a pattern for joy

Boy has life been hectic! But I am here, taking a quiet little minute, to spend some time with my poor neglected blog. What could be better than a peppy tea, a storm rumbling outside and some sick beats playing (loudly) (through the headphones). Life can’t get much better I would say.

I thought I’d tell you about how I’ve been making my latest craft obsession: laser-cut timber, embroidered jewellery. As a little challenge to myself, I’ve decided that I’m going to structure this post like a crochet pattern. Risky. (I chose to use a simple doily type pattern.)

1st row: Foundation chain. Close in loop.

You might remember my post about the Chook Shed Artisans. Without this beautiful concept, group of people & general incredible addition to my life, I would never have had the urge to develop further the laser-cut timber jewellery I had made last christmas as gifts (I realised just then I’ve never shared that on this blog. What a disgrace). The artisans at the Chook Shed are fearless. They make what they like and haters bedamned. Inspired by them, I thought about things I like. Among a bazillion other things, I like quilting, embroidery & laser cutting.

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This is a minute sample of the laser cutting stuff I did for everyone’s christmas pressies last year. It was all nautical/ ocean life themed, mainly because I personally love fish and sea life in general. (Selfish?)

2nd row: Double crochet around.

One night, when I was lost in the internet, I stumbled upon some vintage quilt block designs. What formed in my brain next was the first layer (or round if you will) of the pattern for these beauties. Embroider! Quilt blocks! Embroider quilt blocks? Embroider quilt blocks! On timber? EMBROIDER QUILT BLOCKS ON TIMBER!

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These are some of the quilt block designs I found. As you can imagine, when I saw these I knew it was love at first sight. Sings * If anything could ever feel this real forever, if anything could ever be this good again? * !

3rd row: Shell stitch in every third double crochet stitch.

In Illustrator, I placed a hole at each corner/ apex of these designs, then I sent it all off to the laser cutter. I use the ever-lovely Online Laser Cutting, in case you were wondering. So great! Highly recommend these friendly people : )

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IMG_6735 These are the fresh raw timber bits, ready for embroidering! Look how exciting it already is. I get to peel hundreds of stickers off – a supremely satisfying task.

4th row: Picot stitch at the top of every shell stitch.

Now the time-consuming part. Using a tiny crochet hook (because I’m a crochet tragic and I can’t be away from a hook for very long), I weave coloured cotton thread through the strategically-placed holes in the timber. It’s a mental challenge sometimes to keep both the front and the back looking neat. Craft is the best isn’t it?! Mental challenges everywhere! Pure joy.

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The results! I love these so much. I’m so happy with how they mix three of my favourite things into a cohesive item. 

5th row: Finish off (aka SATISFACTION)

The best part of all of this is that I get to share these little beauts with other people. Correct! I don’t just make all of these to keep my already giant jewellery collection stocked and fat. You can buy these from me at the Chook Shed Artisan market. At the moment, this is the exclusive place to buy these. So if you want one, your choice is to come and visit the Chook Shed Artisans or go without. Harsh, but so. There are brooches, rings, and soon there will be necklaces too : )

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My little spot in the Chook Shed. In this shot, you can also see some of the other laser-cut timber jewellery I’ve designed. Mostly it’s all nautical / sea life themed again. Luckily for everyone, sea life is not only interesting – it can also be cute.

and even better

The Chook Shed Artisans, in honour of the christmas season, are having a

Bush Christmas market on the 24th of November from 10am til 2pm

You can come and buy handmade gifts for all your besties, and there will be free cake and tea. You seriously can’t go wrong! Because I love this endeavour so much, I made a little promo vid about it. If you want to have a little taste of what these blessed markets are like, just watch this vid : )

Happy crafting lovers xx

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hygge

Another birthday, another handmade gift! For this one, I really wanted to collaborate with my boyfy because he has skills in the shed and logic areas. So I hatched up this little beauty of a plan.

The recipient, Lucy, was having a party based around the Dutch concept of ‘hygge’ which is all about being cosy, happy, comfy and around your favourite people. Her adorable little picnic was set to have lots of blankets and delicious food and gorgeous people (which it did). So I thought of the most hygge (pr. ‘hoog’) thing I could think of – candle lit dinners.

Out the back of our house we have some old beams of timber which I thought would be just perfect for chopping up and fashioning into candle holders for ‘hygge’-ness. So that’s what we did.

I instructed my man on how I imagined the end result might look and he went about creating this using all the fancy tools he has in the shed.

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I will not lie and say that I did most of the work, because Deano did most of the work. I held things when needed and made suggestions here and there. Most of the time though it was a matter of him asking me how I want it to look; and when I told him, I got a look that said “weirdo”; but then he would patiently and expertly make it happen! The result was a finely crafted set of beautiful candle holders that were made extremely well – with some great foundation ideas and suggestions to set it all off
: )

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This is the finished set after I deftly used the electric sander to smooth them all over (Dean helped). Then we decided to give them a nice coat of protective decking oil.

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Look at the difference in colour! The oil really brought out the grain and made them look much warmer. I have no idea what timber they are though! They were used for some kind of fencing or posts so I’d imagine some kind of hard wood? Anyway, if you know please do tell!

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Here they are in the gift box ready to impart on Lucy, the lucky recipient – with added colourful pom poms to suit the girl herself! They were very well received and I was so happy to make something with my gentleman friend! I personally think we make a superb team.

My secret is that I loved these so much that I kept the trial one where we made all the mistakes first, and it’s sitting right next to me as I type this. It has a candle lit in it and it’s making my dining room so hyggelige.

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grey skies = happiness

Today was Chook Shed Artisan market day again and it’s just such a warm and beautiful experience every time, but today was special. It was the same as it always is, but the weather was colder, there was home made chicken soup, and a bunch of my absolute favourite people came to visit and look around. To add delight to all this, I got to sit in a cosy little corner and craft with my friends Jen and Lucy. Today was so lovely that I stayed much longer than usual – the tables were being packed away around me and I was sitting there with a giant grin on my silly face.

Everything about these markets makes me happy. Today’s visit made me feel really grateful for the people that made the markets a real thing. And then it made me really grateful to be a part of it. And THEN it made me really grateful to actually know and be friends with everyone in the shed. All this gratitude made me want to make a thank you present for everybody! Everybody!!

But sadly, my lack of free time prevents this. Instead I’ll just tell you about a present I made for my friend Jen’s birthday recently. Jen is constantly inspiring me (just like the Chook Shed markets) to create beautiful things out of great quality materials – just to make life better.

So I decided to do a watercolour painting of a bee, because Jen really loves bees. I loved working on a watercolour painting – seeing the difference a few splodges can make was (call me nerdy) quite thrilling. Anyway, here’s a few shots of the progress and final product.

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I had a photo of a bee nearby for reference, which really helped with the colours involved and I made sure to be really slow and take my time. It was so relaxing and lovely. No wonder nannas love doing watercolour paintings – and the logical progression of this observation is: no wonder I love doing watercolour paintings…
How exciting to have yet another creative pursuit to spend hours perfecting! Haha! Anyway, Jen really liked this little guy and said that he’s probably going to hang around in the kitchen in her new flat : )

Until next time crafty explorers, make someone a present! It feels really good and you and the recipient will both be happier!

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soft spot

As per usual, Whirlwind-Life is my middle name. This, being the last weekend of the month, is no exception.

CWA group, or craft club, met at my house yesterday and we learnt a bit about embroidery! It was my month to host, and usually the host knows a fair bit about the craft they’re showing the other craft club members, but this time was different for me. I had done some very shallow dabbling in embroidery throughout my life, but it’s always been guessing! So I decided to treat this month’s hosting like an assignment. A couple of weeks leading up to the meet, I bought the Embroidery Stitch Bible from the Book Depository and practiced a number of stitches until I thought I’d become fairly good at them. Instead of picking a craft I already knew and letting everyone else do the learning, I did some learning as well. And it was so great! Yay for crafty betterment!

I put some of the simplest and cutest stitches together in a pattern and put this with some other embroidery paraphernalia into some little kits for the craft club! How exciting! I love a good kit.

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This is the pattern – a little scene of a cute birdy sitting in the grass with some stars in the sky. The kit had the pattern drawn on a small square of calico, needle, thread, an embroidery hoop and some photocopied pages from the Embroidery Stitch Bible on how to do each of the stitches in the pattern. And here are some happy, clever faces concentrating on small pieces of fabric.

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Just look at all that delicious food on the table and multiple cups of tea. And the embroidery was delicious too! We all did so well! Look at all the gorgeous little results!

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So proud! And also, so very inspired. While I was learning the basics of embroidery, I decided an upcoming engagement present was a perfect opportunity to create something useful and heartfelt while practicing! This beautiful couple are among the classiest people I know, so I felt they deserved a traditional gift – a set of hand made and hand embroidered afternoon tea napkins. I was also inspired by an extremely thoughtful and serious gift given to me by the lovely Pip – a book on The Art of Napkin Folding.

Here’s a pic of the napkins after I’d finished the embroidery but before I’d put them together.

IMG_5143I sewed two pieces of fabric together to hide the back of the embroidered initials and flowers and put fusible interfacing in between them. I thought the fusible interfacing would provide some stiffness to the napkins so that they could be folded stably into many different arrangements. The finished napkins look like this.

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IMG_5152I really enjoyed expanding my crafty arsenal, and doing it with others along for the ride was just a bonus.

On another note, I did go along to the Chook Shed Artisan markets again today. But I’ll leave telling you about that til next time – that’s not a blatant content saver so that I don’t have to think about a post for next week! I just have to prepare the content a bit more than usual this time… MYSTERY

Until then, have a great week and I’ll see your craft-loving eyes on this page next week (or the week after).
: ) x

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overload

Last week was such a busy and ridiculous weekend that blogging became a forgotten thing. This weekend was also busy and ridiculous – I’m beginning to see a trend which I’m not sure I like! Even though it’s totally delightful seeing all my darling friends and family, I just need more hours in the day to spend some time doing things for myself. How do people do more than me and stay completely sane!?

Anyway, what I neglected to show you last weekend was my second visit to the Chook Shed Artisan markets. Just like last time, it was the most delightful day. Here are some happy snaps so you can see how delightful!

IMG_4926Beautiful local produce and gorgeous posies picked from all around the Chook Shed! One of these came home with me and made my kitchen a very pretty place for the whole week : )

IMG_4932Chats and products! It’s such a rich experience chatting to all the customers and sellers. Everybody has a story that’s totally unique and not a single person is there to criticise. They’re all there to be friendly and get inspired and support local artisans. So so amazingly incredibly inspiring!!!!!
Also, check out that super adorable hand painted over night bag in the background. If it’s still there next month it’s totally mine…

IMG_4931Necklace with pom poms! Necklace with pom poms! So cute another lady was picking it up just as I was swooping in! And that hand painted silk scarf is so stunning!

IMG_4937Look at this beautiful garden seating area. If you come next time, you can take your free baked treats and tea/ coffee out to this area and chat with the amazing stall holders or customers. Like I said, all of these people are super interesting – Libby was right when she said to me last time: “the people who come here aren’t wimps”.

I also neglected to show you what I did in the monthly CWA group meeting! This month, the lovely Caitlin showed us how to make our own lip balm from scratch! What? Did you know you could do that? I didn’t. AND the home made stuff is way better than lip smackers that’s for sure. It even smells amazeballs.

IMG_4918Here we see the “lip balm base” – which is a bunch of lovely natural oils and butters (shea, coconut, etc) all in together – being melted so that we can add colour.

IMG_4915Colour added! A very pretty dark, rich pink. Once this was all mixed in, we let it cool down so we could add the fragrance – on offer were Lemon Meringue and this intensely delicious smelling strawberry scent. This was strawberry.

IMG_4916After putting the mix into a little zip lock bag, we piped it into balm pots and those little rotator-base push-up stick cases. There’s probably a proper name for those, but I am not a person who knows it. Here’s what we produced!

IMG_4920The yellow ones are lemon meringue scent, the pink ones are strawberry and the light tan coloured ones are kind of a natural scent. We tried to make them vanilla scent by adding vanilla extract but it didn’t quite work, I think because the vanilla extract is more for adding taste rather than scent.

We got to take home a selection of all three, and I’ve tried each one. My favourite is the light-tan natural one because the scent isn’t distracting, as weird as that sounds. It just feels nicer without much of a scent. The other scents are so delicious though and when I’m feeling particularly girly, they are ready to roll!

I have lots of other crafty things to show you, but lets pace ourselves shall we? There’s always next week : ) Before I go though, I wanted to show you a pic I snapped at my bus stop the other morning. It is just starting to get cool again (YIPPEEE!!) and this particular morning had quite the chill in the air. I turned around and saw this amazing burst of fiery blossoms exploding from the garden bed. It warmed me right up and made me smile. I hope it does the same for you! See you next week x

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it’s a sunny day

This weekend, I had two engagement parties to attend! So much love everywhere! It was a lovely couple of days with lovely couples. Sarah & Mikey and Rachel & Jed, you are gorgeous! Thank you for letting me share your celebrations. Just a word of warning though – if you happen to be reading this and if you happen to have not opened your presents yet, go do that before continuing to read this post!

As usual, handmade! to the rescue! Both couples got the same present, but obviously a little bit different. I was talking to my friend Lucy during the week and she said “My friends are having an engagement party on the weekend and I’m going to make them a picnic blanket as a present.” And I said “I am stealing that idea.”

So as a result, this is what happened! My delightful Mum came over for a super-fun sewing day, where we had scones, tea and made picnic blankets. We used that plasticy tablecloth fabric for a waterproof backing, put some thick wadding in the middle for comfort, and used some pretty fabric for the top to enhance happiness.

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We quilted the blankets for comfort, but this was a slow and arduous process because of the thick wadding. However! This process was made a bit less arduous by Mum’s handy sewing machine. She’s had that machine since I was a little girl and it’s still an absolute brute!

Here’s the finished blanket for Mikey and Sarah.

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The front!

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The waterproof back!

Did you notice the initials in the bottom right hand corner? I love personalised hand made gifts! Here’s what Rachel and Jed’s blanket looked like in the end.

image (24)In situ on the grass. Guys it worked well!

image (26)The backing again.

And here’s a close up of the initials block that Mum sewed up. I forgot to take a close up of Sarah & Mikey’s but here is Rach & Jed’s – they were pretty much the same.

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Mum had the great idea to bind the blankets in a very sturdy cotton ribbon. Came up a treat! It took the whole day to make these two blankets, but usually people don’t have two engagement parties in one weekend so it would only take a half-day normally! And with thinner wadding it would be a synch. So simple and fun!

Handmade always wins! And the weekend coming up is going to be full of handmade market delightfulness.
On Friday night, the BrisStyle Indie Twilight Markets will be taking place in King George Square in Brisbane City from 5-9pm. In particular, go and check out a few of my favourites – Danidot Designs, Orange Sherbet , and Edward & Lilly.
And on Sunday, the Chook Shed Artisans will be back in the shed with some beautiful handmade goods. Hopefully, if you come along you can say hi to me while you’re there. This market is so sweet – it’s definitely worth a look! And I’ll be there! Come say hi!

See you next week for more handmade fun : )

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hopefully

This weekend was meant to be totally insane – full of catching up with friends and participating in the Color Run, doing chores and filling in the rest of the spare time left over with more chores. Alack and alas, this plan did not come to pass. I caught up with friends, and then the Color Run was cancelled. I did hardly any chores (actually only one), and the spare time left over I filled with crochet. Sometimes, it’s good that plans are changed.

I worked on my granny square crochet blanket that I’ve been working on for ages! It’s birth can be seen in the menu to the right of the page, in a post called “crochet bright” under “my ongoing projects”. Boy was it an infant back then! Check it out now!

crochetbright-progress1And it’s not finished yet! I’m adding a wide band of red now, which you can see the start of at the edges. It’s remarkable how something so full of holes can keep you warm, but somehow it does. Keep your eyes peeled on this little web page for more progress shots – probably in the next few months rather than weeks. My goal though is to finish it over this winter. Let’s see how long that goal lasts!

While I was crocheting and doing only one chore, the man of the house was working on the renovation of our laundry. It’s not finished yet but it’s looking really beaut. When it’s finished I’ll show you all his hard work, but today I just wanted to show you this cute little happy snap.

image (23)Isn’t that the sweetest thing.

I also wanted to quickly show you something else I’m working on. When I was in New York at the start of the year, I went to Downtown Yarns and got this self-striping yarn, which I’ve mentioned before. But I haven’t shown you yet! Here’s the scarf it’s becoming.

self striping yarn scarf!

Hands up who wishes they could just craft and make all day instead of being an adult! * My hand is up *

See you all next week sweet hearts x

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