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?