Friday, February 27, 2009

They're zooming in from everywhere!

Wow... I'm ... speechless...

Well, almost :)

Today I got the current Mixtape magazine in the mail. And there, in black, grey, red and white, is the article I wrote, about the economic downturn and the ramifications for crafty types who sell their stuff online. It was written at the start of the crisis, and now we're a number of months in, the immediacy and concern has slacked off a little, but I'm still really proud to have written it and have it in Mixtape. It's called The Fall Heard Around The World, so check it out!

Then I log into Redbubble to find that not only has the photo of Miss Suga been featured in the Melbourne and Victoria group, but that the photo of Miss Glass has won a challenge by the Art House group AND been featured on the front page of the Redbubble site!

Screenshot courtesy of [̲̅ə̲̅٨̲̅٥̲̅٦ Miranda[̲̅ə̲̅٨̲̅٥̲̅٦̲̅]
Wow! I'm really blown away by that. Humbled and honoured. And I think it definatly deserves cake! So I'm off to have some.

Thank you to everyone involved in all three of these awesome events :)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

So you blink and another week goes by

I can't believe it's Thursday already!

Tuesday night I went as a proud new Brown Owl to the first meet of the year at Dante's. Brown Owls, for those of you not in the know, is a crafty meetup organised by the amazing and lovely Pip from Meet Me At Mikes.

It was so lovely to be in a big room packed full of crafty types. In my own circle of friends I don't have a lot of crafty people, so it's lovely to be able to meet many, many others. We met, chatted, had a drink or two and also managed to pack over 100 Re-Stash packs for the bushfire victims. That's being organised by the lovely guys at Handmade Help

I also handed in two of the dolls I've made for the kids in need up there.
These are they at right (poetry! pure poetry :) They look a little weird in the photo, but they're really cute in real life. I was really happy with them.

Today I posted my craft swap for Susan at Isabella Golightly
. The swap was my first, and lots of fun to make! I can't wait for her to get it, and then I can post photos here.

And finally, I found this call out in a newsletter from the Bundoora Homestead
May 14 - May 24 2009
Art in a Teacup

Artists and craftspeople are invited to make and donate an art work inspired by the ritual of tea making and drinking as part of The Cancer Council’s Biggest Morning Tea Fund Raiser. The exhibition includes paintings, drawings, ceramics and the indispensable items necessary for any tea party - tea cosies and tea towels! All works are for sale and the proceeds donated to The Cancer Council Victoria. Please note the afternoon tea party will now be held at Bundoora Homestead at 2.00pm on Saturday 16 May 2009.

I thought that it sounds like fun. So I'm currently knitting a teacup. I love how so often I have about a million ideas in the back of my head that I haven't gotten around to doing and then I'll see a competitionor call out that one of those ideas will fit perfectly into and everything falls into place. When one is so busy, it's much better to have an actual goal to work towards rather than producing heaps of work that just lies around gathering dust. I know that a lot of people make work specifically to sell on etsy or in shops, and that's totally fine, but I'd rather create for specific things.

Having said that, I've just this minute been commissioned! I answered a call out from Arts Hub for 2d work on the heart, so I sat down and created Contradictory, Corresponding (at your right) and sent it in. I've just got an email back to say they want it for their gallery! Thats so ace.

Jude and I have a tradition that when either of us gets a new job (or commission, gig or any other money making adventure) that we go have a cocktail to celebrate. I'm a big fan of cocktails, there's something wonderfully vintage about them. And I'm currently wearing a vintage 50s dress, so I think that just further indicates that it's totally
cocktail time!

Must dash :)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Such a crafty sunday!

What a lovely Sunday it was.

I went to breakfast at a great cafe in Carlton, then went home and decided it was high time I finished a bunch of things off that have been kicking around for a while.

So I first went to my mending pile, fixed two pairs of pants and two shirts.

Then I finished off the DIY doll for my niece (you can see the tutorial here, basically I asked her what kind of doll she'd like and what she'd like it wearing and then I made it)

Then I continued work on my secret swap for fellow DUST (Down Under Street Team for etsy) member Isabella Golightly

Then I continued making the dolls for child victims of the bushfire (Handmade Help, check it out!)

And then I put down the material, scissors and needles and went to tea!

Speaking of the Dust Swap, I received my package from Carmel at Lace and Links and inside, wrapped in gold paper and then lace, was this beautiful necklace. We had previously chatted about what I liked, and I told her I was a big fan of a wide range of eras for jewelery, from Pride and Prejudiced to 40s and 50s. This is what she made me. I love the pearls and clear beads on the necklace itself, and how they're placed a-symmetrically. I also love how the chains and pearls hang from the butterfly.

I'm finishing my swap today, so it'll be posted in the next few days. As soon as it's recieved, I'll post photos of it here. I'm pretty fond of this one!

And in other craft news, I have been featured on the blog Knit Porn (NSFW!!) In the midst of nudity, knitting and needles is a photo of Kitty Serendipity, the burlesque girl I knitted. Thank you to Tweed for that!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Tutorial - Design It Yourself Doll Gift for children

When we were little and it was our birthday, our mum would draw up a Breakfast In Bed menu, with everything she could possibly think of, and bring it into our bedroom with a pen. You'd mark off what you wanted for breakfast, and she'd disappear into the kitchen for a bit. Then your chosen breakfast would be presented to you on a tray, with a flower in a vase. It was awesome and we loved it.

This was such a good idea that I stole it for a present for my niece. So I present to you a simple gift idea for kids - DIY (Design It Yourself) Doll gift. I wanted to make a portrait doll of her, but you can make a normal doll instead if you prefer.

You'll need:
Paper, textas and a pen
Blank doll
material, yarn, ribbon ect

Step one: Grab a piece of paper and write out the menu for the doll. You can see mine at the right. But if you can't read it, the options went like this (remember this was for a portrait doll. You can change the options to suit whatever kind of doll you want to make):

(1) My hair colour is:
Light brown
Dark brown

(2) My hair length is:

(3) My eye colour is:
Light Brown
Dark brown

(4) I would like my doll dressed in:

(5) My dolls shoes should be:
Other ___________________

(6) Anything else you would like your doll wearing? _____________________________________________________________

(7) My favourite colour is: _______________________________

(8) Another colour I like is: ______________________

(9) Draw what expression you would like your doll to have (here, draw a circle as the face for the child to fill in)

You can decorate the menu any way you like.

Step two: Give the menu to the child and help them fill it in.

Step three: create a doll based on the answers given. There are any number of free doll patterns on the net for you to find, so I wont give another one here.

Step four: Give the DIY doll to the child. Done!

Below is the doll I made for my niece. She likes pink and green as colours, and specified that she would also like her doll wearing ribbons.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Craft Cuddles II

I read this on and I think it's an excellent idea.

Susan of writes:

A crafter without a stash is a like a child without a toy - it just shouldn't be. As I knit away on toys to give to families I'm not just making something for them, I'm processing my own sadness too.

There will be a lot of crafters out there who have lost the means to craft, who will be starting from scratch. Knitters without needles, sewers without thread, felters without fibre. They'll need their craft more than ever while they cope with the stress of rebuilding their lives.

Most of us crafters have more stash than we really need and duplicates of things we could afford to give. We can help in the way crafters have always helped each other, by passing on the tools of our trade.

Pull together some crafting supplies and make a re-stash kit. Something like:

  • yarn, knitting needles, yarn needle and little scissors
  • yarn, crochet hooks, yarn needle and little scissors
  • fabric, threads, needles, pins, scissors
  • felt, threads, needles, pins, scissors
  • rovings, drop spindle, bobbins
  • canvass or linen, embroidery hoop, threads, needles and little scissors
Free downloadable patterns (no breaking copyright please!), project bags, sewing boxes or needle books would also be helpful. Think primarily about portable and handwork projects for now - we might branch out to bigger things as we progress.

Make sure you clearly label your donation with re-stash a crafter, and the type of craft suitable for your kit (knit, crochet, felting, sewing, toy-making, embroidery etc).

go to the excellent to find places you can drop these kits.

To give you other excellent ideas of what to donate, this comes from Liz Tilley, a survivor of the Canberra bushfires a few years ago:

If you’re thinking of what else to give, put together a first aid kit for the home, or an office kit (containing sticky tape, scissors, notepads, pens, stapler etc), or a toiletry bag (with toothpaste, toothbrush, nail scissors, shampoo, etc), or a make-up kit with make-up, eye make-up remover, lip gloss, mascara etc), or a hair care kit for a child with a brush, hair ties etc, or a sports kit for a child (drink bottle, hat, lunchbox, sunscreen, soccer ball), a kitchen kit (mixing bowls, cookbooks, cooking utensils, a good sharp knife, etc,), a tool kit (hammer, nails, screwdrivers, hacksaw etc) – these will be much appreciated.

you can read her whole incredible article here:

Friday, February 13, 2009

Tutorial - Dreads (snakes, antennas) for dolls

This one is another really dead simple tute (and really, how good are they?) I used it a couple of years ago for the antenna of the robot GIR from Invader Zim, but it's also worked really well for snakes for a Medusa doll and it'd be great for dreads too. This works best with knitted dolls, however it can work with material dolls as well.

You'll need:
darning needle

Step one:Work out how long and what colour/s you want the dreads/snakes/antenna to be. For an antenna you could go gray or black, the snakes are a mix of mainly forest green with alternating light green and a green/yellow patchy yarn. Dreads could be any colour at all you fancy.

Step two: However long you want the dreads/snakes/antenna to be, cut three strands of yarn double the required length. Using the darning needle, thread these three lengths through the head, ensuring that there is an even amount of yarn on each side.

Step three: Divide the yarn into 3 sets of pairs and plait. I find it best to gather one strand from each side of the yarn. The more tightly you plait them, especially at the start, the better they will stand upright.

Step four: When the plait is finished, tie a single knot in the end using all the threads of yarn and snip the ends past the knot to the required length

Step five: For dreads and snakes, repeat steps two to four. A lot. I've found that it's just by experiment that you work out how many you'll need. Hold the head away from you every so often to see how many more you'll need.

For antenna, you'll probably only need one or two.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Craft Cuddles

There are thousands of heartbreaking and heartwarming stories pouring out of the aftermath of the bushfires. The one that really got to me was I was watching the news the other day, and a reporter was telling how they had gone into one of the towns and the first lady they'd come across the day after the fires was a woman standing barefoot and shocked in front of the twisted and burnt ruins of used to be her house.
The reporter went up to her and said "Are you ok?"

"No." she replied

"Is there anything we can do?" asked the reporter

"Can I have a cuddle?" asked the woman

Jebers, it makes me a little teary even jsut typing it out. Needless to say when I heard it, I burst into tears.

It was that point that I decided that I had to do something. Like so many others, the need to help was just overwhelming. So many people are helping in their own ways, and in their own specalities. And I'm making dolls for the children who have lost everything and seen so much horror. They're big dolls, much bigger than I usually make, between 50 and 60cms. I think it's important that the dolsl are big enough to cuddle and give comfort. I had a think about the materials and hair colours and I've stayed away from black, reds, yellows and oranges. I didn't want to cause any more hurt and remind them of the massive fires they've seen. So each will have brown hair and they have greeny or blue coloured dresses. They're vaguely based on the Black Apple dolls I've seen, because I wanted to be able to make as many as possible as fast as possible, so making the bodies and clothes as one was the best solution. you can see two of them at the right. I love the flowered dress girl, I love the little frilly lace around her sleeves and the bottom of her dress (she's not finished yet) I'm doing the hair from my tutorial, it's using massive amounts of wool but it's worth it, to give children something positive, and so I'm off to Lincraft today to buy more brown yarn, the first girl in green used up all my supplies!

Meet Me At Mikes have voluenteered themselves as a collection point for all handmade goods, so as soon as these girls and their sisters are finished, I'll drop them off.

The responce has been incredible from the general public and from the internet community. It makes me proud to be a human being, surrounded by such generosity and caring.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Craft Charity for those in need

For the bushfire funds, The Toy Society ( will be collecting handmade toys over the next couple of weeks to be donated to children impacted by the fires. Many families have nothing but the clothes on their backs. Please email if you're interested.

And for winter, why not sign up for Knit One, Give One?
KoGo is a Melbourne project which organises people to knit scarves and beanies for those in need. Wool, needles and patterns are all provided, all you need to do is knit and give

You can register at

When Craft Attacks...

So I had this dream the other night, that I heard about an artist in another town that was making dolls and leaving them around for people to find (al la The Toy Society) and so I went down there to see them. I found a big pile and took two of my favourites, they were all based on the poppets that have Craftster bulging at the moment, and put them in my car. The dream then turned into a crazy nightmare of Chucky-like dolls putting voodoo curses on me.

This, people, is what happens to you when you stop crafting. The craft rebels.

I've been away from the blog for 2 weeks working first on a film and then a tv show. I've worked 70 hours in the past 6 days (and on the 7th day boy howdy did I rest) but readers of this blog will know that it's partly about how craft is part of every day life. And I wanted to share a couple of things with y'all.

Working on the film, we were dressing a set that was a clothing shop. The head of the art department needed two cushions to fit a piece of furniture that had been built. There was a big length of material and some stuffing. 10 minutes and a bit of stitching later (following the Dead Simple Cushion Cover line of business) and there were two cushions ready for on set! The great thing about movies is that, unlike theatre, the idea behind creating anything is that it has to look right while being totally fake in the construction. Theatre sets, especially for the small theatres I usually work in, have to be real because the audience is slow close they're going to spot fake walls and pretend food. But film, everything has to look perfect from the front, but don't need to be painted/finished or even constructed from the back.

I love the Simpsons quote that covers this, in the episode where Hollywood is filming Radioactive Man in Springfield:
[Nelson, Ralph, and Martin watch a man paint black patches on a white horse]
Martin: Uh, Sir, why don't you just use real cows?
Painter: Cows don't look like cows on film. You gotta use horses.
Ralph: What do you do if you want something that looks like a horse?"
Painter: Ehh, usually we just tape a bunch of cats together.

Now I'm telling you all of this because although the cushion looks right from the front and side, to construct it faster as we had limited time and a lot to do, instead of most of the stitching, I stapled it together. Looks fine, works right but you wouldn't want it as a cushion in your house.

Another thing that was needed was little material roses on canvas, for decoration in the shop.
It was a simple creation, spray the canvas black, then fold a length of material in 3, bunch it into a rough spiral and stitch it together at the base. Then I just slit a small X in the middle of the canvas and threaded the rose through. It's gaffa taped at the back to hold it in. Ta Daa! Done, in less than 5 minutes.

Craft is everywhere and useful for so many things.

In other news, I'm currently applying for a bunch of exhibitions and the like, this year is the year of getting my work Out There. I applied for a Sydney exhibition that I found on Arts Hub, that had no mention of a fee at all (awesome, thought I!) I got accepted, but in the acceptance email it said "the exhibition fee is $125 per work, and we encourage you to enter 2 or more works so our audience can get a feel for your style" So suddenly I had to pay $250 to be a part of an exhibition? That's crazy! Had they said that in the initial call out, there's no WAY I would have applied. At least they told me at the second step and not at the end! So I'm not in that one. But I have much hope for others...

It's not that I object to paying for an exhibition, the CCP Kodak Salon costs $88 to enter, and I've entered that. But I think that a) not telling people up front that it costs, and costs so much, is misleading, and b) that i think an exhibition in Sydney isn't going to do me as much good as one in Melbourne, where I'm already a little known. Plus, $250 for two works is pretty steep.

So anyway, hello! I'm back and crafting like a mad woman. Stay tuned...