Thursday, July 31, 2008

Book Love

On the weekend I went to the 'Freestyle Books' symposium at the State Library of Qld. There is an exhibition on at the moment of their collection of artist's books also. It was lovely being surrounded by gorgeous books, book lovers and book artists. My faves from the exhibition were these ones:
Tom Blue Children's Britannica
So perfectly cut by hand, I think, into an old encyclopedia.

Jonathan Tse Portrait of an Australian
This guy taught me at uni in the printmaking studios and he was making this book at the time - lovely images.

Tracey Bush British butterflies
This one feels so delicate and fleeting with the ephemera butterflies.

And I was also told about Brian Dettmer's books - so intricately cut and precise and lovely! He cuts around the illustrations in old textbooks and encyclopedias to make new, layered images with the book covers. As found on this blog.

I am all inspired to make some more books now, including one for the upcoming BEST book swap. Here's my latest collaged 'Vintage Ladies' book; it's orange 'sister' was posted for a birthday gift.

(Somehow that Lego policeman muscled in on my shots!!)

I'm really enjoying this format using the stab binding and including a little envelope in the cover; I can't wait to make some more! I may even get 'round to popping some up on my etsy shop too!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

An Award, a Competition and some 'Prizes'

Firstly, an award; thank you, Rhonda from My Handbound Books, for the "Arte y pico" blog award! Rhonda makes some gorgeous books and is the organizer of our 'BEST' book swap every few months. It was lovely to receive the award from her.

This is the deal:
1) You have to pick 5 blogs that you consider deserve this award for, creativity, design, interesting material, and also contributing to the blogger community, no matter what language.
2) Each award has to have the name of the author and also a link to his or her blog to be visited by everyone.
3) Each award-winner, has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that has given her or him the award itself.
4) Award-winners and the one who has given the prize should to show the link to the Arte y pico blog, so everyone will know the origin of this award.
5) To show these rules.

So, I'm passing along the award to:
~ Tracy of Hey Harriet for her great shots, interesting posts and funny poems!
~ Bec of The Small Stuff for her creativity and sense of humour
~ Robyn of Hot Fudge for her very funny and interesting posts
~ Sandra of bubble babble for her lovely, lovely images
~ Amanda of Twinkle Star Art for her gorgeous-kid drawings - so clever

Speaking of Twinkle Star Art (nice segue!), head on over to Amanda's blog to check out her little competition. One of her beautiful art images is up for grabs for one (very) lucky helper. Drop by her etsy store to see more of her work - I've got my eye on the little Parisian girls!

Now for my prizes! I went garage-saleing (sailing?!) yesterday and picked up some great prizes for me and my girl. First was this lovely old Singer (why do I need another sewing machine?) - still in working order, in it's beautiful case and accompanied by a big tin of goodies.

Second was a beautiful 'big girl's bed' for my little one when she's a little older. It is an antique cast iron beauty with a small canopy frame at the top. I'm dreaming of pink frills and an absolutely girly bed! It's getting delivered today, but it looks a bit like this one, except with a tall bit at the head for the canopy.

Next stop was a bundle of sewing goodies for me to take home - buttons, little old pinking shears and an old patchworking book.

After the three sales, I was ready to come home (unloading and reloading kids at each garage sale got tiring!), blissfully happy with my 'prizes'! I then had to hurry and make it to the Bristylettes' meeting, ready to share the girls' wonderful new creations, their great company and a nice cup of tea!

Happy Sunday everyone!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Shadow Shot Sunday #6

Wow! I'm up to my 6th S.S.S already! Thanks Tracy - it's lots of fun!
Today there was a big monster in the lounge room testing out his shadow - just begging to be shot (with the camera, that is!).

Head over to Hey Harriet's blog to see the great collages that have been made of all the S.S.S participants' shots.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Blue Ban

I like blue, it's one of my favourite colours but I made a very unwise choice when I bought our blue lounge. It's just too blue. So I've felt compelled to 'ban the blue'! My plan is to cover the lounge in cozy, comfy cushions and throws that are in nice creamy, neutral tones. For quite some time I've had this little patchwork quilt project on the go - my first attempt and so it often got abandoned at various stages when I didn't know what to do next, or just got 'scared'. Anyway, I finished it off last night and it now is covering a little bit of the blue, blue lounge.

Being a thrift-lover, I love the idea of patchwork quilts being made up of unwanted, odd bits of fabrics. This one is made of leftover pieces of fabric that were too small, or too odd to do much with. To help keep the colours the same, I also raided mum's stash of fabrics (thanks mum!). The inside of the quilt is an old fleece baby blanket that had a squeaky sheep on it - I cut off the sheep but kept the squeaker and sewed it in so that my quilt can still squeak!

The corners of the binding stumped me a little but I found a tutorial on the Posie Gets Cozy blog that was very clear with lovely pics and they turned out ok. Hopefully this quilt will be the first of many cozy additions to our (blue) lounge!

Thank you for everyone's Shadow Shot comments - I love S.S.S and seeing everyones shots - thanks for having a peek at mine too :)
Also, thanks to Bec from The Small Stuff for my award! I was chuffed to receive it and to be in such excellent company! thank you!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Shadow Shot Sunday #5

Our front yard is full of these lovely agaves, courtesy of my mother-in-law who cultivates them in big paint cans at her place!
Yesterday, the afternoon sun was creating shadows and interesting shapes in their spiky leaves - perfect for S.S.S!
Thanks Hey Harriet for S.S.S and happy Sunday everyone!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Market Day

I had a lovely morning at the market today; sales were much higher than usual - all bibs and vintage button jewellery, no books sold today. As I've said before, it's such a lovely community atmosphere - my boy and I love going. Today there was a group of singers/dancers from Vanuatu that intrigued my boy and kept him very entertained. My new 'little jellies' got finished and were able to attend the market, they enjoyed themselves too, but weren't ready to say 'goodbye' and go to new homes just yet - ie: none of them sold!

They all developed their little personalities as I sewed them up and gave them names (my favourite bit!). L-R they are Daisy-Bell, Bessie, Stewie and Violetta. Bessie is particularly fun-loving and cheeky! I'll pop them up on my etsy shop shortly.

Friday, July 18, 2008


Remember the very frustrating dress project of mine? Gorgeous 1960's pattern, yummy grey wool fabric, lined and all ... but was too big.
My lovely mum helped me with a number of fittings and pinnings (who was I trying to kid thinking I was a size 34 bust??!) and I've since made the changes. The lining was a pain but the thing that stopped me in my tracks was the zippper ... an invisible zipper!! It being only my third attempt, I was quite scared. Anyway, I did it and invisible zips really aren't that hard!! (I'll have to remember this for next time!!) I now prefer them to normal ones. So it's finished and here's a dodgy pic to prove it!

I added some stitched black and white ribbon around the waist as a little feature and pinned on one of my favourite button brooches. I really love the pattern and have copied down the changes I made so that I can make a no-sleeves version when summer rolls around.

Another little sewing project waiting for me is to finish these babies.

Along with Bel and Em, fellow BrisStylettes from EmBelISH Clips, I am going to the St William's market tomorrow (Dawson Pde, Grovely) and am hoping to get these 'little jellies' finished and named so they can join Daisy-Bell ready for their market debut!

Monday, July 14, 2008


A friend of mine gave me a little 'thank you' gift today - it certainly made going back to work today after holidays much nicer!. She knows me well, look what I got!

This is a fantastic book! It's full of great 60s fashion advertisements with fabulous images and great blurbs. Amazing retro charm!

And this lovely green button. The red/pink ones are for me to make a pair of earrings for her, the green one's for me. The buttons are amazing too - they're made from resin with nuts and sticks in them, then polished smooth. They were purchased on her recent trip to South Australia. I'm looking forward to wearing the green one as a brooch ... or maybe a pendant as it's really smooth and nice to touch.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Shadow Shot Sunday #4

We're building a fence at our place; as soon as the sun peeked out this afternoon, I rushed out and snapped this shot.

Check out some other great shadow shots at Hey Harriet's blog.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Trash 'n' Treasure

Oooh! I just love that combination of words!

A church nearby had a Trash 'n' Treasure sale today and the hall was full to the rafters of wonderful thrifted goodness! It was also full of lovely old ladies who loved having a chat and a bit of a 'cheek-pinch' with my kidlets.

I picked up some lovely old fabrics. They have a delicious feel to them, the blue stripy one is a brushed cotton (I think?) with a lovely sheen on it, the purple flowers may even be bark cloth and the red is a very 70's-feeling velveteen. I also picked up the beautiful embroidered doily. I really have to stop buying fabrics though (I just can't help leaving gorgeous fabrics like this though!) as they are just not fitting into my cupboard; it's already squashed full. I guess I'll just have to get my sewing machine whirring ;)

We also found 'Pluto' and 'Lily' (named by L) sitting quietly in a corner and instantly fell in love with them. We paid the $2 for each of them and cuddled/dragged them home. They are in need of some stuffing 'rearrangement', some clothes and cute painted faces (how am I going to do that??!). I hope they like their new home.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

A shirt for Baa and a new 'Little Jelly'

Firstly, thank you to everyone for their comments on my last post, I'm so glad! :D
Now, here are a few little things I've been working on...
Baa needed a new shirt. Although he gets snuggly cuddles, he needed something extra to keep him warm (and stylish!). And, yes, despite his pretty shirt and sweet face, Baa is a 'he'.

It was fun finding little scraps of fabric, binding and ribbon to make his shirt. It doesn't fit perfectly as he has a very big tummy and I also made the neck a bit small (so it doesn't do up at the back!), but I think he's happy with it!

I've been thinking about the idea of making some larger versions of my 'Little Jellies' which I sell in my etsy store; I thought they might be good for selling at the BrisStyle Christmas Market in December. So, yesterday, this little creature came about, I'm not quite sure if she's a bunny or floppy-eared dog...

She is made using old sheet material predominately. She is quite floppy and I think I need to make a few adjustments to the pattern and limb placement if I were to make more of these. I wasn't overly happy with how she turned out but seeing her again this morning (she was just sweetly waiting on my sewing table with her rosy cheeks and little smile ..), I like her a little more - and L was quick to give her cuddles when he saw her. So, maybe she's ok afterall! But I will need to give her a name rather shortly, any suggestions?

Sunday, July 6, 2008

How to ... a book tutorial

Here is the tutorial on how to make an ‘old book cover’ journal, it's my first tutorial, so I hope it’s ok and easy to follow. Any comments welcome! Also, if anyone actually makes one, I'd love to see it!

1. Find an old book with an interesting cover, a good size (I like small ones!), and one that has damaged, yellowed pages (it will make you feel better about taking it apart!)

2. Carefully cut the page block away from the cover. Decide first whether you’d like to keep the end papers (sometimes old books have gorgeously patterned endpapers … this one didn’t though)

3. To neaten the bare spine, measure and cut some paper to cover it. I used a page from the book, which is the perfect height, but it was very brittle so I had to be careful it didn’t rip. The size of the spine cover should be the height of the book page and about 25mm wider than the spine.

4. To make the pages for your book, measure one of the old book’s pages and take 5mm off the side and top measurements. Decide on the number of pages and the type of paper you want and cut your pages to size. (Don’t make your stack of pages too thick, otherwise it will be very difficult to sew up – mine was 4 – 5 mm thick)

5. Sew up your pages using the Japanese Stab Binding method. There’s a great little explanation of how to do it here. Bundle your pages with heavier paper on the top and bottom and attach with bulldog clips so they don’t move while you’re sewing it up. You can use an awl or a very strong needle to make your holes (and having an old phone book underneath will save the table from lots of little holes!). The thread I used was stranded cotton that I ran through a candle to wax it. Waxed thread works heaps better.

6. Glue your sewn book block to the book cover. Use PVA glue and weigh it down with a heavy book once you’ve attached it to the book cover.

7. If you’d like to, you can create a little pencil holder to run down the spine. I used a thick-ish piece of paper. The dimensions of the paper should be about 50mm wide and as long as it needs to be, mine was 115mm. Fold back about 15mm on each side, glue each surface and then glue to spine. I found it easier to have the pencil in while I was gluing so that it kept the right shape.

7a. Alternatively, you could make a little paper ‘tab’ to glue in the spine, and then attach a map etc. to it (like in my NZ travel journal).

8. Choose some paper to make your ‘ephemera pocket’ out of. Again, I used one of the old book’s pages, but glued it to another stronger piece of paper. (I loved the chapter title at the top of the page, "Seth Washes a Handkerchief" so I had to use it!!)

Cut your paper to size, mine was 100 x 110mm, so that it fits nicely in the cover. Fold under 10 – 15mm on the sides and bottom and snip out the corners. Glue to the cover. Squash this bit under a heavy book too.

9. Your book’s done! You might like to lacquer or wax the outside of the cover to protect it more. Now you’re ready to write your travel journal, jot down your thoughts, or place your book by the phone for those important phone doodles or messages!

Shadow Shot Sunday #3

We have had miserable wintery weather here, still a mild 20 degrees, but not very conducive to shadows! Here's my shot for today. I thought a brolly would be suitable, considering the weather. It's not a great quality image, but I like the composition.

Thought I'd give an online tutorial a go stay tuned, I'm in the process of whipping up a tutorial on how to make the journal from my last post.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Ticking Off

I am a bit of a listmaker / systems girl; I have 'to do' lists and little ideas notebooks strategically placed around the house. So I felt very happy when I was able to tick two things of my list last night - compiling my NZ travel journal and finishing my work table.

We went to NZ in April which was a very big adventure with two small kids but so fun. My travel journal has been piled up in bits and loose pages ever since we got back. I compiled it all last night; made a little envelope for the bits of ephemera, stitched the pages together, attached a map and enclosed them all within the covers of an old book. It didn't actually take that long and left me wondering why on earth I let it sit for so long without doing it!

My boy made one too which I sewed up a little while back. He had a 'diary entry' for each day and chose 2 postcards to be the cover (he chose cows?). He is very pleased with his little book and I love remembering our holiday through his eyes. (not such a good photo, sorry)

Next was my beautiful new work table. It's an old kitchen table that I scavenged from the council kerbside pickup in summer. We saw it driving home from dinner one night, I got so excited and demanded we pull over. I fell in love with the shape of the legs, the chrome tubing on the corners and the blue laminate panels. Unfortunately it wasn't going to fit in our car. Heartbroken we drove the rest of the way home, but when we arrived, and with the kids safely in bed, J said he would go back and get it for me (my hero!). So, armed with a drill and with the back seats down he went and rescued my lovely table.

The top was covered with faux woodgrain contact adhesive which was hiding the original laminate. When I pulled it off I discovered the lovely blue check laminate to be damaged, faded and discoloured. So I used a lovely piece of paper that I got in Thailand many years ago and some fibre paper at each side to top my table. It's lacquered a nice honey colour and you can see the pattern of the laminate underneath which I like. You can see the table top in the first photos.
My old work space, an old school desk, was very tiny and prone to giving splinters! A definite improvement and very conducive to work!

Now... back to my list!