Sunday, 28 December 2014

Mindful Craft

A light bulb moment recently got me mulling over the concept of mindful crafting. So as I reviewed my list of 14 Craft Projects for 2014, it struck me that perhaps this was not quite the best way to go about it. Because I have discovered the art of mindfulness. Being present. Not past wallowing or future worrying, but present existing. Sounded easy enough, but putting it into practice has been akin to breaking a lifelong habit. However, very slowly it is permeating my world. Enjoy the moment. It sounds so glib. Like one of those shallow quotes floating around the twittisphere, or taking up space on Facebook. So much of my creative time has been about the finish line - out of necessity when I ran my own business and studied fashion design. So how to get back to enjoying creativity for what it is. Way back when I was a child, something attracted me to creating and craft. Was it the steady, soothing sound of mum’s Elna sewing our clothes, or the Agee jar filled with 3 generations of buttons to sort and play with on rainy days? Maybe it was the smell of the local fabric shop, and the tactile pleasures of its velvet, silks and satins? Or the visual symphony of prints, patterns and colours splashed over fabrics? It’s about getting back to the simple pleasures of creating. And reconnecting with living in the present moment of creativity. So maybe quantity is not so important as quality. My creative time has gone from a run to more of an amble. The finish line can wait. I am going to enjoy the scenery along the way. And stop to smell the roses – or in my case sort the buttons in the Agee jar!*
*this column is featured in the latest issue of Hazed Magazine - here is the facebook page to find out where Hazed is stocked... The above pics are part of my "Cushy Little Number" tutorial which i had so much fun putting together (with my very talented Stylist and friend Dawn Gatenby)

Monday, 17 November 2014

O for awesome in Oamaru

Having started feeling reasonably ambivilant to going down to Oamaru Heritage Week for the long weekend, I finished our getaway with fresh inspiration and a head somewhat distracted by design possibilities. Work/home/life in general has had more than its fair share of stress lately, so going away seemed like just another thing to get through. However leaving Christchurch gave me the opportunity to leave my worries behind as well. And just enjoy myself - have some much needed family time and fun. Andy was in the demonstration team for Bike Polo (which came about in the late Victorian era by the way) - who would have thought?!?!? Except back then they played on rather unforgiving bikes on grass. Its a bit more technical these days. Anyhow, I have taken some pics of my experience of some of the Victorian themed Heritage week. Interspursed are some rather exciting Steampunk costumes - Oamaru being the Steampunk Capital of NZ - that celebration happens in June each year, so that will definetly be on the cards for a visit!

Sunday, 1 June 2014

14 creative projects for 2014

In an attempt to find more motivation, i have come up with 14 projects that i would love to complete this year. A rather lofty goal, especially as month five is already underway. However, I am getting rather frustrated with my lack of creative output. Admittedly I do have family, work, EQC repairs and life in general going on - but in a recent personality test i completed, it was rather apparent that i thrive when creativity is a big part of my life. Another big theme that emerged was living in the moment - something i am definitely needing to be mindful of - and practice - (which sounds crazy, but is easily forgotten in a fast paced world.) However back to the matter at hand - creativity. I have been journalling about family/work/life balance lately...and mulling over my time management. Where do I invest my energy? Most of it goes to my family - which is pretty reasonable at this stage of life. The rest of my emotional output mostly gets sucked up by my youth work job. Which is ok most of the time, and really hard some of the time. When the ‘some of the time’ hits I have to manage myself more carefully - get more sleep, say no to extra stuff, and somehow find time to recharge. A delicate balance - one that i am still working out how to achieve. And somewhere in all of this lies my creativity. It also became apparent in journalling that creativity is woven into my day to day life - baking, cooking dinner, family walks on the beach, doing crafts with my daughter, playing lego with my son, choosing colour schemes for the house, photography, and coming up with creative ways to teach young people about emotional coping skills, and negotiating the sometimes rocky journey of adolescence. It was also apparent that most of this creativity involves giving to others. Which is a pleasure most of the time - and really hard some of the time. And that is another reason I came up with my list. Having some more tangible goals to work towards that are mainly focussed on doing something creative just for me feels slightly selfish. Which probably comes from being a mum for the past 9 years and getting so used to giving out more than I get back. But I need to keep reminding myself that it’s actually self-care. A phrase that can be quite foreign in the world of parenting young children, and in our somewhat hectic schedules of life and work in general. Furthermore, if creating just for pleasure, and just for me, helps boost my emotional reserves - it will actually result in more capacity to creatively give to those around me. So will 2014 be the year of 14 creative endeavours? That remains to be seen. One thing 2014 is already becoming is a year of being more mindful of where my creative energy is being focussed, and what i am doing (or not doing) to boost my emotional reserves.

Hazed Magazine

have you checked out the treasure hunt that has just started over at Hazel loves design? Its pretty awesome - up to $1500 worth of handmade loveliness, including one of my custom designed ring bearer cushions, for your big day (or someone you know who is getting married)
My up cycled ring bearers cushion featuring beautiful rings
by Julia @ Relique

a photoshoot at my mum's gorgeous villa
So, if you want to take part, follow this link to Hazel Loves Design, and get hunting!

:) J

ps - my tutorial will be featured on the blog too, if you are interested in making one of these lovely cushions!

Monday, 10 March 2014

thinking outside the wardrobe door

Renovating is underway alongside our earthquake repairs, and finally after 10 yrs our bedroom is being redecorated.  My ugly old wardrobe is now lying on our back lawn.  Hubby asked about a headboard, which got me thinking along the upcycling lines.  And that's where the wardrobe doors came into it.  Perfect size for a headboard - old rimu with lots of character.  Now to find some fabric - not just ordinary fabric - it had to deal with oily hubby hair and be washable.  Which led to oil cloth, and Femme de Broncante - OH what a LOVELY place.  Full of french provincial mixed with splashs of shabby inspiring!!!!
So i ended up with the seafoam polkadot oilcloth, and a pot of Annie Sloan old white chalk paint. ( which i will use to paint the dressers i got from trademe too)
The ugly old headboard lying next to my rimu wardrobe door
Firstly to sand down the wardrobe door, pull the nails out and take the backing off. Next I cut up an old foam bed topper to fit in the frame so the oilcloth is nicely padded. This gets glued to the backing board.While that is drying, time to paint the frame.  I started with Dulux D'Urville Island (my fav aqua paint) as the base, then applied old white chalk paint over the top and rubbed it back slightly for effect.  I then applied the Annie Sloan clear wax over the top to finish.
Now for the tricky bit - attaching the oil cloth to the frame with enough give in it to sit nicely over the padding, between the frame and the backing board.  I used a staple gun for this step.
Now to put it all together - I popped the painted 'frame' over the covered foam and squashed it down onto the backing board.  I used small nails and hammered them through from the back to secure the backing board to the frame.  All done!
My upcycled wardrobe door headboard.  Walls are in Resene Moonbeam
All that is left is to find some other bit of wardrobe framing to make legs to attach the headboard to the bed. (I also made some yummy linen curtains with fabric from Femme De Brocante - you can find their delicious shop here:  Will post a pic once the room is all finished...EXCITING!!!!