Monday, August 27, 2007


Moo!!!!!!!!!! Originally uploaded by redmag

My dual purpose business card/tags arrived from Moo today!! They look fantastic and will be put to work straight away as I sold another cat today (Schrodinger's black cat is just about to jet off to the other side of the world - hopefully he'll bring joy to his new family)

The whole process was very quick and easy - so now I'm addicted. I'm going to have to invent reasons for ordering more cards - Gift tags for Xmas is the only thing I can think of so far - although 100 gift tags is far more than I'll need. If you have any other ideas I'd love to hear them.

I'm finding it hard to get motivated to craft today. The weather is lovely and warm (albeit alarmingly so for a winter's day in Canberra). I'm meant to be making some dinosaurs for my etsy shop. My son vomited on his proto-type so I now have the chance to experiment with washing the finished product and will hopefully be able to include care instructions on this new batch. Maybe the care instructions could go on a Moo minicard? That's got to be another great reason to order more if ever I heard one!

I was also going to continue working on the cardigan/jacket I'm knitting for my son. I'm using the new 6.5 stitches pattern. It's a really pretty design - I especially love the fabric panel which allows for a flashy show of colour to offset the dark grey colour wool I'm using. I'm still on the hunt for the fabric I'm going to use. I think a trip out to "Addicted to Fabric" in Phillip is in order for this project. I had been avoiding going in case I went nuts and spent too much money, but for a special project like this one I'm sure I can go in with a definite idea of what i need and show restraint. I'll post a picture when its done.

It's time to think about dinner. We've been away for the last few days and both the cupboard and fridge are bear so I'm off to the shops. I have a hankering for something summery because of the weather but don't want to be trapped into buying out of season produce. I was thinking of some kind of pasta with ricotta, peas and basil. Might stop now and ask Google what to have for dinner.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Dirac the dinosaur

Dirac the dino
Originally uploaded by redmag

The green fabric was Friday's op shopping find. Initially I suffered from my usual paralysis - not knowing what to do with the fabric. Having a limited amount amount of it didn't help as I felt an overwhelming pressure to make something really wonderful which just compounded the problem. Anyway, on the walk home from the shops it whispered, "I'd like to be a dinosaur" and voila!

Despite not having a face yet, I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out. I had to do a couple of road tests with my son (I really should get a wider test group) - the first one was a complete failure. He wailed the moment he laid eyes on it. The second attempt went much better. He hugged it close so as to suck on its head, which is a big compliment from him. I think I might make a few more for my shop. So all-in-all a very productive day.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Thrifty finds

One of the bonuses of being on maternity leave is being able to do a bit of op shopping (thrift shopping for North Americans).

I do it at least a few times a week and have my favourite shops. Here are my picks for anyone in Canberra who also shares my bower-bird-like passion for collecting other people's discarded treasures:

  • The Dickson St Vinnies in Cape Street Dickson - it's clean and well organised. It doesn't really stock furniture but it does have clothing, books, manchester and homewares. There seems to be a reasonable turn over of stock and the staff are friendly. For those of you who work during the week its also open til 3pm on Saturday.
  • The Brotherhood in Quenbeyan. It's huge and again doesn't stock furniture but I always find a bag full of great clothes/fabric or manchester here. They also have a decent range of books most weeks.

Now that I have a car with back doors I can get my son in and out of the car without us both having to perform gymnastics. My plan is to go further afield and hopefully discover a few more good ones - I'll keep you posted. I think I might try the shops in Mitchell next.

The photo is of a few of today's purchases. My favourite is the pull along duck. It opens up - presumably so that you can hide things in it, and while my son is a long way off being able to pull it along behind him I just had to buy it.

I'm currently obsessed with designing a couple of toys on wheels. At this stage they will both be softies on wheels. One will be bird of some kind, most likely a chicken, and a yatch. I ordered some wooden wheels on-line over the weekend and now just need to duck out and get some staples for my staple gun, a block of wood for the base and some big nails to act as axles and I should be able to knock up a proto-type in the next couple of days.

I can't wait - I'm not sure why I have such a burning desire to put a soft toy on wheels but I do.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A How To - Murals for those of us who don't like prep work

A few weeks ago Apartment Therapy featured a wonderful "how to" on painting a tree mural.
However it required you hand draw the outline and then do LOADS of taping before you started painting.

If you're anything like me - you hate painting prep work. I also lack confidence when it comes to drawing, particularly when drawing big things on very exposed areas like your walls. Like me you probably bookmarked the thread planning to paint the mural once you finally got round to attending those drawing classes you've been planning to attend for 10 years. Fortunately for me I had already painted my mural weeks earlier and it didn't require drawing talent or lots of taping (pictured above).

So here's a quick tour of my no-tape version of painting tree murals for those of us who lack confidence and or patience.

  1. Find an image you like. Either draw it yourself on a piece of paper or find one from another source.
  2. Project it onto the wall. There are a range of options for doing this - if you image is digital and you have access to a data projector connect it straight to your computer and project the image onto the wall. If not, that's OK as there are plenty of low-tech options. I'd recommend transferring your image onto acetate or a transparent film - I did this using a photocopier - and projecting it onto to the wall with an overhead projector.
  3. Trace you image in pencil. Use pencil so that you can rub it out at the end. However to speed things up and avoid having to erase lots of lines at the end I tended to trace a little smaller than the image so that the lines would be completed covered when i painted.
  4. Colour in within the lines. My only tip here is that I used a paint brush that was roughly the same width as most of the branches on my tree so that I could colour most of them in with one fluid brush stroke which is a lot quicker than doing the edges and then colouring them in.

All in all the whole thing was completed over about 4 hours spread over two days - I was 9 and a half months pregnant at the time and so it might take others even less time (I was a bit slow at getting up and down the step ladder for the high bits)

I was pretty happy with the way it turned out. The birds are made from fabric and paper and are blue tacked to the wall so they can be moved and removed. The tree is on a wall in a nursery so my plan is to have it reflect the seasons to add a bit of colour and excitement to the room. It's winter in Australia at the moment so the tree is bear for the time being, however come:

  • September 1 - I plan to cover it with pink blossoms in a celebration of spring,
  • December 1 - I'll be madly adding big green leaves to mark Summer, and
  • March 1 - I'll be blanketing it in red, yellow and brown leaves to welcome autumn.

I'll keep you posted - spring is just around the corner.

(Edited - Two years have passed since I first painted the tree and we've seen the seasons come and check out the transformations for inspiration for your tree - Summer, Spring and Autumn)