Sunday, December 30, 2007

hanging out

Yesterday was one of my nieces third birthday. It began with a bout of excitement and present opening (second Christmas???!) and then evolved into one of those quite idyllic summer days. While the girls went off to an animal farm, I busied myself with baking an eggless sponge cake (Miss G is allergic to eggs. If anyone knows of a decent eggless cake, please let me know) which was an experiement of sorts, as I am not the baker of the family. It turned out ok, probably not as enticing as if my mother had had a go at it, but pink icing, marshmallows and blue and pink hydrangea flowers made it a pretty cake. The afternoon was spent at the beach, hunting for crabs in the rock pools (none were found, but I spotted a little fishy), enjoying the sunshine and warm water. A little party with cake and candles and other goodies followed. Singing the 'Happy Birthday' song always brings a grin to kids faces.

I like times like these. I hope 2008 brings some more. Its funny reading all the blog posts and noticing how people are getting sentimental over 2007 and being optimistic over the upcoming 2008. I of course have read all the horoscopes in the newspapers (guilty pleasure) and have had several ambiguious futures mapped out for me. I think that you read into them what you want to hear. I haven't thought of new years resolutions yet! That is worthy of a new years day post I'm sure!

See you in 2008!

Friday, December 21, 2007

the return of... top five friday!

I had previously thought that Top Five Friday was extinct, much like the dodo and the sabre tooth tiger. But no, there is still room for more, and to kick off Top Five Friday-ing again I'm devoting this one to Upcoming Holidays. I love the Southern hemispere holiday season, and seriously can't imagine having a winter Christmas.

5. Finishing Work. After a hectic year the last day or so should be devoted to 'tying up loose ends'. Otherwise known as spending as long as possible tidying ones desk (I swear that everytime I look more samples seem to appear). Much better than 11th hour patternmaking! Then two whole weeks of doing as little, or as much is possible.

4. Airport Anxiety. Ever since missing a (delayed, thankfully not international) flight about a year ago and having to wait overnight to get the next one I'm prone to a little airport anxiety. My only way to combat this is to get to airport quick smart, check in, and hover around til boarding time (at least half an hour). Not content until I'm on the plane.

3. The Craft Lite Kit. I still can't quite keep away from crafts even during the hotter months, but this year I'm taking a 'low commitment' approach to my holiday crafting (last year I took the embroidery (see previous post) and it got slightly out of hand...) so I'm taking a tightly edited kit for pincushions- several bobbins of thread, needles and felt that is already cut.

2. Holiday Gear. I'm hanging out to get some new sandal (or jandals more like). And some lighter clothes. And perhaps I should eventually use up some of my summer Liberty.

1. Home and Sunshine (I hope). Azzzzuuuuure. That is the view from my parent's living room- you can't help but relax in this place.

See you soon!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

at last, a finish

To celebrate my niece's 6th birthday, we held a party- there were games (including a bark-off), a treasure hunt, a cake decorated with dogs (dogs being number one favourite animal), and a small mob of suitably super- excited kids. It turned out really well.
I saw it fit to give Miss. E the cushion that I had been embroidering for her since she was a lttle one year old. Five years of work is quite long enough. I recall excitedly writing in September that I would finish the work soon, but it turned out to linger on for a few months longer. This didn't really seem to matter as it was gifted at an appropriate time! I was slightly nervous about gifting it- it was my baby as much as anything. I shouldn't had worried. Soon she was off showing her friends with a "Look what my Auntie made me!". :)

Crafts, I tell you, well worth the effort!

Friday, December 14, 2007

the god of small things and others

I like to read, and I have just finished reading Arundhati Roy's (I like her name. Ah-run -dah-ti. It has a good sound about it). The God of Small Things (for a complete spoiler go here). Like the other novels I have read that are set in India ( the epic A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth and The Life of Pi by fellow Booker Prize winner Yan Martell) the story centres around an endearingly eccentric Indian family and the tradgedy that soon engulfs them. What I like about this book is Roy's linguistic quirks she gives her characters- a chip/chop- mish/mash- kind of feel.

Meanwhile I'm chewing through my stack of books- of course borrowed and not owned! I am now reading Incidents on the Rue Laugier by Anita Brookner. It is taking me a little while to get used to the sparseness of her prose- especially in comparision to Roy. I have read a couple of her books before, and am now starting to see a common theme to her writing- usually dealing with female characters who somehow end up breaking away from dependency on others, inheiriting a property, and generally spending a lot of time thinking about their lives (in a clean, calm and rational manner).
After that I have a couple of Richard Ford's to read through.... I keep reminding myself that I must get a diary to keep track of all the books I read. Sometimes I wonder how many I read in a year...

Saturday, December 8, 2007

the haints of dean hall vs. jose gonzalez (part 2)

In January (not toooo far away when you think about it), my lovely sister Kathryn and Steve are set to open for the Jose Gonzalez tour of New Zealand. I've seen posters all over town advertising the tour- it is great to see people you know open for quite a well known act.

I am quite excited- not only is it a great opportuntiy for The Haints, but it also means that I should be able to see Jose Gonzalez again. This guy is amazing in concert- I'm not quite sure if the snippet from the Sony ad does him justice- his version of Teardrop (a cover of the Massive Attack song?) is lovely- especially live. He seems like such an earnest perfomer (the best desciption I can think of...).

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

spotted this

Spotted this artwork by Jen Corace (on sale at GRNY) via Design Sponge. Makes me want to paint large and figurative. A girl sitting on a cloud perhaps. Perhaps a good idea for the new year...

Saturday, December 1, 2007

the neverending cuff (part 1)

I had Christmas drinks about a week ago for my jewellery class, not only was I asked several times which night class I was in, but also whether I had finished my cuff or not. Quite simply, the answer is no.
I have made it this far though:

The design was orginally meant to have fabric looping through the main part of the cuff, but has developed in a quite organic manner to be a butterfly inspired style. The bulk of the work has been in bending the cuff over and tidying the edges of the cuff so that they don't scratch when you wear it. I still have to finish cutting and filing one more of the wing shapes, then I will solder the 'wings' to the cuff and link silver chain through some of the free loops at the end of the 'wings'. I'm looking at more of a high-shine finish to what it is now, and may possibly add a black stain to it- it has also been suggested that I could enamel the wing shapes. I'm choosing to leave the enamel to another project! I have a good two more cooking in my head, but for now I can admire my work-in- progress pictures and wait until my next round of classes start.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

one fish, two fish

I moved my goldfish (Onefish and Twofish) in the weekend. I sat them in the passenger seat and buckled them in. And my niece made them this card :)
Update (14.12.07): Sadly Twofish (the black one) passed away not long ago. I think possibly from the shock of moving, and not having the filter on for a long period. You will be missed little fish.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

pincushion swap?

Ah after my 'no taking on projects' rant in my last post, I've been bitten by an impulse (everything seems to be impulsive these says) to do a pincushion swap. I love pincushions, and the fact that theyre small but perfectly formed (as well as helpful and tidy. perfect housewife in a craft). Is anyone keen? Leave a comment if you are and we can organise from there!


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

new flat (yay)

Another post with no pictures! And this is supposed to be a craft design blog...

On the flat-hunting front. Much of a source of drama and amusement flat hunting has been, but now I have a flat to move into. Very good. It means that I can play interior designer for as long as I can keep my room tidy-ish, which I suspect wont be for long. Its not too far away from where I used to live, so I am quite familar with the area. It also means that I don't have to pull out into hideous traffic if I'm driving to work. The flat is with a couple and a cat (a hunter I hear), and seems laid back, my room is pale blue and sunny, which is great. My room in my last flat was quite large, but dark, which made it feel ever so lonely, even though I loved having lots of space. Bring on the cozy flat I say!

On the craft front. I'm in a work-in-progress mess. Seriously, I keep convincing myself that I will finish a project soon, but then go and somehow make it more complicated than it needs to be, probably so that I can keep on working on it. Number of works in progress: 4. Number of finished pieces: 0.
I have warned myself not to take on any more embroidery related pieces, even though I want do some crafty Christmas presents. Not having a set postal address held me back ffrom participating in the Christmas Ornament Swap, which I'm in a weird way, kind of grateful for, as I'm sure I would have had too many crafts and not much time...

On the jewellery front. The neverending cuff is still neverending. Uh- oh. And I only have 2 classes left in my term at the jewellery school. This is quite concerning for myself and my tutor (I think he is wanting some closure.) simply because I cannot see myself finishing my piece by the end of the year. I spent last night tidying up the 'butterfly wing' pieces of the cuff, but there is so much more work to be done (more cutting, more filing, sanding, buffing, soldering, polishing....). It really makes you respect jewellery as an artform. I'm watching the graduating fulltime students work on their masterpieces- amazing, but I am hoping that they don't get too strung out about it, like I did over my collection when I was at uni. I'll take a photo of the neverending cuff at the end of the term to show my (slow) progress...

On the auntie front. Only 2 more days of being a live in auntie! I will miss my little nieces when I move out, as they have been so lovely to their old auntie :)

Monday, October 22, 2007

packing it up

My life is in boxes at the moment, well at least a good portion of my belongings are. I've just spent the day packing in anticipation of moving out of the flat on Saturday- I'm very much over it by now!. I know that I will miss it and will probably get all sentimental about it. Sewing machines have been stored, excess bits and pieces gone, and a growing charity pile is forming. And despite all this, I'm yet to find a flat to move onto- a few potentials though. I'm hovering over my cellphone like a teenager waiting to hear from her date...

Flat hunting is a strange thing- you meet an amazing amount of people and peer into an interesting number of houses- some relatively loveley, some definately not! There is always good stories to tell- I remember looking at a shockingly bad one when I lived in Wellington- it was in the Aro Valley and up a million step step stairs in the hillside. The place turned out to be dark, damp and very much a boy flat- and then it turns out my future flatmate had also seen the place and given it an immediate no.
Yet I just have to remember that on the other side, for the people finding a flatmate, that there is also a good number of potential flatmates (and crazy people who you just know that you wouldn't want to live with). I think that the right flat will find me. Optimistic here!

And the worst thing is that you can emotionally move in, you know, when you start thinking of how you will decorate your potential room- in my case this is not helped by a small pile of interior decorating magazines scattered on the floor. Very distracting, but I'm no Martha Stewart...!

Anyway, I'm going to start a new embroidery- a piece for my littlest niece...

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


In case you have'nt noticed, I've been busy enough to not blog. In the next few weeks, things are set to get busier workwise, and in between that I have to find a new flat to live in. So my crafting time is set to be sporadic, and I'm left with little to post about.

See you in the calm time.

Friday, September 21, 2007


One motif to go on the embroidery for my niece... something small, but perfectly formed to work with the...

...the tree...birds...the fairy...the snail...button flowers...the cat...the puppy...two little mice...the sun...the moon...the little red house...the ladybird...the clouds that I love...the loopy lettering...the pink little niece in embroidery at the centre of it all...stars and love-hearts...butterflies and bumblebees...the little silver-web spider...the owl in the tree...and many, many tiny stitches...

I am so excited about finishing this- but no pictures yet!. When (and just when) this is finished, I will turn it into a cushion- another project in itself...then I will show you..

Thursday, September 13, 2007

if you happen to live in Melbourne...

...The Haints of Dean Hall are playing their trans-Tasman mix of alt- country at:

Friday 14 Sepetmber - at the Edinburgh Castle, Brunswick, with Pikelet, Bendan J Black and Maudita..

Saturday 15 Sepetmber- at the Wesley Anne, Northcote with Seth Rees, Zoe Randell, and Look Bird! Lament.

Catch you there!

Monday, September 10, 2007

home again

I'm all back from Sydney now, and still adjusting to being back in NZ and am settling back into my daily dearly routine. I have been back to the real world for one measly day of work (then the weekend!)... I walked and I walked, bused, trained, planed and ferried here there and everywhere! Priscilla was a mad mad musical- the costumes were kind of insane and were worth seeing.

Then I struggled to pack my bags home due to some shopping.....

But can someone please explain this????

A.P.E.C. Wow, what a time to be in Sydney. George W Bush and 650(!) of his entourage were in town, as well as additional presidents and prime ministers from other countries... All this of course meant security. As in fortress style security and lots of cops everywhere. They even cordoned off the Opera House as they were using it as a venue, which was a little strange to see- normally the place is milling with tourists taking photos left, right and centre. And taped over rubbish bins in case anyone had the sense to put something suspicious in it. Crikey. Of course it gave everyone something to talk about.I missed out on all the protests though- I'm still not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing- nonetheless it would have been quite a sight for Anna in tourist mode... I of course was concerned that I would not get around the shops...

But on a brighter note:

The Hoppers. Or skippys. Or roo's. These two slightly bewildered and naive looking kangaroos and their joeys ended up coming home with me. My two nieces were delighted!

Holiday Craft. Do you think that I could be away from craft on holiday. No, not at all. As I was travelling with my parents, I knew that I would not be out and about every night. So I took this embroidery along with me. This came from a transfer that was with a 70's Needlewoman magazine, that I was going to put my own spin on it. It had been tempting me for a while, so I had a little start on it.
Of course I somehow left Sydney with some fabric... I found this black Tom Hedqvist fabric in a Finnish design store in Bondi Junction- I can't remember the name of the shop sorry! I have no idea of what I will do with it, but I love the slightly woodblock-ish feel about it, and the fact that it reminds me of books.

Cute as a Teapot. In my on-going mission to beautify my life ( I am reading far too many 'beautiful house' type magazines) I have purchased a teapot. Very cute. Lovely colour. Now soon I think that I will be on some kind of mission to re-organise and de-clutter and somehow turn a section of my room into a workable studio (instead of the mountain of clutter that it is)

The Shoes. I found myself yet another pair of mary-jane style shoes with a little heel. This is my third such pair of this style of shoe... But the nude colour would look fantastic with black tights or jeans. I am in a slight scrunchy-toe moment until I break them in (uh-oh).

It is still nice to be home- I got into the local thing this weekend and walked up to Kingsland village, got lunch from one of the cafes, and had a peek in Mixt and Royal Jewellery Studio- very nice pieces there. I'm still getting lots of ideas for design-y, craft-y stuff, but I have to remember to slow down and keep everything realistic. And clear my craft back-log!!!!

I was delighted to hear that
Carrie has received my swap and loves the pincushion (I loved working on it too. Am planning to make a few more)!

Friday, August 31, 2007

top five friday- I'm off to Sydney!

It is, at long long last, the day beofre I am set to fly to Sydney. Bags packed? Nope. Not yet. Maybe later. But there are a few things that I will most certainly be looking forward to...

5. Those ferry trips. My dad loves the Sydney ferries, so on Sunday, we're off to Manly.

4. Priscilla. I'm going to see the last Sydney performance of the Priscilla queen of the Desert musical. I am expecting high camp. It's supposed to be really good.

3. Shopping. Duh, this will make my trip more exciting!

2. Sportsgirl. We don't have Sportsgirl in NZ, and for some reason it makes chain store shopping all the better when I'm in Aussie. I have brought a very good and very much beloved jacket there.

1. Getting away from it all. Rest and relaxation. Yay!

See you when I return.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

it is indeed a blanket

At last my blanket is coming together after an excessive amount of knitting... of course it is 'not quite done' (meaning there is alot more knitting to come..) and I've come to realise that I will need to back it with a woven fabric after I've finished the knitting bit, or else it will stretch into eternity....

But all in all, homespun goodness it is!

On my doorstep not too long ago, this parcel turned up! My Back2School Swap has arrived all the way from over here. Thats right, the States! I really love the flower/cloud buttons (some look a little like clouds) and can't decide whether to use them for myself or for auntie dresses. My puppy-mad niece will adore the dog paper cutter, no less! Thanks!

I got a slight attack of the guilts as my parcel for my swap partner wasn't in the post yet- I had done the very clever thing of turning up to the post office with no address book. Ooops.

And last but not least, a bit missing from my last post- a big thank- you to those who commented on the Etsy dilemma- I'm still thinking about it... but would have to clear my craft backlog before I do anything else!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

to etsy or not to etsy

In a week of mad ideas, the latest mad idea has just hit. Etsy. I know I'm not the first crafter to go down this path, but you know it could be really cool. I have pondered about selling things like auntie dresses on Etsy before, but I'm not the most prolific of sewers (actually it takes a lot of motivation before I go near my machine. I think its because my room is dark). I thinking of perhaps selling my fashion illustrations there, perhaps in watercolour or acrylic (I have never used oils before), or if the work is digital, perhaps in a giclee print...

What do you think???

Friday, August 10, 2007

the trouble is, I don't know when to stop

I like to draw, and the trouble is that often I just don't know when to stop adding details, especially on little sketches like this one. There is a very fine line between a good sketch and a bad one. This is a development sketch for my jewellery work, but I'm off on a new tangent now...

Monday, August 6, 2007

the Haints are a-playing

The Haints of Dean Hall have a couple of gigs lined up very, very soon. My sister Kathryn and Steve are set to play..

This Friday 10 August, they play supporting Magnolia Electric Co. at the Kings Arms, Auckland at 8pm.

Next Tuesday 14 August, they play supporting Jose Gonzalez (he's the guy who did the song that went on the Sony ad with all the bouncy balls tumbling down the streets of San Francisco. You know the one.) at the Hopetoun Alpha, Auckland at 8pm.

Friday, August 3, 2007

top five friday...a picture a day...

This week held the start of a new month, and a week of images. This Top Five Friday, I have decided to do something a little different, and instead of giving my usual low-down on my top five, I thought that I would show an image that I discovered each day.

5. Monday. Monday's image is the completed interactive project by illustrator Julie Knoblock. I have been following the development of this artwork since its conception a few months ago. It is great to see the finished piece- the original was won by the lucky Dizzyjadey, but prints in A4 or A3 size can be found here. Another, more textile-y based interactive project has popped up at Syko- I'm sure to follow how it will grow.

4. Tuesday. On tuesday I opened up a sparkling new copy of Sportswear International to find this. I am such a denim fiend that I got quie excited about it "look at these jeans!". Mr Inspector Gadget (the hat and the trenchcoat do it) here is wearing the most interesting jeans that want to be boots that want to be spats. So very cool and what a great idea. I hope they have a ladies version...

3. Wednesday. Ok I may be cheating here ...this is actually last wednesday's image, but I love it just the same. I spotted this on Lena Corwin, who always manages to offer a good dose of inspiration. Scottish designer Emma McCorquordale, has a very textile-y approach that creates soft and organic forms, and she is not afraid to play with soft shapes- I love the ruffles.

2. Thursday. After a long period of knitting, I started sewing up my blanket. That doesn't mean that it is finished, of course, but it is exciting to get a glimpse of what is to come. It is quite a soothing and relaxing process, stitching this blanket together, unlike knitting, where I race to the end each row like a crazywoman. I have a good feeling about this project, which I think relates to the homespun colours used. It is warm to look at and warm to hold.

1. Friday. The aeroplane flies high. OK so I'm not jetting off to LA but I like this poster all the same- it captures the rose tinted view of going on holiday. There is more, of course to this aeroplane theme- I'm heading off to Sydney for a break in a few weeks time and I'm quite excited. The last time I went to Sydney I came away with a great pair of shoes and a jacket (the jacket is still going)- so who knows what my bank account will be like after this! I haven't been away for some time. So if you have any suggestions for places, shops and restaurants etc, please let me know- I'm all ears.

Have a great weekend!

Friday, July 27, 2007

top five friday...craft junkie-ism

After reading SadieandLance's post on Craft Junkies, I suspect that I am a craft junkie and quite possibly a fabric-holic (I am convinced that they are of the same ilk). So what would define a craft junkie? That is my question. So I have come up with a few things that would probably help define a craft junkie of sorts...

5. The 'I can't keep still' thing. On the whole, I'm sure that crafters are probably a very patient bunch- crafts do have a tendency to take up a lot of time and effort. I like the irony of the 'I can't sit still' thing- a crafter patiently sitting still but being very busy with craft at the same time. This is where the fidgety 'I have no craft' withdrawl symptom comes into play... I'm not sure if I can 'sit still' in earnest now that I am firmly entrenched in the knitty-knit.

4. The 'I haven't tried this craft yet' thing. New crafts= new crafting addictions. Simple.

3. The 'I just saw this fabric/yarn/thread' thing. The start of a new project, when something just happens to have your name written all over it, and you're not quite sure what it will be but it looks good anyway! This is a very important factor for fabric-holics! Buying fabric just because it looks nice, without having a clue what you will use it for! (This probably explains why I have a decent sized pile of Liberty fabric that I haven't used yet....)

2. The 'middle of the project new idea' thing. You know, when you are in the middle of a project and you get the Next Big Idea and suddenly it seems that your current project isn't so hot anymore. Restlessness I say.

1. The 'I will just add one more detail' thing. Thats bad. Baaaaaad! You know what I mean... This is when a small project turns into a big one. Take my blanket for example- it started off with 9 squares, grew into 25 squares (to actually make it blanket-sized) and now it is not only 25 squares and with several borders... and now I am contemplating making one of the borders up with a cable pattern... Somehow I always end up making more work for myself! But seriously, I think that it is this mentality can make the difference between an average project and a beautiful one.

Anyhow I must run. It is Friday and Project Runway will be on tonight! And I will do a smidgen, just a smidgen- of work on my embroidery, just because looks a little neglected :)

Sunday, July 22, 2007

a painting with lines and a tree

Since I began this blog last year, I have listed in my not-so-small list of crafts, to start and finish a painting. So I was determined, after a good two or three months of having a painting hanging around home, to finish it- and today, with a flourish, I can cross it off! This weekend 'A Painting With Lines and A Tree' is finally complete, and is now in the perfectly fitting spot that I had marked out for it. I quite like the fat little birds with the skinny little legs.
I quite like painting, but I find that it takes me quite a long time to achieve anything, but despite that I might do another painting, perhaps with shoes and patterns, sooner or later.

Friday, July 20, 2007

top five friday... i scream for icecream!

Following on the rather indulgent theme from my last Top Five Friday, and partially inspired by watching Top Chef last night (the episode with the Seven- Deadly- Sins- Seven- Course- Dinner). I decided to do the low down- on- the Top Five Ice-cream Flavours and icecreamy things (your list may be a little different than mine. I'm such an icecream girl- particularly when I was younger, when I thought that being an ice-cream taster would be good (actually I still think that there is some appeal in that...). And keeping with the icecream theme I will colour my words in pastel (or gelato) shades as you may say..

5. The Premium Vanilla Icecream in the Freezer at Work. Who keeps good icecream at work??? Tell me! Is it there as a joke? To tempt everyone???????????????! And is there actually icecream in there?

4. Goldrush, Jellytip, and Goody-Goody Gumdrops. Not to mention Hokey-Pokey... Classic kiwi icecream flavours for my none- too- sophisticated palate. Although, I do admit, restaurant desserts are good!

3. Cookies and Cream. Number One icecream flavour. Has not been knocked off the chart yet.

2. Gelato at Circular Quay Like a Tourist, Sydney. Admittedly there is something quite nice about this, walking in the sunshine with a gelato in your hand wandering like every other tourist towards the Opera House (then back in the other direction to the art gallery).

1. Icecream at the Cool Cat in Napier. Icecream education starts here. When I was younger they boasted a impressive 32 flavours of icecream. Not bad. Nowadays the amount of icecream is halved, but the appeal is still there- they still scoop decent portions, complete with chocolate dip. And best yet is on a good summer's day with your feet in the sand (or seawater) watching the people and the sea.

Coming up next... well I don't know really. I think we will have to wait until next week to find that out!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

fashion and life

Not too long ago, I had a reader asking about fashion design and how I came to work in it. I thought that it would be good idea to talk about it in my blog, just because if I can help more than one person, it would be good.

I was thirteen when I decided that I wanted to be a fashion designer (in a big- name kind of way, my aspirations are a bit different now). I think it was becasue I thought that I could earn better money in fashion than I would as a starving artist (as I put it at the time). I wasn't the most fashionable thirteen year old either, but I liked to draw, and I liked to make things, and this combined the two. By the time I had reached high-school, I was tailoring (excuse the pun) my education to a fashion direction, taking a combo of all the normal papers, plus sewing and design. I failed my final year high-school design paper and was bitterly bitterly disappointed. My style at the time was heavily influenced by Viviene Westwood- I had also gone through the late 90s (woohoo!) stage of toggles, clips, shot fabric and elastic. Not to mention coloured electrical wires used excessively...

I however got into Massey University's fashion design course, which was well regarded, and pushed myself. I made sure that I learnt to draw, patternmake and sew to the best that I could. I really enjoyed uni, looking back, but at the time it was a never- ending round of assignments and no sleep. I miss being able to sit and look out my window, listing to music, eating jellybeans and drawing (sigh). My style by that stage, had moved away from Westwood-esque crinolines and punk, to something more streamlined and clean. I liked to create garments that look simple, but were hellish to patternmake. I got into denimwear- I still love to read Sportswear International. It is amazing how fashion design students can easlily preclude trends- alot of what I have seen at design school has eventually come into mainstream fashion (often several years later though..). See our work here.

To make sure that I was actually able to get a job in the industry I did work experience- this I think is really, really important. I did work experience at Akira and at Zambesi. I think that it is quite important to get into a uni that you think is good, and that will help you get to where you would like to go. I still aspire to go to Central St Martins (As per thirteen year old dream), so when I go to England in year or so's time, I will treat myself to a summer paper there (Which one??? There are so many choices!)

Today I work as a design assistant. A design assistant is different from an assistant designer. Confused? An assistant designer works mainly on the design side of things, and a design assistant works on both design and technical stuff. Day- to- day I do alot of patternmaking, garment specs, and production related stuff. We design only at certain parts of the year, so that is a mix of researching, sending off textile prints to get printed and creating storyboards. We do sampling for new styles at the same time. My friends from uni work mainly in patternmaking, design assistant, merchandising and buying- so a bit of all the main fashion type jobs there. I think it is amazing that people can work in couture houses. You would have to be a perfectionist. Perfectionist. And I still struggle with the concept of high-fashion people- I simply don't get it- but it makes great movies and TV (Devil Wears Prada, Ugly Betty, Zoolander etc). My kind of daydream-fantasy job would to be a fashion illustrator. Then I can draw the clothes and not have to make them....

As I work and deal with the realities of commercial fashion, I have little time to dedicate to my own fashion work, and have in turn, taked to crafting. I like crafting beacuse of the scale of the projects- small, but detailed (excepting the blanket on the knit). My approach to fashion design is getting a little more homespun too- my choice in fabrics and colours are softening up, and I'm wanting to experiment with draped garments more (except I don't have a mannequin..) This is really coming to the fore as the clothing vs. jewellery project slowly takes shape- I'm really getting lots of ideas (and driving my tutor crazy in the process).

Lets see how it turns out

PS. My computer is feeling a little less congested now, so will be back to posting at a normal pace. Yay!

Monday, July 16, 2007

the computer woes

My computer has managed to get itself a lovely virus, so my posting from here on is set to be on the sporadic side. It is taking f o r e v e r to run anything. And my priority is to protect my work, and my graphics programs ( no graphics= useless computer. I am quite concerned that I could lose everything. So until I sort this out things around here will be abit quiet. Even if it is a really good excuse to get a Mac (not good for bank account though). At least I will still be crafting- so perhaps I will return with a round of new, finished or nearly finished projects! Bear with me.

See you soon!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

coming up roses

I'm one of those people who like a good book. I cannot go to sleep without reading at least a couple of pages (If not a whole chapter or two. Or three). Somehow I also have the habit of borrowing other people's books, and have read through a good portion of books in my sister's bookcase, my mother's bookcase, and my flat's shared bookcase. I do admire those houses that have floor to ceiling bookcases (complete with librarian's ladder). I think that it would be wonderful to have a little library in the house- with a fire, a cozy chair and endless cups of tea.
I also love art books- there is this oversized book on Leonardo da Vinci that I would love to own (alongside various fashion volumes and anything else that takes my fancy). I have an overriding tendency to buy non-fiction coffee- table books, despite the fact that I read a lot of fiction...

...So of course I was delighted to hear that we have a writer in the family (alongside a scattering of artists, designers and musicians). My clever cousin Sarah Laing, who is not only a mum and a graphic designer, but now a writer too! Sarah won the open section of the Sunday Star Times Short Story competition last year (I entered this when I was 13... I think I wanted to win the computer), and has now released a compilation of short stories, titled Coming Up Roses. Coming Up Roses is a beautifully written collection of short stories that follow a range of characters through brief, but important moments in their lives. Sarah not only wrote the book, but designed the cover (if you are a designer, this is of course, very important!), full of reds and pinks- the rose thorns on the side hint that there is a darker side to this compilation.
Like roses, a good start to grow a fiction collection...

Thursday, July 12, 2007

lovely, lovely

The clever Charlotte of Anknel and Burblets, has created a new website, Lovely NZ. Of course its all about lovely, places, shops, people, food and blogs in New Zealand. This is a fantastic idea as there probably wasn't anything like that before. I love the photos of the Cleavedon market- its so old-school nana in a great way! (I did fight the temptation to name this post 'loverly joverly' or is it 'lubberly jubberly'?. Don't know. Just reminds me a bit of the nana thing)

...And so I was surprised and delighted to be invited to be featured on the blog section, Lovely Blogs! Thanks Charlotte!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

back on the jewellery

I'm off to my jewellery class tonight, and I am excited to be able to make some more progress with my work- a cuff that will have coiled fabric draped over and through it. A bit of a challenge I might say. Here are some snippets from my sketchbook (OK diary) to give you an idea of what is to come in a good month or so's time... (I have realised that I really cannot draw hands. This is a little worrying!).

Saturday, July 7, 2007


15 squares gone, 10 to go! There is a certain level of satisfaction that you get when you stack squares of knitting or crochet into a pile- they are even outgrowing my knitting bag... The fact that it keeps growing makes it even better. I'm hoping to finish the next 10 squares in the next couple of weeks... but its not over after that! Then I will knit little border strips to space out the blanket, and make it more graphic and quilt-y looking. I'm really enjoying the homespun colour palette- there is something so comforting and earthy about it. However, I expect that I may have to adjust my choice in bedlinen (currently Cath Kidston style roses) to work with this blanket. That could be a good thing of course! Then maybe, just maybe I might be ready for embroidery again...

Friday, July 6, 2007

top five friday... chocolatey things

Its a chocolate season. You know that cold and rainy time of the year that can make a hot chocolate so good. I was listening to the radio the other afternoon and they were talking about chocolate bars- this gave me the idea for this weeks Top Five Friday (full indulgence of sweet tooth).

5. Chocolate Coffee Beans. A little treat to work with my daily dose of coffee. I like how they crunch.

4. Chocolate Brown. If there is ever a smug, warm colour, chocolate brown has to be it. This has to be an easily forgiveable colour knit-wise, sew- wise and clothes wise.

3. Flake Bars. I have liked these for a long time. I think its because they are not as heavy as other chocolate bars and are kind of messy to eat. I still remember the early flake ads that kind of looked like they were in Paris, then in space (good places to visit I'm sure).

2. Chocolate Frogs. Total novelty appeal. I love little frogs and the chocolate ones are so good.

1. Mum's Chocolate Slice. An old favourite- its one of those slices that you make with crushed biscuits and a chocolate-y fudge-y mixture- an occasional addition of marshmallows never goes astray :)

Hmm.. what to do next week...

Monday, July 2, 2007

the daydream craft store

Me being me, is at best, quite a dreamer. I've started chewing over a craft shop idea, prompted by my last post. I think I've been inspired by the likes of Purl and other shops, but something beautiful and special for Auckland. It has a good potential for the 'lifestyle career thing'- you know, where your job and your interests tend to blend into one another, an escape route from the fashion scene. I'm not sure if thats a good or a bad thing though- I wonder that if I were running a craft shop if I would get tired of the whole craft thing.

...But I still like the idea of a cozy place, with a couch for itinerant crafters, a rag rug on the floor, a bowl of jellybeans by the counter, and knitting circles where you can gossip while tackling something complicated or as brainless as you choose. And hanks of yarns in lovely, enticing colours just waiting to be knitted up. Old-school tapestries on the walls next to new craft and interesting window displays (I'm thinking paper cranes). Fantastic craft design books and no-nonsense how- tos mixed with a good dose of vintage craft books (the crazier, the better). I like the idea of a little shop thats a more than just a shop, but a shop with a dose of personality and a sense of community.

So.. would you like to visit?

Friday, June 29, 2007

top five friday... Kingsland, Auckland

This weekTop Five Friday has gone local- so probably more applicable if you know Auckland! Ok, Top Five Friday has been on holiday for a while. I'm not really sure why, but I think I wasn't that happy with what I was posting.
This week I'm going to give you the run-down on Top Five Friday- Kingsland Auckland (which I suspect might be trickier than I think). Its hard to look at your neighbourhood objectively, when it is usually just a sight that you pass everyday. Most locations are on the Kingsland village part of New North Road.

5. Native Agent. This store has a Zambesi-esque approach to New Zealand design (particularly Maori influenced work)- like a non-tacky Kiwiana (is there such a thing). I am enamoured with the old NZ penny earrings and some of the cushions to be found there. Find them online here.

4. Atomic Coffee Roasters. Good coffee is to be found here- which can't be a bad thing!

3. Little India. Comfort food takeaways of the highest order- good fort he winter months..

2. Mixt. Fantastic selection retro furniture, ceramics, lighting and art. You could very easily kit out your living room here if retro furniture is your thing. Find them online here.

1. My Flat. Surely the best place of all. Where else can I hang out with my 3 flatmates, 3 goldfish and my crafts???

Now Kingsland could do with a goooood craft shop!!!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

warding off the craft guilts

With much of a flourish I can now cross That Top off my list! This morning I decided (especially after writing about it in my last post) that I would definately finish That Top. After locking myself in my room for an hour and a half (soundtrack: The White Stripes- Peel Sessions CD, and White Blood Cells) I emerged with a completed garment. Now I can no longer complain about finishing the top... but I'm sure that there will be a sneaky project slip in and push everything else down the list! :)

Saturday, June 23, 2007

the craft guilts

Do you ever get the craft guilts? You know, when you have not one, but several unfinished craft projects hanging around your home saying "Hey, you haven't finished me! Don't you abandon me for a shiny new project". I most certainlty have. I think its a little compounded by the fact that I have a list on the sidebar of this blog reminding me of what I have not yet finished. And I have that 'crazy new idea' problem (OK so perhaps crazy new ideas arent really a problem at all- usually they are a good thing) that shunts the 'not-so-urgent' projects down the list.

Here are the top offenders:

1. Scalloped neckline top. Yes, all I have to do is stitch the facing, and belt loops on. Is it really that hard?? No- then why havent I finished it yet?? I think it has almost become my weekly joke when leaving work on Friday "I'm going to finish that top this week- no, seriously, I will!"

2. Painting with lines and trees. I think this is more a matter of being inspired to paint. I worked on it for quite a while, but lately, paintings not happening. I even have a space in the living room all set out for it, but of course I won't display the painting til its finished.

3. Embroidery for my niece. Now this is a bit of an exception to the rule of craft guilts. I abandoned working on this when I took up knitting, but I actually think that I am procrastinating on purpose, just so that I can prolong the process a little more. I have already been carrying this embroidery around for a good four years- so I guess a few extra months won't hurt. I am one and a bit motifs away from finishing this piece (note the unfinished dog that looks like it is standing on the red bird's head), and I think it will be a bit sad when I finish, so at the moment, I am happy to give it a rest over the winter months.

And the irony is that I probably could have finished that top instead of posting about it!

Monday, June 18, 2007

A is for Anna; A is for Auntie (two)

Now that I have a chain to wear it on, I can show you the pendant that I have spent a decent amount of time creating. Of course, given my current camera issues the photo isn't that wonderful, but trust me- it looks far better in real life (note to self: start saving for a better camera now!). It took me a good six classes worth of cutting, filing, sanding, soldering and whacking it with a hammer to create. It really makes you appreciate the amount of work that goes into artisan jewellery- and with jewellery, the smaller the scale, the more difficult it is to create a piece. Next I'm beginning the jewellery vs. clothing project, with a bangle which I will coil and drape fabric around- this will be great for melding the style of jewllery with the garments. I'm thinking of creating a few pieces like this, chunky and drapey jewellery that will compliment the style of clothes that I will somehow end up creating. I'm also thinking of working with pearls- if I can set them into silver that is- I am not keen on strands of pearls- so so very Chanel.
In the weekend I made my version of this cake. Delicious! Even my five year old niece was impressed by the lemon curd. I havent done any decent baking for a while -about a year- since I somehow took (to varied results) to baking from boxes. Now I think Ihave converted back to real cooking again- so much more satisfying!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Flickr... updated at last!

Well, after a lot of procrastination I gave finally uploaded some more photos onto Flickr and joined some crafty groups (What? Crafts? How did you guess??!!). I think I procrastinated because Flickr + at home dial up connection= some kind of small scale disaster...

Anywho, Im a gonna go and read while my wisdom tooth plays up a little this evening (Procrastination also on the dental side of things... I must remember with this one though: the more I procrastinate, the worse it will get).

Sunday, June 10, 2007

the knitting addiction

Today is one of those cold rainy rainy Sundays where you have very little motivation to go outside your house ( I must have a very low resistance to cabin fever). I am even making up excuses to try and avoid going to the supermarket. This is however very good for my new crafty addiction- knitting. Rain and knitting seem to go together quite well.

I have now finished my luminous sunshine mustard yellow scarf- the picture does not do it justice I'm afraid. I still have to motivate myself to wash it though (very difficult to do when you want to wear it straightaway). It took me a good seven weeks of knitting to complete it, and by the time I had decided to finish it on Friday, I had realised that I was well and truly over knitting that scarf! I was inspired by a print design that I found on Print and Pattern to mix up the colours on the tassels- this stops it from looking too flat.

I am not yet over knitting completely, and have begun a larger project to keep me occupied over the winter months: an oversized throw rug. This is from a very quick and easy pattern that I found in one of my Mum's Australian Women's Weekly's, which had a great 'learn to knit' section. I have managed to complete one square already, and am starting to understand the satisfaction that granny square crochet people must get when they work on a project like that- short and sweet, but progress none the less. I aim to get this rug roughly the size of a single bed rug, even though the pattern is saying to knit 9 squares, which I don't think is big enough to drape over the end of your bed. I am using an earthier, more homespun colour palette, with a mix of browns and soft greys offset with cream. I am limited by the range of wool colours that my local craft shop has, but am happy that they stock such a sumptuously soft felted wool such as the one that I am using. The wool is sold in hanks, so you have the fun job of winding the hank of wool ino a ball before you knit- a soothing process in itself. I like how organic a hand wound ball of wool looks.

While I was visiting the craft shop I spotted a sign advertising beginners quilting classes, I decided to sign up. I have recently wanted to learn how to quilt, and to be able to create a quilted bedspread. I think it starts off on a American Country Craft style quilt, which isn't really my style at all, but I'm sure you can learn alot of skills from a slighlty more complicated piece before moving onto your own style.

Last but not least for this post is my new favourite top- I brought a new woollen jersey knit top (to ward off winter chill and wardrobe angst) which I then decorated with a selection of buttons- it makes me smile everytime I wear it.

Monday, May 28, 2007

lost sketch

This little sketch of Dorothy and her ruby red slippers was missed from my last post (it wasnt finished)...

Friday, May 25, 2007

top five friday. red things.

Top Five Friday this week is Red Things. Here goes my short short list:

5. Ruby Red Slippers. The ones that Dorothy on the Wizard of Oz wears. I think they would be even more fun to wear than gold shoes.
4. Ladybirds. So cute. I am particularly fond of the one on my emboidery.
3. Red car. I have a red car. Yes its red, has for wheels and I can drive it.
2. Red Lipstick. So so right for winter. Now to find the perfect shade.
1. Red Camper Shoes. I was given a pair for my 21st birthday. I still wear them alot!

Stay tuned for next week's top five friday!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

spot the knitting.

It is a little concerning, when your knitting and your choice in furniture, start to look the same. My flatmate picked up this neat retro rocking chair on Trademe a week ago, and our little flat is staring to look a bit more homely. I have knitted nearly my height in scarf now- I started it only 4 weeks ago (I am knitting at the rate of one ball per week- if I don't I won't have my scarf by the time it gets seriously cold.) so am aiming for serious progress!

I'm thinking that there are two types of knitter- big needle and little needle knitters. The big needle type are more 'means to an end'. The result is soft and chunky knitting that takes a relatively short period of time. The little needle type (myself included) is more focused on the process of knitting. The knitting that comes from this is at a tighter tension, and has fancy stitches (see yarnstorm for gorgeous examples). When I was at uni doing my art papers, we learnt about process as an artform, or using the processes of creating the art as an element of an artform. Slightly pretentious, yes. But it can make your work more interesting, for example I have been following the development of Julie Knoblock's interactive painting- its not just about the painting, its about the contributions and how they are realised in the artwork. Interesting and fun.

Anyhow I am gearing up for another Anti- Procrastination Craft Weekend. I have one main goal- to finish (now annoyingly unfinished) scalloped neckline top!!!

Monday, May 21, 2007

odd post

Hi, no comment box on last post. Don't know why, but will figure it out!

PS. All sorted now. deceivingly simple solution! :)

Friday, May 18, 2007 five fridays!

Because I am one of those People Who Like to Write Lists, I have decided to do a weekly Top Five Friday list, just to make my life more interesting. I find those Hot or Not type lists in magazines fascinating, and once designed a fashion collection at uni based around the whole idea (I used an arrow motif, of course).

I'm going to kick this off with a list of my Top Five New Zealand Fashion Designers (and subsequently try my hand at The Fine Art of Fashion Writing). I suspect that over time these lists will get weirder and weirder though...

Ok, so counting down..

5. Nom*D. This brand is from cold cold Dunedin, and their dark and edgy knitwear reflects this. They are always reliable for putting on a bit of a show at Fashion Week. My favourite collection from this brand was from a couple of years ago (I cant remember the name), and featured a blonde model wearing a hat. The clothes were then wrapped around the model (they had a video) about 10 times. Very cool.
4. Kate Sylvester. What I like about Kate Sylvester is that she is just so likeable, as a person and as a designer. Another really consistent name in NZ fashion. My favourite recent collection to date is last winter's Stop Your Sobbing range with the ikat style tear-drop print skirts. If I could have brought, I would have brought.
3. Zambesi. These guys have been on the NZ fashion scene for about 20 years and have been amazingly consistent. I did work experience for them a few years ago, and although there was a lot of handsewing involved (the mainstay of fashion work experience anywhere) I still have a lot of respect for them. Zambesi make the type of clothes that you can pull out of your wardrobe 5, 10, 15 years later and still be able to wear.

2. JimmyD. What I like about this designer, is how the collections are structured. The image below is from a collection that is based around layering over a leotard and leggings, which is a really nice way of working, and not too dissimilar from how I would do things myself. In Autumn/Winter 2006 he did a cobwebby collection with very cool cut-out leggings (I am a legging fan from way back).

Image from JimmyD.

1. Cybele. This is my new Number 1. I'm convinced that she cant really do any wrong. I think that the clean lines and graphic shapes are good good good. I think I like her work because her aesthetic is quite close to my own, and that her clothes, when you put them in an everyday context, can be quite wearable.

Image from Runway Reporter.

Now.. what to list next week...!

Monday, May 14, 2007

the haints are playing

The writing on the picture is a little tiny, but The Haints of Dean Hall are playing on...

Friday 18 May- Arc Cafe, Dunedin with Anji Sami
Saturday 19 May- Harbour Light, Lyttleton with Brian and Maryrose Crook (the Renderers)
Wednesday 23 May- Wine Cellar, Auckland with Steve Abel
Saturday 26 May- Happy, Wellington with Bonanza

See you there.

Monday, May 7, 2007

karma, karma.

All- righty! This morning I checked my blog to find that I had been tagged by Lara from Kirin Notebook. Basically this whole tagging business works a little like those chain letters you used to write when you were 12 (without threats of curses or 7 years of bad luck- I hope!).

Basically you get tagged, tell the world 7 random facts about yourself, and then pass the love onto another 7 unfortunate victims (I think this is the hard bit...)

So here is my list:

My favourite colour is red. I like it because it is so strong, but so so simple. Straight to the point.

I used to really really love Star Wars. Yep, I was mad on it. As in geeky mad. I had the look too (Mad hair and glasses) Nowadays I still think that the old- school Star Wars is the best... and I still think that Han Solo, Yoda, and Ewoks rock :)

I still think that it would be awesome to be a rockstar. Instant gratification. Visual arts and design is a little slower than a mad crowd.

I made my first dress when I was in kindy. Despite my rather obvious career choice after this early decision I can still count the amount of dresses I have made for myself on one hand.

My surname is a talking point. And strangely enough, even though I get a little tried of the jokes, I kind of like it. Its handy for a fashion label... then I can do slogan tees that say "THATS COOL McCOOL" :)

I once gave up learning French. For accounting (in the even that I should own my own business..) I still regret it.

I really don't like bus fumes. This is a little ironic as I bus to work everyday, and that each bus removes about 30 cars from Aucklands roads. But the fumes are awwwful.

Ok, seeing that I don't know too many people on blogger still, my list will be shorter than 7 people. I don't think that its fair to tag a blog that you only lurk on. So passing the love on to... Julie, Annalaura and Renee.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

A is for Anna; A is for Auntie.

This is the first stage of designing a pendant for my jewellery class. We were briefed to design a monogram pendant, that had areas that were subset from the main piece of silver. For a while I was thinking about not following the brief by creating a cloud- like design that dangled from a corner. However I changed my mind as I explored variations on a simple hand-written 'A'. Thankfully I love typography! :)

To develop the template that I am using I put my hand- drawn 'A' through Illustrator, which gave me a nice clean line to work with- it has helped me save time in the long run as I could go straight into cutting the template out in copper- which is where I am at with the development of this piece
I found it quite interesting to see what my classmates has come up with... strangely I was the only one who has decided to the monogram idea (by then I has decided that it was kinda cool, and was liking my ideas). There were more than a few koru style designs. And I am definately thinking that 'this jewellery business' is going to be a positive contribution to my life.

This girl made an appearance in a notebook of mine at work as I worked on a pattern....unfortunately not of this dress!

Must go. My knitting in its mustard-y yellow glory is beckoning. And a cup of tea too! :)

Friday, May 4, 2007

i am thinking...

I am thinking I might alter that ring I made- resize it and engrave "Auntie" on a fancy, slightly old-fashioned font. Then I might actually wear it.

This jewellery business is potentially creating a monster. I am also now wanting to create a fashion and jewellery range that works together for my portfolio. Very, very tempting.

I am also listening to an excessive amount of Jakob's first CD Subsets of Sets. Very good. I think I shall suport this great band from my hometown and buy one of their other CDs.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

look at what I made.

Yesterday I completed my simple silver ring at the jewellery school. It was a little bit of a struggle to complete it, so I am kind of proud that I have managed to create something out of metal. I chose to leave it with a brushed finish, rather than a high polish finish, for a bit of interest (my other rings are high polished, but time tarnished). However, its a little too tight for my finger...

I am now working on a monogram pendant- more about that later! But I am starting to get ideas about future projects, which is good- theres nothing like fresh creative inspiration! :)