The last few days have a seen a flurry of crafting round these parts. Nothing like a few birthdays and chilly weather to get the creative juices flowing I say. So let me share with you what has been coming off my needles (very exciting) and out of my studio.
First off the bat is the wrapping paper for all those afore- mentioned birthday presents ( count: 2 down, 3 to go). I love, love, love, handprinted paper and cards so the lucky birthday gals received just that.
I make a lot of my own stamps and linocuts but I recently stumbled across these gorgeous stamps by Kia Hin Fay in one of my most favourite shops at the moment, Made By Others. I was tickled pink when I discovered that these beauties were designed and made by an Aussie gal. There's definitely something lovely about supporting homegrown female artists. The art and design store that they came from is in my hometown and is always on my list of places to frequent while visiting with my folks. Anyone who has visited this store will know truly how hard it is not to walk out with one gem or another tucked under one's arm and a huge grin plastered across ones face (you know what I'm talkin' about Miss Anna).
The sewing stamps are by a Japanese company, as so many beautiful stamps are, and were picked up along with the alphabet stamps from another of my most favourite shops at the moment, My Place. I swooned and promptly went to heaven when I walked into this store recently and if you, like me, have a fetish for beautiful, modern fabrics and sewing accessories then this is the place to be. Oh my. I went in to 'look'. You know how it is, you tell yourself you're just looking, maybe take home some pretty little buttons and before you know it you are walking out with something like this:
A fat quarter of Moda flandango flannel to be precise. I have big plans for this fat quarter. But that will have to wait, just like the fat quarter, which is quietly resting on top of my fabric stack in the corner of my studio.
Moving along to wool. Now, I have a little confession to make about me and my relationship with wool. To start with, I adore wool, and those mostly, cute, little, woolly creatures it comes from. It is my most favourite ( oh my, there's been a lot of favouritism today) natural fibre to work with. I wet and dry felt with it, I dye it, I spin it and up until now, I've tried to knit with it. You see, knitting has been one of those things that I've desperately been wanting and trying to do for so long, like riding a bike without training wheels or pushing yourself on the swing. So long in fact I've been at it for oh, maybe something like 26 years. Ahh, there it is, I said it.
My Mum taught me the basic cast on and knit stitch when I was a kid. She patiently fixed all my mistakes and encouraged me when all I could produce time and time again were scarves. Over the years I gradually taught myself a few more stitches, but the pennies never really dropped. My Nanna, knitter extraordinaire and the best person for me to learn from, sadly gave it away years ago due to her painful arthritic hands. In retrospect (such a lovely thing ) if I had cherished her handwork skills more when I was younger, I too may be a knitter extraordinaire today. But alas my memories of knitting are not, as I would love to say, of me sitting by my Nanna while she taught me to knit. The truth of the matter is I was poised over some well loved knitting books , puzzled look on my face, mouth uttering a few choice words, trying to decipher the pictures. Well all I can say now is I am so grateful to still have and wear my Nanna's handknits and... a girl can have only so many scarves before she goes batty with finding places to store them or people to give them to. So this past week I was determined to take my relationship with wool to the next level and guess what...the knitting pennies started to drop. This is what came off my needles:
A small feat for any experienced knitter but a huge milestone for this beginner. The pattern is Saartje's bootees from this lovely little blog.
After waiting for 26 years the satisfaction and joy in creating these little bootees for a friend's little one was astounding to say the least. I've learnt a great deal about determination, perserverence, gratitude and patience along the way, and although the journey to this moment has been long, it has been well worth every slipped stitch. It's all in the process.
So what does one very excited Mama do after a whole world of knitting possibilites have just been opened. Well she casts on for a larger pair (we've now officially entered the land of gauge and ply), makes plans for a Spring birthday vest for Miss Z and makes some buttons of course. You are just about to discover another little obsession , ahem, interest, of mine...material covered buttons. They are just lovely and just the thing for a pair of pink bootees. I must say that I'm usually more of your natural, earthy colours kind of gal but after hunting high and low for something other than a pastel for these bootees ( no time for online ordering if they were to be ready on time), we, meaning myself and a slightly pink crazed daughter of mine settled on, well, pink.
Two other small projects managed to find their way out of my studio door on the weekend.
A rather large and self indulgent pin cushion. It's all in the name of encouragement. This Mama is well aware of the usefulness and importance of pinning in sewing, but for some reason I seem to go to extraordinary lengths to avoid it. Maybe it's the time involved when I'm looking for a little instant gratification or replacing them onto the cusion afterwards that seems to get in the way. So I've decided that if I have something beautiful and homemade to work with it might just coax me to take more deep breaths, and delve deeper into the meditation that is the process.
And last but not least, remember my bluebird of happiness. Well she has added some sunshine and a touch of happiness to my kitchen. Sunshine and happiness to you all .
A little P.S is in order today: thanks and deep gratitude to the beautiful women in my life who took a peek today at this little space. Your words of encouragment mean so much. You are amazing and bring constant inspiration to my life. xoxox Charlea