Tuesday, August 30, 2011

walking through the ages

After Kraftbomb on Sunday, i legged it across town to the Auckland Vintage Textile Fair.
A first timer, i had no idea what to expect. What i got was a delightful wander back through the ages. Even some of the stall holders had taken the opportunity to dress in their favourite vintage get ups. I love that. Vintage patterns, hats, books, trims and haberdashery, clothes of all sorts and era's, shoes, linen, and of course pile upon pile of vintage fabric. From pricey collectors items to folks thinning out their fabric stash.

These vintage feedsacks brought back memories of my time living the Americas. Sigh. I miss those yard sales Charlottesville...then i got to thinking about the Perpignan fleamarkets and Emmaus (a church run secondhand bonanza of places throughout rural France) on the road back home up to the Pyrenean mountains where i lived. That place pretty much furnished our home and the gite to boot. Not to mention clothed us. Sigh again. I have to settle for Auckland Salvation Army stores and the odd garage sales these days. It just ain't the same. High class problem i know. I am not cleaning up after an earthquake nor hurricane like many friends at Twin Oaks Community in Central Virginia where i used to live. My thoughts to y'all.
I miss my people in those places more than the thrift stores.A modest smattering of vintage fabrics found their way home with me. And quite a number of these delightful vintage scrap decals. I am crafting at every opportunity at the moment (one could say at a frantic pace - as you'll see in the days to come) and my mind is already whirling to where i might use these. Some i have put aside for Jed's friend Sofia and her lovely mama, Stacey. Others are up on my inspiration board. And there are plenty more to play with. What a treat.

If you haven't already, pop on over to Joanne's Creative Mama Series post and leave a comment for a chance to win her giveaway...a beautiful fair trade organic cotton 'hello sailor' shirt from her new Imp'ish collection...click HERE.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Creative Mama Series - Joanne

I am honoured to be hosting a score of super talented crafty mamas sharing their wisdom, crafting and snapshots of their beautiful lives. This is ‘The Creative Mama series’. Join me every weekend for a wander in these ladies crafty shoes. Guest posts, stunning photography, inspiration, interviews, poetry and giveaways...all coming up. Magic aside it can be hard work this mama business, put your feet up a minute and join us. Hopefully there is always something here to give your day a lift. I'm a mother and ethical designer. With online retail I wholesale to nearly 30 stores in New Zealand and Australia and I am passionate about the organics industry. I live on Waiheke Island, a ferry ride out from Auckland’s Downtown. I'm 40 years old. My name is Joanne Broederlow.

Back in 2005 I struggled to find natural clothing for me and my girls. My children and I having eczema helped motivate me to start my own business. Organic Island Baby launched in 2005 importing organic cotton children’s clothing brands for online sales, local fairs and markets, then I operated a retail store under the same name in Devonport 2007 till beginning of 2010. I closed the store to focus on wholesale rather than retail and to focus on designing my own range of organic cotton jersey clothes, "Imp`ish", from my hectic Waiheke Island home. All my clothes are made Fairly in India.I have always been interested in nutrition and believed in organics, and was seeking healthy options, to help heal myself and my family. After many hours of research i found the extremely toxic processes involved in the apparel industry meant that food alone couldn’t help the sensitive nature of young children and allergic skin. When I first finished school I did a fashion design course in Sydney and now I’m finally using those tools and feel the passion for ethical fashion!
My business has taught me about what parents and gift buyers want from basic organic cotton children's clothes, having 6 children of my own has also helped me understand about kids being hard on clothes and wanting value for money and quality - long wearing clothes that we hope will last for more than one child. I am newly separated which has complicated the juggle of working from home and the obligations of being a mother and roles within that calling. My ex-partner has moved to Sydney which makes life more challenging for my kids but no complaints from me (or him) about all the 30 -40 boxes scattered around my house full of stock...home is imp`ish central!

I make sure i have some time to myself...walks on the beach, go to the movies at local community cinema, have friends over for knitting group night (which last week i started to crochet a hat) & catch up with friends for a cuppa tea! My creative space is my desk in the corner of my bedroom with mac, printer favourite magazines, stacks of my children’s artwork for inspiration...and the paper work yet to be filed.

My children are involved in the daily running of the business. They know I pack orders, check my emails and need time to draw sometimes. I get them to help and they have input on my designs. For example my 10 year old daughter drew the original design for my ‘hello sailor’ print on this season grey marl tee. I plan on this business becoming a part of my children's life and for more than just for me, because I have 5 creative daughters I hope this could become a part of their future.
I have a dream to have a school near, or in, the factory where my clothes are manufactured in India, and other social projects for India and locally between buyer and supplier to bridge the connections.

Check out Joanne's Imp'ish blog HERE. Please do...she writes about the farmers of the organic cotton she uses for her Imp'ish line, their families and life in the village. Beautiful photos too. So good to see the whole process of a fair trade garment from seed to being worn. Every time Jed wears any of his Imp'ish gear i think of Joanne, her family and all the way back the chain to the folks in India who grew the cotton and manufactured Jo's designs, and their friendship. That is pretty cool. I can't say that about any other of our clothes.

JOANNE'S GIVEAWAY: Jo is offering one Hello Sailor Imp'ish organic cotton top. Your choice of size (0-7). To enter simply leave a comment below. All comments go into the magic hat and the winner drawn by the smallest member of the household at the end of the week. Good luck!

Organic Island Baby website is HERE. Go, love, buy! -or just covet :)

Friday, August 26, 2011

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Inspired by Amanda Soule: pop on over to see her moment (bear in mind that we in NZ are a day ahead) HERE. Be sure to have a wander through the comments folks leave for her with links to their magical moments.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

i felt

There are body parts strewn across my work table. Gnomes and dolls in the making.

I am loving these simple cuddly gnomes. Made with super soft vintage wool or cotton flannel and stuffed with unspun wool. Perfect first doll for baby.

I have finally stocked my GrowMama Felt store. It's been sitting there un-used, since 2009. Yup. But, i did it...i am part of the felt community now. And it feels good. Felt is New Zealand's online treasure trove of handmade goodness. Check out the GrowMama Felt store HERE.

Re-organising the GrowMama Etsy store is next. I am not sure what my block is to really getting my etsy store going. Like many creatives, I have a pesky little voice that pipes up when i am not feeling at my best that says untrue things like 'you are not good enough'. Right now the sound of singing, laughing and the drone of the sewing machine is drowning it out. That'll do, until i exorcise it, train the voice to be a little more supportive, or i would settle for it telling jokes.
Kraftbomb craft market this Sunday people. If you are in Auckland, it's a nice scene.
Grey Lynn Community Hall. 11-2.

AND AND AND...Don't forget to go visit Jannelle of Heart Felt in the latest Creative Mama Series post HERE. Loveliness offered for her giveaway...go see!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Creative Mama Series - Jannelle

I am honoured to be hosting a score of super talented crafty mamas sharing their wisdom, crafting and snapshots of their beautiful lives. This is ‘The Creative Mama series’. Join me every weekend for a wander in these ladies crafty shoes. Guest posts, stunning photography, inspiration, interviews, poetry and giveaways...all coming up. Magic aside it can be hard work this mama business, put your feet up a minute and join us. Hopefully there is always something here to give your day a lift.

My name is Jannelle and I'm a mama to Charlie (5) Sadie (3) and Oscar(20 months). We live in Greytown which is a small rural town with a wonderful diverse community. My husband Ian is a chef at a local restaurant and I work part time as a librarian at our local library.

Ian and I like to encourage the children in our love of nature,gardening, cooking, books, music, art and craft. Ian collects vinyl records and I have a love for vintage clothing and old picture books so we haunt the local thrift stores finding little treasures. I like to use recycled fabrics and clothing as much as possible in my work so the thrift stores are an important factor in my work.

I've always had the need to be creative and with the arrival of my
children my creativity turned to photography and sewing.

I took up photography 4 years ago and love capturing little moments of innocence and wonder that children possess. I'm self taught and still learning but it helps when I have great models who put up with me.Since then I've had photographs published in a variety of books and magazines from around the world.

When Sadie was born in 2007 I developed the need to sew. My mother sewed all our clothes for my sister and I when we were children and I started to regret that I didn't take up the opportunity to learn from her when I could. But my good friend supplied me with a sewing machine and another showed me a simple dress pattern and I haven't looked back.

Life is busy in our household but I try to do at least one creative thing a day. Some days it might just be a few shots with my camera ~other days it may be cutting out a pattern or even just matching some fabrics together. With Ian at work most nights I do get a lot of evening time to myself and I like nothing more than having some hand sewing in my lap.

My creative space is everywhere. I recently just moved my sewing machine into the garage, but I hand sew wherever I happen to be in the house. It could be outside while watching the children play in the garden, sometimes in front of the fire or even in bed while watching a movie. I always have it handy to pick up when the opportunity arises.

The children like to join in when they can. Charlie and Sadie both love to have a go at hand sewing and show interest in drawing, painting and photography. Recently they made 'stuffies'. They drew a picture onto a piece of A4 sized piece of fabric with crayons. Sadie drew a turtle and Charlie a dinosaur. We set the crayon with a hot iron (use a piece of greaseproof paper in between) and then cut around the drawing leaving a decent sized seam. They then whipped stitched around the shape to make a pocket. They then stuffed the pocket with stuffing and closed it up to make their own original stuffed animal. They both took their stuffie to bed that night, something special, unique and handmade. I've now taken that craft to the library with me where we'll be doing it with a group of children for a school holiday project.

My tips for being at creative at home:
~ turn off the TV
~ get inspired through books, magazines, blogs, and the world around you
~ have supplies at hand so when you have the will you have the materials
~ involve the kids, it might slow your process down but it can also be
~ make it your own, put your own little twist to your creation
~ just do it! The washing will get folded, the dishes will get

JANNELLE'S GIVEAWAY...a Hiawatha headband! Leave a comment for Jannelle below to be in to win one of Jannelle's beautiful Hiawatha headbands. All comments go into the magic hat and the winner chosen by the smallest member of the household at the end of the week.

Jannelle's lovely blog, Heart Felt can be found HERE.

To shop or be tempted in Jannelle's Felt shop, click HERE. Etsy shop: HERE.

Friday, August 19, 2011

shades of green

Green is the favourite colour around here at the moment. There are green cats, green buds apparent on the winter branches of the deciduous trees, new green knitted cardigan for the small one (I get asked if i knit all the time when Jed or i wear our various handknitted clothes, the answer is a wistful no...i am just good at finding them brand new and beautiful at thrift stores, lucky us), attempts at a natural green plant based dye, and a green doll in the making. Even the thrift shop finds were in shades of green...
I have a new pair of favourite trew: a green pair of wide leg corduroy trousers found in a most unlikely thrift store. I was whirling out the door when they leapt out at me. $4 of warm cosy green. I've felt a bit de-railed by life lately plus feeling an economical pinch in the pocket and sometimes it is the small things that cheer one up. Call me simple but the green corduroy trousers did it for me this week. Especially topped by the THIS shirt...made from a vintage curtain by me a year ago and still a favourite.

Ta daaaa....TEN metres of brand new vintage stretch cotton drill...in green and light brown. All ready for the spring range of GrowMama designs. It's getting harder and harder to source reasonably priced quality vintage fabrics and new fabric is so expensive...i was so happy to find these. With a few metres of lace and a cotton vintage print for accents, perfect.
The wee man all in green. Examining the sleet and hail that fell last week...to our great excitement. We don't usually get such wintry delights in our seaside locale.

The sun glinting off the latest acquisitions of vintage buttons, all in shades of ...green.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

extracurricular growMama

Here it is folks...a little ray of light in the depths of winter (snow? here? craziness!) arrived in my letterbox. Issue 6 of Extracurricular magazine is hot off the press.
And i get a mention! Well, a few. Front cover, inside cover, twice on page 1, page three (can i just say now how excited i am?), and interview and photographs by the lovely Rosa Mae Rutherford pages 6-13 (did i mention excited?).

I wrote an article for this issue too...Waste not, want not. On upcycling, a subject close to my heart.

I should say that there is much more to the magazine than just me though...click HERE for a sneak peek into more extracurricular goodness. I always look forward to EC coming out and this one has a tinyhappy/Melissa Wastney tutorial for a foraging bag and a recipe for mulled wine. And Darren Song's stitch art on paper...sheer beauty there.

And click HERE, to go to Extracurricular's blog and find a stockist near you.

These are not just any magazines. Small yet sassy, these babies are keepers...collect 'em all and display them proudly.

Scoot on over HERE to check out Bronwyn's Creative Mama Series post...best invention ever for babies and toddlers i reckon.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Creative Mama Series - Bronwyn

I am honoured to be hosting a score of super talented crafty mamas sharing their wisdom, crafting and snapshots of their beautiful lives. This is ‘The Creative Mama series’. Join me every weekend for a wander in these ladies crafty shoes. Guest posts, stunning photography, inspiration, interviews, poetry and giveaways...all coming up. Magic aside it can be hard work this mama business, put your feet up a minute and join us. Hopefully there is always something here to give your day a lift.
Introducing Bronwyn of Moai...

I’m a mama to Keagan (4) and Keira (2). My husband Brendan, is currently writing his thesis, for his final year of Architecture whilst working full-time. We live in Laingholm, Auckland. I’m originally from South Africa, but after meeting my husband in the UK we decided to settle in his home country. Shortly after arriving we started our family.

When Keagan was born we lived in a lovely little one-bedroom unit in Three Kings. It was there that I did my first bit of sewing as an adult. I made a quilt for Keagan. I remember sewing frantically, impatient to see the finished product. He still uses his quilt most nights. That’s where my quilt-sewing-mania started. I made quilts for everyone I could think of. At first, I sewed each stitch by hand until I learnt how much faster it was to machine quilt. The most recent quilt was a photo quilt for my brother and his fiancĂ©e as a wedding gift. I would sew in the evening while watching television, in the days we had a television and had time to watch it.

When I heard my friend was pregnant with her second child I wanted to make her something very special. After hearing she had discovered her moses basket covered in mould, I started making my first folding bassinet. This lead to Bubbalux Bassinets. I threw myself into making bassinets, sitting on the living room floor surrounded by bolts, drills and alun keys; or standing in the courtyard electric sander in hand. I don’t know how the neighbours felt about the noise but luckily nobody ever said anything. I would work 10 hours at a time once a week when Keagan visited his grandparents. Timber is such an amazing medium to work with. I used Rimu and spent hours sanding it to perfection. There is something so incredibly beautiful about finished timber. With my limited knowledge I believe that Rimu should be even-grained without markings but it was these imperfections that in my eyes gave the timber life; a bit like people I suppose, our imperfections make us who we are and give us character and substance.

It was then that we moved to our current house in Laingholm in NZ. Keagan was two-years-old. I had all the intentions in the world of continuing with Bubbalux but when Keira came into this world I set aside my creating for a time, and when I picked it up again it was to make ‘taggies’. I had such fun! Each ‘taggie’ was different with assorted applique designs I created in my head in the early hours of the morning. I learnt how to use a sewing machine through making ‘taggies’. I then went on to complete a variety of other sewing projects. I sewed dresses and a duck for Keira, who loves ducks, and capes, a Tigger costume and a robot for Keagan; and I recently made a dolls folding bassinet and a high chair for Keiras 2nd birthday.

At times I sew when the kids are awake with Keagan sitting at my feet pressing the peddle of the sewing machine while I attempt, with marginal success, to sew in a straight line. Keira entertains herself on the floor nearby by sticking pins into unsuspecting stuffed victims. Sometimes the kids and I craft together. We have made ‘pet rock’ animals, paper villages, robots, masks and other child-focused projects but mostly I think they are still a little young.

The drive behind my crafting is to contribute in some way financially though fundamentally my crafting is a creative outlet and fills a need. My father was an amazing carpenter and my mother dedicated her time to nurturing our creativity. My mother-in-law and my mum purchased a sewing machine for me as a gift for my birthday five years ago. My father-in- law has over time, stocked our workshop with tools.

When Keira was nine-months-old I dropped Keagan at kindy and on the way back Keira fell asleep.
I had just moved her from a capsule to a car seat so it was no longer a matter of lifting her out of
the car and putting the capsule into her cot, which I now know is very dangerous. I was sitting in the car while she slept thinking about all the things I could be doing upstairs when I had an idea that has gradually developed into the MOAI. Each MOAI is meticulously sewn by my mother-in-law Patricia Scott-Woods, who has 50 years sewing experience. MOAI offers an alternative to leaving your child sleeping in their car seat. It is a car seat/trolley cover, a carrier, a hammock and a sling/frontpack. Born of necessity, this is incidentally where it got its name,
Necessity…the mother of all invention. When Keagan was little he spent most of his life in a front pack. When he fell asleep I could not put him down or he would wake. The MOAI transforms from a front pack to a hammock allowing an unsettled child gentle transition, and gives mum precious time to be, to do, to create. If I had a MOAI then, I think of how different my life would have been.

Children are amazing gifts, we cherish every moment with them but as mamas I believe it so
important to set aside time to for ourselves, something so many mamas forget. My crafting space has
changed from the floor of a one-bedroom unit to the kitchen bench; or ‘my little hole’ which is what I affectionately call my study – a tiny, dark room in the heart of the house created by my husband by dividing one of our larger bedrooms into two. It doesn’t matter where I’m working; I am doing something I love and that’s what is important at the end of the day. Which brings me to the million dollar question...

How do I juggle being a mama and working from home?

I’d love to be able to say that I’m one of those super organised mamas who have managed to balance work with family life but I muddle through the best I can. I don’t believe there is any other option. My children need me. I want to be with them as they start this long journey of self-discovery. Working from home gives me that opportunity. When the kids are tucked in bed at night dreaming of the day gone by, that is when my work day begins. I often get to bed past midnight. It helps that Brendan works long hours too so we motivate and support one another. It helps too that I am passionate about what I’m doing. Each day as I watch my daughter
rocking gently in her MOAI, hear her version of ‘MOEEEE’ as she yawns and rubs her eyes, or carry her sound asleep from the car I feel empowered to continue doing what I’m doing as hard as it is at times. I have chosen this path as a ‘working mum’ and as long as I am strong enough to continue two lives symbiotically the juggling act will continue.

Click HERE to check out the MOAI on Bronwyn's website.

Visit Bronwyn's MOAI facebook page HERE.

BRONWYN'S GIVEAWAY... is 20% off your very own MOAI! For all GrowMama readers who leave a comment on Bronwyn's Creative Mama Series post! Or ten percent off a custom made one. (Offer not valid for the Kiwiana Moai). If you leave a comment below i will email you with a special code. This offer is open until midnight Saturday NZ time.

The Moai would have made my life so much easier when my son was small and if we are blessed with another baby i will be first in line to buy one i can tell you. Brilliant invention Bronwyn!

Thursday, August 11, 2011


It was a glorious sunny day but Jed didn't want to go to the beach or for a bikeride. He wanted to do the dyeing project we've been talking about for weeks. And so!

For a small person that loves crafting, colour, mixing and muslin play cloths...this was an afternoon of heaven.

Very proud craftsperson at the end of a busy afternoon.

My heart was glad to see these colours against the blessing of a blue sky that we had today, instead of the forecasted rain...hoorah!

Aucklander's: I will be at the Titirangi Mum's Craft market on Saturday and a few of you were asking where to buy GrowMama gear in a retail outlet-check out Lets Go Retro on Swanson Rd. Etsy, felt and trademe will all be re-stocked next week. (I sincerely hope.)

Last chance to enter Angela's giveaway and read her Creative Mama piece...click HERE.

May your week be all you need it to be!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

it's winter

It's winter. We're past the solstice, so we're on the downslide...but, it rains alot, it's chilly, i'm tired, there's not much in the garden...it's winter. Ugh. I know we have it easy as far as winters go but I find myself coveting the summery blog posts of other hemisphered blogtypes. Then i just want to sew. It's my therapy.

It's not just that it's winter really. I am usually a graceful winter person. It has been a strange time.
Not so good things happening. Friends house burning, neighbours car crashing in next to our house, Friend having a stroke, babies lost and grieved for. I could keep listing 'em but i won't.
Somehow the hard stuff takes up more space than the magic all around us. The last few days all of it has been weighing heavy on me. It somehow muscled the happiness out of the frame. I realised i was letting it.
Well, I am categorically NOT letting it. I can feel sad, and still appreciate the beauty of the freesia's my boys picked me on their walk. I can rage at injustice and still smile at Jed's face as he registers that Mumford and Sons (so totally Jed style that band) actually swear in their song 'little lion man'. Now THAT was an interesting conversation!

And when that sun does shine, we are out there, in it. Doing a spot of paleontology,rock climbing, drinking tea, dreaming of our garden, crafting or just sitting with faces upturned to it's warmth and appreciating it oh so very much. Sometimes it is the little things that lift me up so i can see clearly again.

Loving this too: three of my favourite bands coming together for the Railroad Revivalist Tour.

You gotta listen to THIS!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Creative Mama Series - Angela

I am honoured to be hosting a score of super talented crafty mamas sharing their wisdom, crafting and snapshots of their beautiful lives. This is ‘The Creative Mama series’. Join me every weekend for a wander in these ladies crafty shoes. Guest posts, stunning photography, inspiration, interviews, poetry and giveaways...all coming up. Magic aside it can be hard work this mama business, put your feet up a minute and join us. Hopefully there is always something here to give your day a lift.

Introducing Angela of Mermaid's Purse

I was one of those kids who made clothes, home furnishings and food for my dolls and loved plasticine and clay. From mum I learned to sew and picked up knitting from a nana and my grandfather. Both of my nana's were an inspiration to me as a child and even more so now I'm all grown up - I have some idea of the level of skill and work involved in many of the things they used to make. I also come from a line of hoarders and I'm lucky to enjoy some of their beautiful creations every day. I had a few years when I worked a lot and travelled a little and didn't do much making at all. But then I decided to study, and so quit my jobs and went to art school, where I ended up weaving with plastics and computer cables, then spent much of the final year making strange crochet sculptures! It was a bit of a rediscovery for me and I just went, "Oh yeah, actually I just want to crochet and sew things all the time". Luckily for me, if you have a good reason you can do anything at art school.
Fast forward through jobs and heaps of creative projects and exhibitions, I am now a full time mother of two, Luna (3&1/2) and Blake (15 months) and I try to do as much crafting as possible when the kids are sleeping or in those rare moments when they're off with their dad. Home for me is Waterview, Auckland and I live with my husband Rob, who is working and studying, our children, and our lovely old neurotic cat Austin.

What’s your creative outlet? Why do you craft? When do you make time to craft?

Most of the time I swing between crochet and sewing. I love free-form crochet, partly because I enjoy making and experimenting, and the process is really important to me, and partly because I'm really bad at sticking to patterns! But I'm working on that as it makes reproducing a favourite hit and miss, and I'd love to make some of the garments that I see in pattern books.
I'm fortunate to have my nana's sewing machine and overlocker, and since Luna was born I've been sewing again, spending time getting to know my machine, my materials and teaching myself to sew better. I do a lot of hand sewing, but I love the speed and scale you can achieve with a good machine. I love detail and the things I enjoy making tend to take hours of work, and I make my all own patterns. My sea horse softies for example, involved several prototypes and experiments with scale and detailing, until I reached a point where I was happy with the pattern and went on to make some to sell (then I just had to dare to cut into some of my vintage fabric stash!). I think going to art school unleashed a part of me that really just needs to make things, no matter how impractical, last year I was delighted to made some work for the crochet coral reef project that visited the Auckland Museum, so beautiful, and it spoke about the damage we are doing to our oceans, as well as the complex growth of reef animals. On the other hand I love the functional side of crafting, and like to revisit some of those everyday projects and ideas, things like really warm wool blankets, pajama cases, accessories and upcycled or altered garments. I enjoy drinking my coffee from a beautiful old cup, and I also enjoy wearing a skirt made from a dress my mum made when she was young, they're imbued with warmth and love already.

I really work to prioritise my crafting/working time, with two littlees it is a challenge! Usually my most productive time is in the evening when the kids are asleep, occasionally daytime naps synchronise and I can have half an hour or so to work. Housework is low down on my list of 'must dos' and if I have free time I don't like to be cleaning! Mothering my children is very intense, however, making and working nurtures and energises me, so it's a survival thing too. Some weeks I can work a lot, others it's about the kids and our activities, and I might just do some baking and gardening to keep the creating part of me going.

Your creative space – what does it look like?

My creative space is a room I share with my husband Rob, it's fairly big, but it's so full! I have a stunning view out over Waterview reserve, the best thing is I can work and then close the door without having to put everything away again. I have a lovely collection of boxes and tins, containing thread and some of my nana Shirley's projects (for me to finish) and I also collect vintage Strawberry Shortcake dolls and My Little Ponies, so I have some of my favourites out to admire. I tend to get a bit obsessed with things and my room reflects that I think!
I like to work in an orderly way, but I work on many projects at a time, and neat and tidy tends to mean I'm not working much though... so it's a full space. The window with the beautiful view gives me headspace.

Do you do any crafting with your kids? Can you suggest a project that your small ones have enjoyed?

Luna sometimes does some 'sewing' with me, sometimes sitting on my lap while I'm at my machine, I have to be in a patient mood for this though. I make pincushions, so I have an excess of pretty pearly pins, which she enjoys pinning into things beside me. I'm gradually including her in stages of my work that she can handle, she has a long attentions span and enjoys detailed work, organising my 'special things' and I love to see what she does, where and how she 'sews' (pins!) I think just being able to (carefully and beside me) rummage through my sewing notions and small projects is really good for Luna, we spend time with all my buttons, she arranges and plays with them, imagines them as a family, it's very tactile and good for all that careful motor skill development. Blake likes the sounds of my machine and usually just gets into some boxes or random less-precious things in the work room at the moment. Currently I'm working on an alphabet blanket and big cushion with Luna, she arranges and pins the felt letters, it's fun and I look forward to finally completing it with her!

Can you give us some tips on how you juggle being a mama and finding time to be creative?

I'm really not very good at the whole juggling thing! I do my best to engage the kids in the daily chores, tidying, cleaning cooking etc. so any 'free' time is not spent catching up on all those things. Having a designated work room really helps, so that was a priority when we were looking for a new flat. Having a very supportive husband is what really makes the difference for me too, we both work on our own projects after hours when the kids are asleep - I really enjoy evenings when we are both working along side each other on our projects. With a cup of tea and maybe some chocolate..
I sometimes read other blogs by craftsy mamas, and they seem SO organised! I'm trying to streamline a little and help the kids have places for their toys and projects. Things seem to be in a state of flux with kids - they grow out of clothes so fast, learn to walk, run, sing, cut veges for dinner, yet days can fly by 'just' reading or sorting out shells. It seems like the key for us is less is more, we try and 'do' less together and just 'be' together, not making too many commitments every week.


Oh for my give away I have a cupcake pin cushion kit! It's complete and good for someone who has done some sewing (I have more photos and all the instructions are available on my blog too) or for a child who might have someone to help with trickier bits!

To be in to win a lovely cupcake pin cushion kit, or to leave stories of your own creative mama journey, leave a comment. All entries go into the magic hat and the winner will be drawn by the youngest member of the household at the end of the week.

Angela can be found in her blog, Mermaids Purse.

For a wander through Angela's lovely work, or to buy Mermaid's Purse loveliness, Click HERE.

Good luck for the Giveaway and thanks for stopping by!

Friday, August 5, 2011

vintage classics

Fun vintage finds like these make me feel rich. Pottering through one of our favourite wee church thrift shops we unearthed a box of brightly coloured vintage train set pieces buried under a pile of empty boxes.

Complete with this wonderful little wooden village. 'Was $5 okay for us?' they asked.

"YES!", we said, grinning wildly at each other.

Love those wee buildings.

And, flying through the op shop today, looking for white shirts and sheeting to do a big dyeing project, i found this draughts set. Wooden draught pieces on a vintage board. $1 well spent.

Jed beat me tonight. Beaten by a four year old, hmm, i figure i have a few options 1) study draughts at mastery level, 2) get more sleep or, 3) get used to beign beaten. Perhaps all three?

Creative Mama Series Giveaway winners annoucement: Evi was the winner of Melissa's giveaway and Libby Jones the winner of Georgia Leigh's giveaway the week before.

Last chance to enter Sam's giveaway for that gorgeous yellow pocket baby...click HERE to go to her Creative Mama Series post.

Monday, August 1, 2011

making birthday magic

Sunday was a magical day here. Jed turned four. Friends, family, games, fine food, fun and a fair bit of mayhem. Even the sun shone. Loveliness.
The birthday crown in the making. For a boy whose favourite colour is green.

A few days before his birthday we spent the whole morning crafting. We couldn't even wait to get out of our pj's. I love that he can do his own thing alongside me. I wanted to create an enchanted forest sort of a stage for his birthday present to be set up on. In the meantime, the rainbow gnomes moved in and had a lovely time.

A friend gave me a bunch of green felt for his birthday crown and with so much beautiful green left over we got busy. Jed wanted to use the sewing machine so late one night i cut out piles of leaves and vines and we ran a bunch of them together with sewing machine. Sort of like THIS project we did out of paper. Except these we get to keep. Jed's room has turned into a magical forest. For his wee party we hung them down from the ceiling. Very cool.

The rainbow gnomes left a trail of clues for the kids to follow. The treasure was hidden in a treasure chest in the forest near our home. They came back triumphant carrying the chest between them. The gnomes had left little party bags inside the chest (cleverly made from the pages of an old children's gardening book) with little gifts inside.

Chocolate mud cake (vegan and egg free) decorated with a pixie/fairy/gobin sweet market.

One of Jed's friends is dangerously allergic to nuts, seeds, eggs and kiwifruit which cut out all of my usual party foods. I am so glad, i would never have found the chocolate mud cake recipe...which was so very good! It will be made again.

This wee man was clear about what he wanted...from the friends he wanted to invite and the food. I just helped manifest the vision. What alot of fun it was too. Making magic. The eve of his birthday he kept saying, 'i just want it to be tomorrow, now' and the night of his birthday?

'Mama, i don't want to leave my birthday behind'. Yep, a good day was had by all.

If you haven't already, take a peek at Sam's Creative mama post...her lovely giveaway is open until friday night NZ time. Click HERE.