A truly beautiful Minxy mix of charm, inspiration, practical advice, and pretty projects to simplify and beautify your life and home. - Jane Brocket, The Gentle Art of Domesticity
So I didn’t post this in time for Melbourne Cup but hey, get your cocktail on every day, I say (I didn’t even see the race… had a group of girlfriends round for high tea & champers yesterday - we were all-a-twitter in our frocks and headpieces when one of us realised it was 3:45) .
I’ve fancied these pompoms for years. They’re made by Tibetan refugees in India, apparently – I love the bright dyes they’ve used. A few weeks back I turned my pretty jar full into this cocktail hat. I fully intended to wear it yesterday, but loaned it to my friend’s daughter, Lucy instead for her formal this weekend. I hope she rocks it – it looks great with the fifties prom dress I gave her to go with it, and her beaten-up brown boots.
Step-by-steps below. Easy peasy. Take one glue gun, a pile of pompoms and a simple hat form, available from Spotlight. Get sticking.
Ready to wear in about 10 minutes.
Meet Maya, our gorgeous model for my craft project in this month’s Australian Women’s Weekly. I have to tell you, she was a STAR – we nailed this shot in less than ten minutes. Not bad for a four-year-old.
This is a super-simple crafty project and a great idea for turning old saucers into something new. Grab a copy of AWW for the instructions (or wait for my next book, out in early 2013 – yet another sneak peek at what’s inside).
This is such a glorious book. It’s all about the joys of being a girl; indulging in fashion, celebrating our special rituals, traditions and friendships and what makes us unique, with recipes for making simple, delicious food and craft projects galore. Maggie’s What’s Happening to Our Girls? came out a few years ago and it was a sobering read, sharing in-depth research about the effect mass consumerism and the sexualisation of children has on our teens. Secret Girls’ Business is the antidote.
Why Maggie wrote Secret Girls’ Business:
“Life’s pretty complex for teen girls right now. While they have more choices, they’re way more anxious about their looks, possessions, and bodies. This generation of girls also has less confidence and creativity, few friendships across the generations and life experiences. Most of their spare time is spent on packaged entertainment or shopping. And their preoccupation with celebrities means often they know little about their own story. We need to encourage girls in fun ways that give them a new sense of what they’re capable of.”
And it does. I love this book – if you’re a teen girl or you have one in your life, buy it now.
I visited Channel 9 again last Friday to demonstrate simple decoupage on Mornings. Here’s my favourite tea tray, decorated with a Marie Antoinette-style postcard from Versailles and a bunch of Redoutes roses – just a little sneak peek at what’s inside my next book, out early next year.
I should have some video links to post soon if you missed the segments, but will be appearing again at 9:45am this Thursday to share a cute, inexpensive idea for decorating childrens’ rooms, and then the following Friday. Stay tuned.
I’ve started doing a regular craft segment for Mornings on Ch9, and today was the first one. I had such fun – Sonia & David are hilarious. We made three fairly simple fabric wall hangings in the five or so minutes I was on air with these inexpensive IKEA fabrics and frames from a discount store. David’s was a bit dodgy (too eager with the staple gun) but Sonia gets top marks. My tip? Buy the fabric from Publisher Textiles for cool & original wall art, or try designs by Florence Broadhurst at Signature Prints.
Stay tuned for news of the next one – it’s likely to be Thursday or Friday next week around 9:45am. We may be getting into some sticky business with decoupage. More soon.
Fabric Wall Hanging project
This has to be one of the thriftiest, most striking ways to decorate the walls of your home. Choose any fabric you like and turn it into a framed canvas. It’s easy to DIY and inexpensive compared with buying original art or prints.
- Wooden frame
- Printed fabric (heavy linen or upholstery fabric works best) to fit frame; enough to cover the surface, sides and a good few inches extra to tuck neatly out of sight against the wall. A metre provides a good-sized canvas to gaze upon and fits well above most beds or sofas
- Staple gun and staples
- Iron your fabric flat, print down.
- Place your frame over the fabric then fold up the edges of one side and staple along the edge at 2 or 3-inch intervals.
- Continue stapling while keeping the fabric taught. You might want to focus on the corners first before stapling along each edge.
- When you get to a corner, fold the fabric carefully around the edge like you would if you were wrapping a gift, then staple in place.
- Keep going until you’ve finished all four sides. Snip off any excess fabric with scissors.
Measure down approx. 10-15cm from the top of the frame on either side. Make a mark of the measurements with the pencil – this is where your screw hooks will go. Take hooks and tap into place with the hammer, then screw into wood until secure. Tie wire around one side, then stretch to the other side and tie as well by wrapping wire over on itself at least 6-10 times and then bending backwards to secure. Clip off any excess wire with tin snips/pliers.
It’s done. All the photographs for book 5, out next year, and most of the hard work behind me for this one. I’ve loved every minute of the shoot and can’t state enough how excellent the team is. Everything just clicked and had a really charged, special energy about it. I’m already plotting a way we can work together again in future – I’m sure we will.
My focus started to shift this week back to my wee girl and how little time we’ve been spending together lately. At the moment she’s in pre-school 3 days a week but we had to step it up to 4 over the past few weeks, and the balance tipped towards too much for me. It’s all work and no play with her gone, and when she has been here I’ve been preoccupied and distracted. But it’s only temporary. We had the best day together last week.
There were errands to run – a visit to the shops and my patient optometrist, with Olive fanning out textas and art paper all over his office floor and asking a thousand questions about the eye-test machine – and of course some work to wedge in, but there was a leisurely 2 hours spent playing at the park and treats at Bourke St Bakery, a play date with friends and yes, there was craft. By 10am we’d made several beaded necklaces for guests to her upcoming 4th birthday party, and decorated paper and old egg cartons with these fab neon pompoms I found at Spotlight. Then, in the afternoon, invitations and collage, and I let her use the sharp scissors for about 7 seconds before she helped me make a baked dinner. A truly full day.
I’m so happy Olive has finally reached an age where we can make things together and she’s absorbed by it for a good few hours. It just gets better and better. And the attention span has expanded enough to include trips to the zoo and even Cirque de Soleil – hooray. My girl is coming into her own.
I had lunch with Calico & Ivy‘s Sarah Wheatley at Fratelli Fresh the other day, and it was just so gorgeous chatting about her recent trip to France to do this course with mixed textile artist Julie Arkell, and her crafty tour of London, Paris and the Dordogne. I wish I’d stowed away in her suitcase, and am currently investigating courses I can do over the next year to expand my world, which gets a bit small and cosy at times. I’m thinking sock knitting at Calico & Ivy Balmain in late August, so I can make handmade socks for friends this Christmas (or next, more likely), a writing workshop and learning the trapeze, believe it or not. As much as I push myself to sign up, I always enjoy it when I do. The sense of new community and creativity is never not inspiring or rewarding.
I tried not banging on too much about the photo shoot we’re preparing for next week because truly, I’m starting to bore myself. I’ve signed up with HarperCollins for book five, out next year, and am simultaneously thrilled to bits and keeping all fingers and toes firmly crossed that we’re ready in time and the book is beautiful. Thankfully we’re on track for the same publication date I had with Murdoch. Moving publishers is serious work, when all the conversations one has over 18 months need to be condensed and had again in a period of a few weeks. It’s been beyond busy, but I’m hoping it makes the book simply better and am honoured to be part of the HarperCollins list and one of the first books published by my friend, new HarperCollins publisher Catherine Milne.
Anyway, it’s likely I’ll be posting sporadically until the book is safely handed in, and I have a few workshops of my own to host over the next few months (promise to update the events page soon!), but will be thinking of new favourite fabrics, materials and crafty projects to share with you, once I get through this shoot in one piece.
Wish me luck,
Have you heard about this huge annual sustainability event, organised by the clever people at City of Sydney and local councils across Australia?
This Saturday 5 May’s Garage Sale Trail is looking to be massive, with ambassadors Marnie Skillings and Liane Rossler (Dinosaur Designs) on board, and sales all over the city at Cloth Fabric, The Society Inc. etc. Let’s hope the gorgeous weather holds out for some enthusiastic bargain-hunting. For some excellent guerilla garage sale shopping tips, click here.
I’ll be doing a workshop at the Sydney Antique Centre from 2-4pm this Saturday on how to upcycle vintage & secondhand clothes. There’s a few spots left if you’re keen to sign up, and I’ll be posting some images here on the blog soon so you can see some of the transformations we made to tired & damaged pieces.
How darned cute are these? Socks from the new Koigu Magazine in ‘Autumn Berries’ and some scarves to make you wish for colder weather.
I’ve almost completed a crochet project with Japanese Koigu yarn in various shades from lemon to hot pink, and it’s such a buzz to work with. Not for the delicious texture alone, which is soft and fine and anything but sticky, but the delight in watching its variegated colours play out. And it looks amazing on smaller items such as roses or scarves for little people. I’m going to give the knitted iPod case just completed at my Corner Shop workshop a go in a zesty lemon-lime-tomato combination next, with Koigu from Calico & Ivy Balmain.
Now the days are getting cooler, I’m keen to be knitting and crocheting when I can. And I’ve gotten to the sweet spot with crocheting where I can watch a film or chat and still concentrate on keeping up a pattern, which is heaven.
The challenge this winter? To learn how to make socks, so I can give a pair or two to friends with mid-year birthdays. Wish me luck.
Esther Han interviewed me for this piece in the Sydney Morning Herald today.
Apparently dressmaking courses are seeing a huge surge in popularity, with much of the buzz about recreating all the vintage-style frocks we’re going in for of late. Lovely news (or at least nicer than the other headlines I read this morning) because not everyone can find a true vintage frock to fit, much as they’d like to.
I’ve been dying to make a vintage frock from scratch for aeons. Inner Westies should try the Summer Hill Sewing Emporium if you can’t get to Beverley’s classes in Penshurst, or any of the squillion on offer at TAFE.
Convinced? For inspiration, see Cara Mia Vintage for some lustworthy original designer pieces from the likes of Balenciaga, Chanel, Dior, Gucci, Pucci, Moschino, Vivienne Westwood and Ungaro. Cara Weinstock’s pieces had me positively drooling at the last Love Vintage.