Sunday, May 30, 2010

Shadow Shot Sunday - Selling Shadows

I finished some more garlands today and began taking photos in the late afternoon. As the light was rather poor, I got out an old flood light to add some 'oomph' to the light levels. Obviously it added rather a big oomph, and I noted quite a few noice shadows, which jigged somehting in my overfilled mind...Hey Harriet and her Shadow Shot Sunday meme!

I am sure the stylistas at Etsy would tut-tut over these, no clarity, what are you selling...shadows? All too confusing.

Flea Market Finds - Vintage Patterns

My internet has been playing up all this week, so firstly I would like to apologise to anyone who might have popped by and left a comment during the last ten days or so. I haven't been able to reciprocate as it takes hours to load a page (I am exaggerating) But I am not lying by saying it takes lots and lots of  frustrating and exasperating minutes to load one page (if it ends up loading!) I usually throw up my hands in despair and storm off swearing under my breath, leaving to fight the battle another day.

Anyhoo, back to the matter to hand, treasures I have found this week. Most are located in my daughter's room, and as she is sound asleep,  I will restrict myself to the bounty of vintage patterns that I have found. There are dolls clothes, pegnoirs, cute toddlers clothes, and mens and boys wear, some with different sizes, in all about 20 patterns.

I am thinking of using them in some kind of artwork...but am not sure what. I can't really see myself making an intricate pegnoir/bed jacket, sipping tea in bed, and floating around like Greer Garson.

It seems I collect a whole pile of ephemera every week with the good intentions of doing "stuff" with it, but the pile is getting bigger and I don't see much "stuff" being produced....and my husband is getting crankier.

Pop over to Sophies and see the goodies that everyone has collected this week. xxNick

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Chillies and Rosellas

I am not a natural cook, but I try, lordy do I try!I finally committed to making jams and sauces today...and I am exhausted! This morning I collected recipes from the net. I had a full day planned and so concentrated on the recipes with short cooking times,  the most stars given and those with the most kudos, by well known chefs. "The guys on Masterchef can do it, and so can I!" I self talked myself.

The recipes I chose stated the cooking time for Sweet Chilli Sauce was 15 minutes and the Rosella Jam was 45mins. "Yahoo", I thought "Finished before lunch, so I can paint the bathroom and spend a couple of hours gardening and then do soemthing with the mountain of beans that I picked yesterday."

Well good intentions sometimes don't pan out. I started at 9.30 and have just finished at 2.30! That's five hours! My back aches, I have washed the dishes three times and there is still a pile in the sink, and I am sticky all my hair, my elbows, my clothes. I ran out of jars. Why did we have twelve jars with seven lids? A total mess! Nothing like those calm and organised women on the tele who just seem to whip up a batch of jam without batting a eye.

Of course, one of the problems is my maths skills. I had so many chillies I had to double the recipe...which meant four kilos of sugar! Luckily I hide quite a bit of basics like flour and sugar around the kitchen and pantry (in case of the war!) ...and in case I run out. Regardless, every type of sugar went into that Chilli Sauce: white, brown, raw, castor and even jam making sugar. It didn't help though. Four and a half hours I waited for that sauce to thicken! I think I made a wrong calculation somewhere. The cost in gas will be phenomonal! So much for saving money and making your own at home. But on the positive side, I have got an awful lot of sauce...twelve jars of Sweet Chilli Sauce and two of Rosella Jam, and they will look nice and 'Shakerish' in the cupboard alongside our honey, pickled cucumbers and marmalades.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Flea Market Finds - Collecting Collections

As you might have deduced from the name, I like collecting, and this week has been no different. I am really trying to restrict my op-shopping to one day a week, but on that day, I will travel far afield to get my fix!

There was a goodly collection got this week, but to enable the gems to shine I will just show one special collection. The others can wait for a "dry" week.

I happened upon these booklets that contain a collection of cards that you had to collect. Well, not necessarily 'you' but to quote:
"Just ask Dad to get you a new card every yime he visits his Shell Service Station"

Not your parents, but Dad! I am not sure of the year of these books, but thank goodness we have come so far. Yes, I know that often there was one car in the family, and women didn't drive, but thanks goodness for the women who did! Who were independent and had a bit of gumption. (I will stop myself now before I turn into Germaine Greer!)

For those who have not achieved the necessary years to have these as memories, they were kind of like educational Tacos. Everyone had them, Weet-bix, petrol stations, cigarette packets.  It's funny now looking back, that cigarette companies were targeting children from an early age including cards to collect within their packaging. Nowadays we can't even have the cigarettes on display! (It is just interesting how society's values change over a period of time)

Anyhoo, this is one of my pride and joys. It is a cigarette card collection book. And it is a doozy! Dated January 1st, 1917.

The book is completely filled and  includes birds, butterflies and WWI cards with some extras that didn't fit in. All of the cards just slip in and out of the envelopes. This was purchased for the princely sum of 20 cents!

I love the graphics of all of these cards and the 'collectioness' of them. I know that isn't a word, but it is kind of defined as the time and pure obsession it takes to collect. Very special.

Pop over to Sophies and see what wonderful finds everone else has come up with this week. xxNick

Thursday, May 20, 2010

My Creative Space

image from here

I have been inspired in my garden lately by Jane Brocket and her wonderful tulips. I know that I live in “Gods own country” where we can actually wander around in short sleeves and thongs for most of the year, but the downside is that I can’t grow bulbs.

That is I can’t grow the wonderfully luscious bulbs of Jane…but I can grow Alliums, in other words onions! We will see how these go, and hopefully I can show you some onion, err, allium flowers in November.

image from here

Pop over to Kootoyoo to see what other creatives are up to.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Missprint heaven

I have just re-discovered Missprint. So gorgeous

I think I would like the top wallpaper for a feature wall in my bedroom. The problem is that I have read that feature walls were never really 'in' and now they are definately 'out', plus I am broke. Err, what does it matter what is out and what is in, I would be the only one who sees it. (Sparky suffers from a debilitating disease called"Decoration Blindness)

I don't know if I could do this to a mid century modern piece. Maybe there are more of them in Britain, thus making them less precious. I couldn't do it to my Parker. But I still love it.! XXNick

My Day at the Markets - an essay by Nick

Well duckies. The markets were everything I expected, and a little bit more. Firstly it was a Car Boot Market, not a craft market like Bangalow and The Channon. Strike one. Secondly there were three other events on at the same time. Strike two. Thirdly it is Lismore, not Byron, Mullum or Bangalow. Strike three.

Saying that I got my first and only sale early in the day from the lovely Natalie. She has a wonderful eye that girl, and picked my favourite cushion, the red fringed Apple Isle to take home with her. The rest of the day saw me very busy as here in Lismore, the stall was quite unique. I had a lot of lovely comments and some generous advise from a multitude of people who are making a living crafting and making lovely wares.

I had quite a few enquiries and quoted on my bunting, ran out of cards to give out and had to make some dodgy handwritten ones, but we shall wait and see. Rome wasn't built in a day. After all Jessica Watson didin't give up when she smashed her boat into an ocean carrier did she?

But here is a funny story, and it brings to mind other comments that stall holders have made about the public making often insulting remarks in their presence, such as "I could make it better" etc.

I was pretending to rearrange a few things (as you do) when two women and a grotty child walked up, one older and overweight (I will call a spade a spade) the other younger. They looked at this chair above,  and the older woman went to sit on it. Now, this chair is being held together with cable ties and barely supports the cushions that lie so becomingly upon it. "Don't sit on that!" I screech, all the while thinking, even if it was in tip top condition, there is no way that it could support the sheer bulk of the woman standing in front of me! "Chair!" she snapped, "Get me a chair!" Ofcourse, being the 'pleaser' that I am, I rushed behing the counter, threw my daughter off my comfortable 70's teak chair and bought it to the front. The woman dropped and squeezed her way into it.

Okay, I thought, maybe she is going to be like Mrs Rachel Lynde (Anne of Green Gables) or Aunt Polly (Pollyanna) or some martiachical Duchess from Georgette Heyer and direct her daughter to bring her items that take her fancy. "She is going to buy big for the grotty grandchild!" thinks I, dollar signs in my eyes.

I continued "rearranging" my stall, waiting to be of assistance. After a few minutes of browsing the daughter bought over a pincushion for the mother's attention. "It's alright if you were a midget!" she grunted holding it in her fat hand. And that was about that. The daughter gave up even the semblance of browsing, I retreated behind the counter, standing, because I didn't have a seat, and the family occupied all of the stall space, for the next ten minutes, not saying anything. It was like some weird performance art.

My daughter and I continued to look at each other, roll our eyes expressively and mouthing silently, "What is going on!" to each other. Finally, an older bikie type fellow came up and said "OK mother, lets go." He tried to get the woman out of the chair, but she was stuck fast! As he lifted her, the chair lifted on on her bum! I had to run around help lift her and prise the chair from her nether regions. And that was that! All of them turned around and then left. No "thank-you". No "I like your wares." Nothing. It was very surreal. Ten minutes they were there and then they weren't.

I think I will try The Channon Markets and try to get into Bangalow next. Ah, what would life be without goals and challenges.  xxNick

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Flea Market Finds - Daggy Picture or Masterpiece for a Stylista

Yawn yawn. I am writing this at 12.30 in the morning so I don't miss out on a posting for Flea Market Finds at Sophies place. Call me desperate, consciencous or plain pig headed, I must and I will complete everything on my list. (I know my spelling is atrocious, but the little grey cells have stopped working)

I am toddling off to my first market today and am a bit concerned. I know that I won't make much, and that it is the wrong kind of market, but I just feel that I have to take that first plunge and get accustomed to the water, so to speak.

Any hoo, what have I found this week? Quite a few little bits and bobs and fabric, but it is late so I will take a pic and go to bed. Please excuse the flash on the picture, it isn't the sun. Oh, by the by, the West German pots are all op shop finds...these are only a small  part of the collection. I put them in to indicate the size of the print.  It is quite soothing. I am not sure if it is totally daggy or has that special edge. It is 1950's with the great white frame.

I also got about five metres of this 60's stretch fabric. It will be good for upholstery and cushions. I have in mind a couple of footstools. Tart them up, and they will look a treat! Well, I'm off to bed now possums. Nighty night xxNick

Friday, May 14, 2010

Most of 'em are finished

My blood blister sent me this tea towel to make into a cushion. It is so adorable! I can imagine it with orange or white pom-poms...or maybe pink, or even green. Then again it would look cute hung on the wall in a frame. So many decisions!

Meanwhile I was up 'til late last night finishing off my market cushions. There are still a couple to go, but they won't take long.

I love anything with a map on it. I think it is wishful thinking, because we never go anywhere. (Boo-hoo!I live in the best country in the world, so why am I complaining!)

But they are not all Australian. This one has vintage Belgian pom-poms on it. I remember my god-parents coming back from a world trip as a small child and bringing back gifts of The Suez Canal scarfs and velvet cushions encrusted with paint and glitter from Sydney. I used to dream of going to far flung places, and although I have travelled a bit, there is still that excitement of a distant land when I see these pillowcases.

However, I think that some people will think they are just crusty, nana and very daggy. I suppose because they are my memories.


I think this is my favourite (or the Tassie one posted yesterday) In real life it is so bright and cheerful. It is very retro feeling and 50's.(My apologies, I seem to take photos when the sun in going down and the shadows are the longest!)

Oh well, back to the sewing machine! xxNick

Thursday, May 13, 2010

First Cab Off the Rank

I got a bit sidetracked with my cushions, as I made some bunting for the markets as samples to enable potential buyers to visualise the finished product. I researched the most popular names, with the shortest turning up as "Noah" and "Ella." So I knocked them up in traditional girly and boy colours.

But I finally finished the first cushion and it is lovely! Long red fringing that you just want to run your fingers through for hours. And wonderful images of the Appple Isle. I have never been there, but sewing up this cushion has put definate plans in my mind. They have lovely olde worlde names like "Cat and Fiddle Square."

I got this stool the last week at the Salvos for the princely sum of $8.50. I thought initially "they were dreamin" but a little voice said "Buy me, buy me!" Ofcourse as soon as I got home, it was hidden in the shed so Sparky couldn't find it.  It is still a bit grimy, but a spit and a polish will bring it up a treat. It is perfect for display, so clicks for Nick!

I hope that people will like them as much as I do...hmm, methinks that I am just remaking my childhood memories. Maybe I am, but in the process I am creating things that make me happy, so it has to put some good energy out there. I think I will call the range, "Nana Cushions."  Sparky told me it had already been done, but I haven't seen any others named that with my own eyes, so it doesn't count. xxNick

My creative space - Orders

I am very busy and very creative this morning. I am finishing off my lovely tea towel cushions for the markets on Sunday. All of them have fabulous fringing or pom poms on them. They look a bit nana, but I hope in a contemporary way. I will show you the finished cushions tomorrrow.

Also, I am sending off my second order to the US today and so have been packing it up, nice and snug. I haven't really organised my visual and graphic design for my label yet, but it will have some of the elements  in the picture.

I got my trusty Olivetti typewriter out and typed the etsy address of the shop and machine sewed it to the header. Would you believe I had to type that address seven times! I am so dependent on computers with the backspace button and spellcheck that my typing has really degenerated. I can remember a time in typing class, all those years ago, that I had to type out a full A4 page with a maximum of 5 mistakes. I am lucky to write a sentence nowadays within those parameters!

I have also been playing around with my market stall during the week. I know, it is a bit daggy and a bit like Playschool, but I was so excited when I finished my bunting! I felt like giving the family monopoly money and we could play pretend markets. I think it came up a treat myself and am pretty chuffed. I have also had a good response with the bunting in our etsy shop, with several enquiries for, would you believe it, weddings!

Pop over to see what other creatives are doing today at Kootoyoo. XXNick

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I can't get you out of my mind

Do you ever obsess over something like a picture you have seen or a song, and you just can't not think of them? I have been thinking of this image since I bought an English Country Living mag.

It is such a good idea, and I have a couple of vintage children's chairs that would do the trick, but I have no wall space! I feel like building a wall, just so I can hang a pair of chairs up and be like a Shaker.

Hopefully this post will exorcise the image from my mind and I can move on.

Monday, May 10, 2010

April garden

Yikes! (This is my Trixie Belden impersonation) I forgot all about posting my garden pictures. I use this post as a reference to compare my garden at different times of the year. If you are not interested in gardens...go no further. Unfortunately, I have an awful camera so the pics ae pretty mediocre, and I haven't mown the lawn, and I have been sidetracked makin' stuff and not gardening. (You can tell I am a bit embarrassed by the state of it!)

This is our temporary chicken run. I needed the chooks to get some green in their diets without mucking up my garden beds. We came up with this idea. Not the brightest idea though, as the plastic was left out in the weather and deteriorated quite a bit. It will do for a while at least.

We are so blessed with our weather. This was shot in the afternoon and the greens are vibrant. I have way too much basil, but it is fodder for the bees. I also put the brassicas in too early and they were muched away. A few cold nights will get rid of the insects, but some years are so mild here, we only light a fire for the atmosphere.

I have started harvesting kilos, and I mean kilos, of beans every couple of days. I am planting on a rotating system  and so put four kinds of beans in to add nitrogen to the soil of one garden bed. Ye gods! They are growing in front of my eyes. Summer here means cucumbers, autumn must mean beans.

It's funny, the land where I am growing my vege's used to be a market garden with predominately onions, however, I am really finding it hard to grow them. Maybe they will come on now in the (somewhat) cooler weather. xxNick

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Flea Market Finds - a whole lot of stuff

I've got a variety of stuff to show you this week, but I must be quick as I am running off to The Channon Markets to do a reconoiter.

I found this brilliant fabric a couple of months ago at the oppy. It is a whole bolt of  printed cotton terry towelling. I wouldn't put it in the 60's or 70's the yellow is too maybe the 80's? I wasn't sure what to do with it, but last night I had a fabulous idea for an item to put in my stall next week. So fingers crossed.

Next, a lovely Clarice Cliff serving platter shaped like a pear. (I have put a teaspoon next to it so you can work out it's size.) Unfortunately it has a bit of crackling, but I was thinking of Clarice all the week before I happened upon it, so it was meant to be.

It doesn't look handpainted, more like a decal, but the subject is unique. Bracken ferns, wheat and grasses. Maybe what you would find on the roadside and the hedgerows? I am currently researching this, because although it is stamped Clarice Cliff, it doesn't look like any Clarice Cliff item I have ever seen. Obviously done by the factory after she married. If anyone has any info, could they contact me?

Another piece of crockery, this time from Japan. I don't usually buy Japanese crockery, but this was way gorgeous. So 70's and bright and groovy.

Last but not least. I have always been obsessed with icing and biscuit utensils. I found this biscuit making kit recently and although I will use it, but I love the book with its pictures of shapes and the the metal discs the best. I think it makes the kind of delicate biscuits that ladies nibble at afternoon teas whilst dressed in chiffon and wearing red lipstick.

Pop over to Sophies and see what other treasures that have been found this week. xxNick


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