Friday, January 24, 2014

Fabric Finds - Faux Russian

This week my find is actually my MiL's find that she kindly gifted to me, not that she had much choice really after my reaction to seeing it!

It is approximately 2 metres (2 yards) of vintage printed cotton in black, brown and hot pink. There is no information on the selvage so it is most likely pre 90's or was produced on the cheap.

Awesome vintage cotton with scenes of 18th Century Russia

The Cyrillic script is not quite Russian, I'm sure it's supposed to be but there are strokes missing from some of the characters so we can assume it was not made in Russia. The imagery however, is reasonably authentic and shows scenes of horse and carts/sleighs being driven past onion domed churches and grand gates. The little figures driving the vehicles are dressed in what my MiL tells me are very historically accurate costumes that have a distinctively Eastern look. There is also a glimpse of a Tricorn hat worn by one of the passengers that suggests the scenes are 18th Century.

I have no idea what I'll be doing with this lovely find, any sugesstions?


Saturday, January 18, 2014

New Collection: Midnight Sun

Here's a look at my new fabric collection Midnight Sun
Inspired by the frozen lands of the north and the wonderful cultures and landscapes that exist there.
All these designs and more will be available in my Spoonflower shop soon!


Thursday, January 16, 2014

It's getting hot in here

It's so strange to know that on the other side of the world so many of you are experiencing the worst winter in many decades. We see images on our screens here of firefighters hosing down burning buildings and the water turning to ice almost immediately, snow as deep as houses, the destruction caused by ice storms. And here I am sitting in a darkened room, curtains drawn to shut out the blazing sun and 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) temperature that it brings.
It is hard to do anything in this heat, thank goodness for DVD's (for the kids) and Pinterest (for me)!

I'm working on a new fabric collection Midnight Sun right now, just waiting for the printed swatches to arrive.
My mind has been in the far north of the world for the past few months, places like Sweden, Norway, Finland, Karelia, Russia (again!) and Iceland.

My darkened studio space with Fjordlands_winter from new collection Midnight Sun

Perhaps it's because of the heat here that I'm drawn to these snowy climes, or perhaps I am anticipating a new trend in Scandinavian patterns that I think will be hitting in 2014.
Either way, it has been wonderful to research the history, geography and cultures of these regions. Collecting information and images to inspire a collection is probably my favourite part of the design process, and definitely the easiest! If you are interested you can see some of my research resources on my Pinterest board Midnight Sun.

Take a look at my designs at my Spoonflower shop too, they are not all finalised yet and will be made available for sale as I am satisfied with the printed results.
I'm always keen to have feedback about the designs so please do get in touch and let me know what you think.


Sunday, January 5, 2014

Craft With Kids - Making a Family Year Poster

With all the talk of new year's resolutions and hopes and dreams for 2014, I wanted to share the idea of goal setting with my 5 & 6 year olds in a simple non-pressured kind of way.

Together the family made a 2014 poster filled with things we know we'll be doing, things we want to be doing and things we should be doing!
The concept is super simple but it actually introduces smaller children to the idea of goal setting and creative visualisation - valuable skills for both children and adults.

We started with a large piece of thin card, but you could use whatever sized paper, card, fabric, wood, cork board, wall (if you're really brave!), canvas or digital screen.
The advantage of the large substrate is that the whole family can sit around it at the table and work on it together which is fun as everyone feeds of each others excitement for the new year.

Whack the year in big numbers right in the middle, then add:

events, wishes, hopes, prayers, resolutions, dreams, ideas, plans, rules, commitments, destinations, etc. 

You could divide up the poster into months if you like but I think it's more fun to have everything scattered and waiting to found. Draw, paint, stamp, scrapbook or collage your poster. Anything and everything that makes you think of your goals for the year.

Our 2014 family year poster in progress

You can add dates to events to make them actionable or write "Tuesdays" or whatever day of the week you want the event to become regular. We haven't added dates at all, as we are a "fly by the seats of our pants" kind of family (that's the long way of saying disorganised!).

Make sure everyone contributes in some way, whether by drawing, writing or sticking pictures on. The idea is to validate every family members hopes for their year ahead.

There doesn't need to be a completion point for your family's poster, it can be added to and altered right up to December 31st.

There should be no pressure on anyone to have events completed as it's supposed to be a gentle guide to achieving goals.

However once you have achieved or completed an event circle or highlight it on the poster. If you happen to do something great that wasn't on your poster add it on afterwards!

Hang up your poster where you will see it at least once a week, preferably every day. It will remind you of the way your family wants to live, and even everything isn't possible right now you can always work towards it.

At the end of the year the whole family can sit down and look at how/if they achieved their goals and you can discuss how it felt to them and the family. You might decide that some goals are not a priority anymore or you may wish to add it to your next family year poster.

One thing we chose to do with our poster was to print everyone's (including the dog!) hand print to show that we were all represented and it kind of felt like signing off an important document.
I think we'll keep these posters to remind of the things we did during the years and to watch those little hand prints grow!