Tuesday, 13 December 2011

RevoluzZza foxy love

This is one pattern from Revoluzzza that I just had to have as soon as I saw it. (there is an english version available). So very, very cute. I have had so many requests to make these from friends and family. My first I made in a hurry for a late swap. Made using an Op-shopped blanket, buttons and lace and beautiful Euro Fanalisto velvet fabric from Crafty Mamas.

I wanted to keep her for myself.

Unfortunately she has a few imperfections. Sewing little arms and things with thick wovens is a nightmare so her thumbs were never turned out. And I forgot to sew in the legs so had to do it out of order and out of kilter. And her left leg wants to turn backwards. And her ear felt is the wrong way round and, and, and, sigh. but I still think she is cute enough to be forgiven her faults.

Of course a second fox was soon to follow. This time I used some vintage cottons I picked up here and there.

Most of the previous faults were addressed. Still cute as a button, but my heart belongs to the first foxy lady, so despite the challenges of the heavy wool, I'll be making another nearly identical with my lovely fanalisto
velvet again. And perhaps a clever Mr Fox to join her? And the dozen gift requests.
Santa's elf is going to be kept very, very busy.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Art, Craft, Creativity

On a recent Op-shopping adventure I found an amazing old book on weaving. First printed 1944. Inside was was a preface  entitled " What Art Means to Me " by C Valentine Kirby. There's lots of chatter around the online crafty world about the value of craft and whether it qualifies as art or not. When I read this, it encapsulated some of my feelings about it and I want to share it with you.
I think I will have to copy this (nicely) and frame it for my sewing room wall.

I know I have blogged on this before, but my most favourite quote on creation is an excerpt from an address at a Women's conference by Dieter F Uchtdorf. Again, it expresses how I feel about creativity and how it is important in our lives, no matter how mundane or whether it has little commercial value. I know I am often discouraged when things don't turn out the way I envision them but as the saying goes, you are not a failure until you give up. I can accept my imperfection but I won't stop striving for perfection.

 "What you create doesn’t have to be perfect..... Don’t let fear of failure discourage you. Don’t let the voice of critics paralyze you—whether that voice comes from the outside or the inside."

The Work of Creation

The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul. No matter our talents, education, backgrounds, or abilities, we each have an inherent wish to create something that did not exist before.
Everyone can create. You don’t need money, position, or influence in order to create something of substance or beauty.
Creation brings deep satisfaction and fulfillment. We develop ourselves and others when we take unorganized matter into our hands and mold it into something of beauty—and I am not talking about the process of cleaning the rooms of your teenage children.
You might say, “I’m not the creative type. When I sing, I’m always half a tone above or below the note. I cannot draw a line without a ruler. And the only practical use for my homemade bread is as a paperweight or as a doorstop.”
If that is how you feel, think again, and remember that you are spirit daughters of the most creative Being in the universe. Isn’t it remarkable to think that your very spirits are fashioned by an endlessly creative and eternally compassionate God? Think about it—your spirit body is a masterpiece, created with a beauty, function, and capacity beyond imagination.
But to what end were we created? We were created with the express purpose and potential of experiencing a fulness of joy.4 Our birthright—and the purpose of our great voyage on this earth—is to seek and experience eternal happiness. One of the ways we find this is by creating things.
If you are a mother, you participate with God in His work of creation—not only by providing physical bodies for your children but also by teaching and nurturing them. If you are not a mother now, the creative talents you develop will prepare you for that day, in this life or the next.
You may think you don’t have talents, but that is a false assumption, for we all have talents and gifts, every one of us.5 The bounds of creativity extend far beyond the limits of a canvas or a sheet of paper and do not require a brush, a pen, or the keys of a piano. Creation means bringing into existence something that did not exist before—colorful gardens, harmonious homes, family memories, flowing laughter.
What you create doesn’t have to be perfect. So what if the eggs are greasy or the toast is burned? Don’t let fear of failure discourage you. Don’t let the voice of critics paralyze you—whether that voice comes from the outside or the inside.
If you still feel incapable of creating, start small. Try to see how many smiles you can create, write a letter of appreciation, learn a new skill, identify a space and beautify it.
Now go and create something that makes you or someone else smile! You've just made the world a better place.

Friday, 9 December 2011

2D Christmas wall trees

These are a great idea for those with limited space and bauble shattering critters around (both 4-legged and 2-legged varieties). Vic at Punky and Me made a lovely starched fabric circle tree on her wall.

Then the other nightI was amused to find  2D tree at a Church Christmas party. I liked the green tinsel outline and 3D baubles hanging from the points. My photo in no way does it justice, it was just a sneaky pic while we were singing carols via my phone.

These were all double sided scrap card circles blu-tacked onto the wall and each of them had a different  little challenge on the reverse. At one point in the evening, we all went forward and chose a circle for ourselves. I thought it was a lovely idea and it would make a great advent calendar idea too.

Our present swap/steal was a lot of fun and I managed to steal back what I brought. Intentionally.that is. I brought along a gag gift of that funny kitschy looking sausage dog for a laugh.

And they sure did laugh when the package was opened! LOL (But secretly I was miffed no-one appreciated him so I had to steal him back and let the recipient pick themselves a "real" gift. I would rather this than a bar of soap or some shortbread.)

I should have taken pics of the supper too. Passionfruit cream filled mini pavlova with blueberries or strawberries, cheesecake, chocolate cake with whole raspberries swirled through, chewy chunks of brownie topped with swirls of chocolate ganache, all home made, (I think all the major essential dessert food groups were present) plus platters of juicy Summer fruits and tasty dips with crudites. Delicious and scrum-diddly-ump-tious! (channelling Flanders - it was a church function after-all).

Off to another Church Christmas picnic with the kids this evening. Should be lots of fun. It usually ends with a water pistol (evolving to buckets) fight involving the littlest to the oldest Grandpas.

(And I dropped into a garage sale by the local scouts earlier today. I'll share that with you in the next day or so but it involves vintage luggage, pretty china, an original oil painting and very little $$).

Thursday, 8 December 2011

How does my garden grow? December update..

Or, "Honey I think we planted too many zukes!" Now I know where the term "Gadzukes" came from.
3-4 meals a week no worries from zucchinis at the moment but it looks like we are about to be inundated! Better step up the consumption! That globe zucchini doubled overnight and is nearly the size of a cannonball!
Apparently I am not alone. A quick google of "gadzukes" found a hilarious and inspiring blog with a post entitled "Gadzukes! 10 ways to use up your zucchini bounty".
I only wish the tomatoes and cucumber production would match. I hope I don't regret that wish as the very first tomatoes on the deck are reddening on the vine.

We have eaten a few cucumbers thus far and they are sweet crisp and juicy. Just not enough of them. Especially when you put one on the counter with dire threats to every child that asks, to leave it alone, only to have the 4yo wander past a few minutes later going crunch, crunch, crunch!
Here's the big garden bed. It sure has grown. Comparison pics from late October HERE. This is the bed you can see in the corner behind the big hole (which is still there BTW).
 The choko has taken hold.
There are baby squash in pots on the deck and amongst the zukes in the photo above.
But the lettuce was decimated by a ninja chicken attack but we get the benefit, one way or another... mwahahaha.
What's for dinner tonight? Steamed zucchini spaghetti and bolognaise sauce. Yum.

Deck the Halls...

...but no boughs of holly.
Just to tie in with Vic's Meme, My Place and Yours; The Christmas Party! at Punky and me, here are some of my favourite Christmas decorations and things around my house.
First, the Christmas tree. Along with some school made decos, knitted cuties I bought at a fete and a heavenly host of angels near the top. To the right are the stockings we made and "decorated" twenty years ago and have added to each year a child is born. They are rather homely and the purist in me used to wince inside although I know the kids had fun with their fabric paints and glue and sequins etc. Now I am older I appreciate their homeliness much more.

My vintage church Nativity takes pride of place. I adore this and was so glad I was lucky enough to have DH buy them at auction for me. I had already dropped out of the auction as I sadly thought it had reached our predetermined limit. But DH, bless him, had seen my absolute excitement when I had discovered then in an old supermarket carton under newspapers and carried on with the bidding. (Lol! it seems an angel fell from Heaven amongst them. (thanks kids). That day we also won some lovely old church pews that now grace our verandah and the coat rack that our stockings are hanging from.

Lastly are my recent acquisitions from the last few years. Some very cute Villeroy and Boch figurines. I know, I know here in Australia it's not about the snow, and yet, you know we all grew up with it. singing the songs of snow and seeing the movies pictures and cards of celebrations on the other half of the world so as much as I vocally denounce snow and singing snowy Christmas songs in Australia, it's a part of my whole Christmas psyche and it is a celebration that encompasses the whole world.

I DO love angels and these with the little children are particularly sweet.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Opportunity Adventures

Ok, yet another post on my Op shop finds. I keep wanting to gloat  share what I find but  then I think you must get sick of seeing it all. But anyway it's been a while and I have promised to blog regularly. This is an easy way to pop up some content.

Personally I like to see what other people treasure and although I often like the same things, sometimes I'm just thinking "Really!?"

Minimal blurb and lots of pics sounds good this time night.

Tea towels. Can you have too many? Both practical AND a crafty resource. Check out my vintage linen pinterest if you are wondering how. 

Hankies. Again, can you have too many? In a once tissue-less world at least one on your person at all times was a necessity! And again, I'm not planning on wiping my nose with these, but checkout my link above for pretty ways to use these. Funny how I never really saw these and suddenly I am finding them in handfuls! a very special lace hanky in the middle and a couple with tiny embroidery. $1 the lot. Sort of..
A few pretty china plates, mostly saucers, were too tempting. Some Cloclough and Royal Albert amongst others. And a lovely rose pitcher. Funny, it had been marked twice with two different prices, naturally the cheapest won out.

In the picture above you can see a cute little puppy. I'm not meaning to collect doggy china but it seems to be attaching itself to me. I'm sure I will end up finding new homes for them but meanwhile they make me smile.
Here it is again with the second one. Only $1 and .50c respectively. The second one I have been eyeing for a week or two now. I was put off by the paint fault line on the head, but it is pretty sweet.
I went shopping with my eldest DS and DD and Beccy liked this painting by a local artist. She is planning a white room with primary and bright colour accents.  It was unpriced and another smaller oil in a pretty gilt frame cost me $4 so I was pretty pleased when he suggested $10. The vintage fringed bedspread will also go into the room.
I'm really not sure on the oil painting. I really have no idea when it comes to buying art. The picture is pretty enough, the oils are laid quite thickly, particularly in the centre. The frame is a beauty too. I spotted the tissue box holder and liked the aging patina of the cream plastic. And I rifled through a jar for some odd knitting needles to have a try at making some needle bracelets. Should be a bit of fun.

I picked up a pretty little English porcelain thingymabob with a screw off lid. I thought someone I know might like it.  I don't usually pay that much for something like that but it seemed perfect. And a couple of pretty floral double sized cotton sheets were added to my collection.
This set of bookends is identical to a green set I already have. I wasn't going to get them as the glaze isn't the best, but then thought maybe I can "do" something with them ;). So back I went today to Second Chances to get them and managed to fill a basket, total cost, $7 including these.

I found another Christmas story book to add to our library. The Christmas book advent is a great idea. The cinderella board book has some great retro pics, nicely done. (There's another floral sheet there too, just $1)

When the attendant picked up the Beatrix Potter compendium she said that she would have to charge a good price for that one.I winced inside but I really shouldn't have. $1.50. (ROFLMAO) All the stories and beautiful illustrations.

The items above all came from 3 local stores, one being my favourite, Second Chances. I just can't recommend them highly enough. You just have to laugh. Once they have tallied up my main stuff and discounted various items in the process, they get to the little things and just say , oh you can have that. Here is what they gave me for nothing. And then punched not one, but two holes on my loyalty card to finish it off so I get $5 for nothing next time to spend!
A little creamer and sugar bowl. I have someone in mind for these.
Some old? Tupperware sundae? spoon/forks? in pretty pastels. (who knows what these are?)

And assortment of little critters for a girl obsessed with any thing little and "so cute". They'll probaby end up in a stocking.
 A handful of pretty painted Christmas pinecones for the mantel.
A scarf which has lovely jade accents. Already on it's way to someone!

And speaking of little and cute, this is a tiny pair of vintage Jack and Jill figures. If you squint while walking past you won't even notice Jill's right hand is missing. I popped them on a saucer for a size reference.

And lastly, I spotted a Mickey Mouse knife in a box of cutlery so went diving for the set. I didn't realise that the fork and spoon probably did all belong together with the knife until I took the pic. They are such a different size and weight, but the pic is the same. Unfortunately I could only find 2 of what appears to be Scottish Terrier knives with their feedbowls. I thought they were very unusual. Any ideas on what they are? For chopping dog food? LOL!

If you have any thoughts on any of these items I'd love to hear them! And may your days be filled with wonderful Opportunities!