Friday, April 25, 2014

Come on in... We are OPEN + Coupon Code!

The Bee & Lotus Etsy shop is open for business!
So far I have listing the Frida Embroidery Kit +Starter Pack (everything you need to make your own beautiful wall hung artwork), the basic Frida Embroidery Kit (for those who already have some sewing gear), and the Frida Embroidered Pillow Kit (with or without starter pack).

I have been quietly developing these products for a while now, though those who follow me on Instagram would have seen a few sneak peeks. I adore the finished Frida Pillow that has pride of place on my bed, and I'm considering spreading the pom pom love to the curtains (if hubby would ever agree!!). Anyone else out there loving pom poms right now?

To celebrate this occasion I'm giving you all 20% off your purchases until May 11th 2014, just use the following coupon code FRIDALOVE2014  when you check out to receive your discount.

Bee & Lotus Frida Embroidery Kit - Available in my Shop
Bee & Lotus Frida Embroidered Pillow Kit - available at my Shop!
Back of Frida Pillow
You can also find a range of co-ordinating fabrics and wallpapers in my Spoonflower shop

Hope you loves it.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Crafted Hand Towel Revival?

Remember those hand towels you used to see at every fete and local market stall? The ones with the embroidery in pastel shades and crochet edges? Well, they have NEVER been my cup of tea.

But the other day I finally hung up some art in the laundry, an old pair of small watercolour paintings of Russian peasants in their folk costumes, reframed into the original moulding. My laundry is ugly (ugly tiles, paint colour & bench top), but it has lots of room and storage and one of these days we'll get around to renovating it but for now cheap quick fixes are the order of the day.

It made the room feel so much nicer! I couldn't believe I'd chosen to go so long without art in the laundry. Then my eye was caught by the grotty stained hand towel hanging on the rail next to it......blughr. "Something must be done about this" I thought.

So I bought a charcoal coloured hand towel (great for hiding stains!) and sewed a scrap of my Mexican Blanket fabric in Tamale from my Frida Collection onto the bottom. Then I added some pom pom trim in teal - is it just me or are you a little smitten with pom pom trim?
I think some gorgeous ribbon would also work great or a strip of vintage embroidery perhaps?

At last! Something nice to look at in the laundry
close up of my up-crafted hand towel and a vintage linen one I thrifted
Festive clothes Kaluga province Late 19th Century - watercolour, artist unknown
Festive costume Oryol province Late 19th Century - watercolour, artist unknown
Much Better! Now my ugly laundry is a little cuter and definitely a nicer place to be.
So hows about starting a little crafted hand towel revival?


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Make - $10 DIY Woven Planter

Last week I finally got my hands on a lovely fiddle leaf fig for the lounge room. I tracked down a nice sized one (around waist height) for a really good price online at Hargraves Nursery and it arrived just a few days later by post! Who knew you could post a tree?!

I've been drooling over some woven planters on Pinterest lately but I'm not quite prepared to pay $60+ for one just yet, so I rummaged around in my brain and came up with a cheap alternative:

And it only took 2 minutes to make it!

I'm sure you can get these stripes lined up better than i did! 

All you need is a small rug/bathmat that is nice and thick or stiff so that it holds its shape quite well.
I found mine at the Reject Shop for $10. Make sure the width of the rug is more than half the size of the circumference of the widest part of the pot. If you have a sewing machine it will take you 2 minutes to make the planter, if you need to sew it by hand it might take a little longer.
Simply fold the rug in half, good sides together and sew up both sides leaving the top open.
Turn your planter bag inside out and shape as required. I pushed the corners in a little so they don't stick out so much, you can get a really nice crumpled bag effect if that's your style.
That's all there is to it! Just make sure you have a bucket/tray/bowl under your plant pot, inside your planter to catch any water overflow.

Turn that cheap scatter rug (who the heck scatters rugs?) into an on trend woven planter. (You can see my before and after curtains in this shot too, hopefully it's obvious which is which).

Some other ideas for sprucing up a plant pot:

  • Use an old hessian/jute sack, potato sack or coffee sack, roll the top over.
  • Have an old kilim rug with stains you can't remove? Use it to make a planter bag and position the stains under the pot so they don't show, or cut it up and use just the good parts.
  • Use a flat woven bath mat and add to it by doing gigantic cross stitch patterns into it!
  • Try using a plain/"logo free" Kraft paper yard waste bag rolled down at the top.
  • Want a shabby chic look on a budget?  Sew a cuff of floral fabric to the top of a plain sack.
  • Don't like the print on a feed sack? turn the sack inside out and add your own artwork with stencils, stamps, Sharpie pens or dip it into paint.

There are so many things you could do, the possibilities really are endless.
Get inspired then find your materials and try it! You might be really surprised at what you come up with.


Friday, April 4, 2014

Fly Agaric - The Classic Fairytale Mushroom

I had an awesome find at the local charity shop the other day. A matching set of ceramic kitchen canisters with little mushrooms sprouting from the lids as handles!

Ceramic canister mushroom set I scored for $6

There is just something about about the Fly Agaric (Amanita Muscaria) fungi that has captivated human fondness despite its toxic reality.
The fungus is deadly if taken in sufficient quantities, but used to be used by many different cultures to induce hallucinations.

The first memory I have of this iconic mushroom was in Transition (the year before Kindergarten for kids too young to start Kindy), in those days we used to have a nap in the middle of the day and students were to bring in a pillow to snuggle on/with at nap time.
My mother sewed a small pillow for me using fabric that had a screen-printed forest scene with tiny Fly Agaric mushrooms popping up here and there. That fabric has stayed in my mind for 30+ years! I have even dreamed of being back in the classroom trying to find the treasured pillow - no doubt a subconscious longing for simplicity and comfort! If only I could find a piece of that fabric today!!

Next, the Fly Agaric appeared in the beautiful illustrations of Ivan Bilibin in vintage Russian fairy tale books such as Vassilisa the Beautiful published in Moscow in the 1970's.

My battered old copy of Vassilisa the Beautiful with Illustrations by Ivan Bilibin

The hideous Baba Yaga was the witch of the story, fierce and at the same time wise, she would fly through the forest in a wooden butter churn.

The terrifying Baba Yaga in her butter churn

In the image in the book I used to ogle as a child, the Fly Agaric mushrooms seem to sprout up around her and her wooden house with chicken legs that could move through the forest. They were used by the artist as a symbol of danger and perhaps evil. I guess they are coloured the way they are to be a warning, so it does make sense that they are used as a sign of danger but not so much sense that they are used as homes for Smurfs to live in.

Another example of the Fly Agaric being used to symbolise danger is in Little Red Riding Hood retold and illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman. This book has the most beautiful illustrations and has been a favourite of mine for many years.

Trina Schart Hyman's illustration of Red Riding Hood meeting the Wolf

Then of course when I was in my early teens I was pretty keen on playing Super Mario Kart on the old Super Nintendo with my twinno. And even though he was one of the slowest characters, I couldn't
resist choosing to be Toad (Kinopio in Japan) which is an animated red/white mushroom.

Toad from Mario Kart, slow but Super cute!

Around 10 years ago I happened to be driving with my parents and husband when we noticed Fly Agaric mushrooms growing by the side of the road under some silver birch trees. They were actually in the front garden of an office building on the main street of Canberra! My wonderful family actually went out of their way to pull over and collect some specimens for me to paint in watercolour.
Passers by must have thought we were insane, mushrooming for toxic fungi in the front garden of the NRMA insurance company!!

I hope with all of the rain this part of the country has seen in the past few weeks I will be able to see more Fly Agaric soon.