of it may cause you to want to travel!

Not far away was Tim Rutten with his wooden candle holders.
I love the natural rustic woodiness of Tim's creations.

Tim is a native of the Northern (Sydney) beaches so you may find him at a market or two up that way.

And look! Here is the lovely Libby Watkins!
Her highly original work instantly attracted my attention.

Libby is an artist and designer who obviously takes a lot of her inspiration from the northern beaches near her home - fins, surf, and oh, the colours!

You can find out more about Libby and her work on her (fabulous) website.

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