Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Nesting New Year

I've spent the last few days drawing a bird's nest. Why? Well, I'm not sure - crazy perhaps... just wanted something relatively mindless to get stuck into during this unsettled Christmas and New Year period!
It's turning out OK, however I woke up this morning with a very sore thumb and wrist and a crick in the neck. This drawing must have been a little bit too intense huh? I think I'll push through the aches and pains, just a little bit more shading required me thinks...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Lettering from Home

I received the sweetest card from my Gran and Grandad today with best wishes for Christmas and our engagement. And as lovely as the card itself was, I am mesmerised by the envelope it was posted in!
I think I want to hold on to this for dear life - look at the beautiful, formal handwriting that my Grandad has. It seems that no one writes like this these days. To me, this lettering speaks of history, memories, of traditions, and of formalities that we no longer take any notice of.
One day, the flicks and curls and swirls of these letters will be gone, lost to the typed and printed address label.
No thank you, there's nothing like a handwritten letter, don't you think?

OK I Think I'm Done...

There's a few bits here that I over-did a little, a few that I'd kinda like to work on a little bit more, but I think the painting is at that stage that I mentioned a couple of posts down. Time to stop. But I'm happy, it actually really looks like my Grandad!
Meanwhile, I need to buy some more paint - this painting is 1m tall, my supplies are getting low!

Friday, December 18, 2009


What a way to spend an un-employed Thursday; at the beach with friends. Bliss.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Painting Grandad

I often find with painting that there's a point I reach part way through the process where I'm tempted to stop. I get to the stage where the essence of the person, object or scene I'm painting has come through enough that it is recognizable as it is. This can often signify a time where you need to slow down and be careful that you don't over work it too.
I am at that point with this painting of my Grandad, but I think I will push forward.
Lots more layering and tidying up to go, but he's starting to show through. Quite funny really!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Merry Christmas To Me

Or maybe it's an early birthday present... oh dear, seems I've broken my own rule about no new toys. Well, I did order this ages ago, does that still count?!
Bought myself a little replica lomo style camera to play around with. It arrived in the sweetest little wooden box, wrapped in the cutest paper and came with a little book, instructions, film and other such goodies. Bugger the camera, I just loved the packaging!
Well maybe not bugger the camera, I will have to see what comes out once I get the films developed. There's something quite exciting about waiting to see what turns out at the end of the film, reminds me of 6th form photography classes, squirreled away in the darkroom at lunchtimes... man I sound like I was such a dork!
Perhaps, if things go well, you'll be seeing some of these photos here, fingers crossed!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Operation Beautiful

I came across this site via Facebook over the weekend, and thought it was such a neat idea I would share it.
Operation Beautiful, an initiative originally started in New Zealand but now making it's way around the world, encourages anyone wanting to participate to write 'feel-good' notes and leave them in prominent places to be read by anyone, inspiring a little boost of self-belief, or even just smile. In particular, the idea was sparked to reinforce to young women that they are beautiful just the way they are, both inside and out.
I think this is such a sweet idea, jump on the band-wagon and post a note somewhere, and know that it may brighten someones day!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Potato Stamped Christmas

I just whipped up these wee gift cards using a potato, some paint, a pen and some left over card ... sweet and easy!
Just about got everything ticked off the pressie making list, now to get everything packaged and to the post office to send in time for travel to NZ...

Monday, December 7, 2009

Got It Covered

Check out these cute notebook covers that I made from some of my IKEA fabric (see a few posts below). I'm really pleased with how they turned out!
I followed the tutorial on Craftblog.com.au, and tweaked it a little by putting iron on seam tape over the raw edges in the middle, top and bottom (pet peeve = raw finished edges). I've also been making wee animal silhouettes from some leather scraps that I have stashed away, so I made two deer and glued one on the front of the first cover, and one on the inside of the second, as the fabric is so busy on that one it really didn't need a poor deer lost in the forest!
The covers have pockets on the inside faces so are perfect for all those bits of paper you collect and need to hold on to. I made these to fit an A5 size diary, but you can make them to cover a book of absolutely any size. So sweet, and great pressie ideas!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Hand Drawn Calendar

Lately I've been admiring all the gorgeous 2010 calendars appearing on various design blogs around the place, and wanted to make one for myself.
I was inspired by one of my favourite illustrators and artists Julia Rothman and have started to put a calender together in a similar vein.
Still a work in progress, but quite fun to do a little bit each night. The hardest part is getting all the dates and days written correctly down the bottom!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Colour Me Pretty

A very early memory for me is going through my Mum's handbag and coming across her little flip folder of 'colours' - the colour swatches she would use to go shopping with to ensure she bought the clothes and colours that suited her best.
I have always wanted to have a flip folder of my own, always been curious as to what colours work best on me. People have often said that if I am an interior designer I should have no problem knowing which colours I should wear, but it really is a whole science in itself, there is no link between interior colour knowledge and self styling what-so-ever!
Well my aunt gave me a voucher to get my colours done a few weeks ago, (it is definitely not a cheap excercise) and I was thrilled to bits, waiting anxiously to see whether I had anything in my wardrobe that hit the mark or not! The day finally rocked round yesterday, and my appointment took two hours for them to go through the four colour 'seasons' and determine the best colour set, make-up tones, jewellery colour and glasses frames for me, taking into consideration my skin tone and hair colour.
Turns out I am 'summer', and I must admit there are some colours that I should be wearing that I would NEVER have thought would suit me, ie. lavender, lemon yellow and baby pink.
There are some colours that I wear already which is a relief, like apple greens, navy and fucsia.
However apparantly I should never wear black or crisp white! Well I laughed at that one, there is no way I would give up wearing black. NO WAY.
So when I'm next heading off to buy new clothes, I think I will take my swatches with me and see if I can stick to my colour chart. Something tells me this little swatch book will be a handy guide in my handbag, but I don't think I'll ever take it as gospel. Sometimes when you love something you just gotta have it, doesn't bother me if it's on my colour chart or not.

1 Year in Australia

Scarborough Beach, Perth, WA
Yesterday marked exactly 12 months since C & I hopped on the plane in Wellington and flew to Perth, Australia. Jeepers that was a teary morning! My family means everything to me, so it was a big step to tear myself away, knowing I may not see any of them for a long, long time. But I managed, and though the first month or two were pretty rough, I'm now OK with the odd skype call and the myriad of emails that get sent back and forth!
I've been a bit reflective lately, and remembered during that 7 hour plane journey how I began wondering where we would be in 12 months time. Now I'm wondering where we'll be 12 months from today. The truth is we have NO idea, we may be back home in NZ, or we may be still tiki-touring round Europe somewhere, or perhaps still in Canada. For someone like me, who likes to be very organised and plan ahead, this brings a range of emotions, from anticipation and excitement, through to a little bit of nervousness and terror!
All of that aside, I feel so lucky to have the opportunity to get out and see the world - you really do forget how small and iscolated lil' old NZ is until you really get out in the world on your own.
Still, I can't WAIT to see what the next 12 months brings... hopefully an abundance of adventures and good times... we shall see!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Shnoz of a Different Kind

This is the face of the Devil, in disguise. Really, it is. Yesterday she peed on my handbag, today she ripped my new maxi dress. So as you can see, it's just pure evil through and through.
Oh darn it, who can be angry at a face as sweet as that... !

Sad Shnoz

Some may say this is pushing the boundaries of sharing too much information on a blog, but I would really like to inforce a point here.
After getting a little too much sun on my shnoz over the weekend I quietly berated myself, but let myself off the hook as this was my first (and hopefully last) sunburn for the summer.
What I didn't realise, is that the red racing stripe I had blazoned on my face was a little worse then I first thought, and has now festered into a hideously painful, crusty, scabby cesspool.
I am now alternating between slathers of aloe vera, tea tree oil and antiseptic lotion, and in general feeling rather sorry for myself.
The last time I looked like this, I was four years old and went head first down the big vertical slide at Capital Discovery (now Capital E) in Wellington. I had a black scabby nose for weeks.
The memories have been re-dredged and I am living this horror all over again.
And I don't know why I bothered trying to kid myself, no amount of concealer could disguise this mess, it only settled in the crevices and emphasized the carnage further.
Please ladies (and lads), learn from my 'f' up, wear your blimmin sunscreen. Please. Just do it.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Marimekko Wallpaper

We had a little treat at work today; a presentation of some wicked Marimekko wallpapers.

My absolute favourite was the 'Ystavat' design which comes in some great colourways including a fantastic mustard yellow and black (but which I couldn't find a picture of).
The design is made up of a series of line drawn figures interlacing to create a wave pattern down the paper. It's so quirky yet fairly simple, now just to find a client adventurous enough to use it... yeah right, that'll be the day!
Maria, distributor of Marimekko wallpapers in North America has pointed me in the direction of her website New Wall Inc where you can view ALL of the papers plus more! (see the mustard and black colourway above? mmmmm). Thank you Maria!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Nina Kinert: Beast

I felt like sharing some more music today, this time from one of my new favourite artists, Nina Kinert- creator of some truely beautiful and haunting music.

Friday, November 20, 2009

What to do With You

New IKEA fabric for me... now let's see how long I leave this stowed somewhere until I think of the perfect use for it!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Peggin' Around

Photos by me.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Ohhh I think I'm in love... I've seen Melbourne based textile design company Pippijoe featured in a few magazines and other online hidey-holes in the past, but my friend pointed me in the direction of the website yesterday.
Do you ever find things that you love so much that it actually hurts a little inside? Or is it just me?!
Sometimes the simplest things are the best, and this is certainly the case with Pippijoe's beautiful screen-printed fabrics. I want them really, really badly. Especially the birds on the line.
LOVE it!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Strawberry Goodness

A sprinkle of castor sugar and a splash of balsamic vinegar = sweet strawberry goodness... mmmmm

Saturday, November 7, 2009

A Note to Kiwi Sewers and Stylists

Photo, fabrics and SQUAB from www.estherdiamond.com
A top tip for the day... Do NOT say the word 'squab' to an Australian. They will look at you as if you have just dropped in from another planet.

A Wee Travelling Pickel

It's such a long way away that it probably is a little useless talking about this now, but I've decided to start a separate blog that will be purely devoted to our travelling around next year. That way I can keep the really random things on this one, and the travelly things on that one. Weellll that's the plan, but my plans hardly ever go... accordingly!? We shall see. There won't be anything much happening over there until early next year but keep an eye out... and that means YOU family! http://www.travellingpickel.blogspot.com

Thursday, November 5, 2009

La PhotoCabine

And just when you really thought you'd had enough of seeing me, there are more photos! And it's me being a dork at that. I'm sorry, but I really wanted to share the link to this site which is TOO much fun.
I spent... a LONG time playing around on here last night. Catherine at My Folk Lover got me into it, it's all her fault! tehe
Have fun at La PhotoCabine!

New Toy

Well I harped on a little in my last post about not being able to spend money on setting up a creative room/studio, and I may have left out a little portion of the story as though it is 100% completely true that we are saving our booties off right now, it is also because we are choosing to buy other nice things... like toys.
When C went away to work up north for 10 weeks his 'reward' was a playstation 3, and he got that with no complaints. But then I thought well, what about me? (of course).
For so long now I have wanted to get a digital SLR camera, and I've just sucked it up and thought well there was no way...
So as a compromise of sorts, I did my research, and instead of buying a hugely expensive top brand camera, I settled for a not so well known brand which was half the price of the others. Plus it got really good reviews too. It does all the things I want and I won't feel quite so terrible if it doesn't get as much use as I originally intended. After all, enjoying photography class in 6th form was one thing, I haven't touched an SLR since! Chances are I will smash it or drop it or lose it somewhere in Europe next year anyways knowing my track record...
But I am stoked now and I am certainly intending to be in everyone's faces for the next wee while, practicing and re-learning all the in's and out's of manual operation.
Now that's it. No more toys! Must save! Sheesh.

Monday, November 2, 2009

My Blog HQ

Over at Hazelnuts the other day, Jacqui blogged about her sweet wee 'blog hq', and the place where she creates and writes and other such magic happens. Every time I see a fellow blogger share their gorgeously organised, creative goodie filled space I get a little sad, as because I class myself as a bit of a nomad this year, and as we are saving saving saving for our trips overseas I haven't been able to spend the money on setting up a designated creative space like those. But then it suddenly hit me that while I don't have a room as such, I have my IKEA shelves. When we arrived in Perth 11 months ago, IKEA was one of the first stores we hit, totally beside ourselves with excitement over the cool bits and pieces we could get for next to nothing. (Well I know I was, I don't think Corey is quite so prone to having sleepless nights over a piece of kit set lacquered chip board furniture). So I am going to share my 'blog hq' - and show you where surprisingly enough, I have still un-intentionally managed to cobble together a lot of 'creative stuff' and zone it into some classic IKEA shelving, enough so that I will often blog away, and look at my shelves and get just a little inspired, feel a little stir of excitement, and then I'm off on a creative tangent once more... Blog HQ includes; (left to right, top to bottom) My printer/scanner * Framed drawing * Corey's race car bourbon container! * Pile of invoices and bills * Another framed drawing * Dream catcher * Around $300 worth of Lonely Planet books * Fimo * Sewing kit * Millions of pens and pencils * Collection of ribbon and various tid-bits * Beads * Beading wire * Massive stack of design and interiors magazines * Sketch books * Doodle books * Yoga books * Folder of bills and invoices * A pear (!?) * Tracing paper * Butter paper * Old mp3 player * Bobbyrobin * Various random cd's * Novels (borrowed) * Thyroid book * Foot powder (!?) haha * Jar of coins * Rendering markers * Frankie magazines * Prints * Christmas pressies * Post from home * Chargers and other boring tech stuff * Paints * Sculpey clay * Jewellery findings * Stash of old wood veneer * Pieces of fabric * Video camera * More mags * More paint and associated things * Phew!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Two Poppets on a Page

When I started drawing this pair they were going to be two French poppets, but the boy looks decidedly British if you ask me (minus the baguette)... never mind, we're a multi-cultural bunch these days anyway!
It's funny, because the more I look at it the more I think this chap is based on my Grandad - he's a splitting image just a little younger obviously... but they even have the same knobbly knees! There's mischief written on that face, which is very appropriate indeed.

Red Earth

The fact that nature is capable of producing colours this vivid and contrasting will forever blow me away. Australia you are beautiful, and I can honestly say this even though I'm a little biased towards your neighbour. Photos taken by my other half 'Cozza' near Broome, WA.

My New, Old Office

How To Make Banana Bread...

... and not stuff it up!

I surpassed myself again last night with my baking (which usually goes horribly awry), by making a half decent banana loaf! Nom nom nom! So that you too can feel the elation I felt when I took this out of the oven, here is the very easy recipe. As I say, I am not an expert, but I think that it is the golden syrup in this recipe that leaves the outsides, top in particular, rather sticky, but this can be good as finger licking is always a joyous follow up activity to any bout of baking.

Banana Bread Recipe

Mix together 2 mashed bananas, 3/4 cup castor sugar and 2 tbpsn golden syrup. Add 1 egg, 1 cup of self raising flour and a pinch of salt. Put into a greased loaf tin and bake for 30 minutes at 180 degrees celcius. Take out, cool for a wee while, then slice, spread with butter, eat. Ooh yea.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Lovin' This Week

Some really awesome things have been happening in the little world of 'me' this week, here are a few I will share... Meeting, re-meeting and making some great new friends. Friends of friends are so cool when they become your friends too! Even better when they've come from various places around the world. I think it's so crazy when the wee threads which are our paths in life, cross with the threads of others, even if it's just for a short while. It's magical :) Booking tickets to Canada and Europe for March next year. The next phase in our exciting trip is now just around the corner and I'm jiggling around in my chair at the moment I'm so beside myself with glee! Yummy part vegetarian BBQ with garden salad, potato salad, roast vege salad, vege kebabs... three days later I'm still drooling... thanks Mouse and Christie! Spring is well and truely here in Perth. OK so spring in Perth is like the peak of a Wellington summer, which means I am DREADING the real summer here again, I don't function too well when I have sweat patches down my back and butt and my glasses are sliding off my nose and it's dripping into my mouth... but for now the weather it purrrfect and there's nothing like waking up each morning to a crisp blue sky and that smell of the heat on the pavers outside as the temperature dial gets cranked up a notch. SO goooood. Starting to paint again for the first time since college (high school). I forgot how blimmin' time consuming it is having to layer the paint, wait for it to dry and so on. I am so used to my pencils where I can spit something out in an hour! I am re-learning the value of patience, and I think it is paying off. I will post my efforts here soon as an incentive to me to keep going with it! The last week in my current job! Even when it's super difficult to peel yourself out of the comfortable, butt moulded impression in your favourite chair, change is a really good thing. This is my last week in my current design position and next week sees me starting a new design job. I'm excited to see what I'll be up to over the next few months with the new company. I am hoping that I will be going from this design assistant position to something with a bit more responsibility, so we shall see! Becoming a brunette! The last time I attempted this I was 16 and in the midst of a hairdressing apprenticeship. I ended up looking like a very ill, pasty goth chic. I then remember a flurry of tears and desperate calls to my hairdressing friend and slowly but surely converting myself back to a blonde. However 8 years on, health issues and budget constraints have called for me to try my hand at sticking to my natural colour *gasp* and I am actually LOVING it. Woo hoo! Well that's just a few highlights from my week so far, I hope your week has provided highlights of its own!

Song for the Week: 'Relator'

Now and then a song comes along that I will set onto repeat in my ipod, and listen to over and over and over and over... and never get sick of cos' it's so good. This week all I can listen to is 'Relator' by Pete Yorn and Scarlett Johansson. I love the retro vibe it has and extremely catchy tune. I'm not particularly 'relating' to the lyrics as such as this is just one song off their 'Break up' album made up of entirely 'break up' songs but it's still good none the less.

Friday, October 9, 2009


Time for some more mindless c**p that no one wants or needs to see. A clip from last nights Glee episode which i am fast becoming hooked on; Beyonce's 'Single Ladies' performed by football players. Love it!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Hello Cuteness

Cuteness and innocence in the palm of your hand...

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Kowhai for my Papa

Over the weekend my Dad turned 60. That to me, is a pretty awesome milestone. If he read this (which I'm sure he doesn't) he would not be too impressed by the fact I am broadcasting his seniority to the world, and I'm sure he would have preferred it if the date just slipped by unnoticed, but I think it's worth celebrating.
I clearly remember when I was a little girl, thinking that 60 was so old, as my Grandparents were in their sixties, that's a Grand sort of age to be in! Well my Dad doesn't have any Grand kids yet, and now that I'm older I realise it isn't really that old at all.
Some of my favourite moments over the past years have been on warm sunny Sunday afternoons, when I would take a moment from lounging around, to potter with my Dad in the backyard. Dad finds it impossible to sit still, and every Saturday and Sunday is filled with gardening, potting, watering, fixing, or bee-keeping. It was something that me and Dad would always do, just us two, and I will always cherish those small moments. One day when I'm home again I hope I can have many more moments like those!
So I was understandably a little sad that I couldn't be in New Zealand to help celebrate, (though I know Mum made a big hoot of it). So instead, Dad, here is a wee kowhai flower for you, I hope you had a super fantastic day.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Amy Butler Patterns

Today became a magical day when I checked our mail box - inside was my recently ordered parcel of Amy Butler patterns. I have been so completely beside my self with excitement that I was finally getting around to ordering some, that I didn't stop to think that these are from America. Meaning they are in yards and inches- a thoroughly irritating and incomprehensive language. So, instead of acting surprised when I stash these in a corner and don't attempt to use them any time soon, I will pre empt it and suggest that it is super highly likely that this will happen. Until I muster up the time and patience to sit down with them and see if it's maybe not so bad after all. Watch this space, or... maybe not!

Random Doodle of the Week

These are my feet. On my desk. At work - i.e. not working.
I have strange feet, they are a size 9, and they have squat, unformed toes. My pinky toes curl under at each side. I had both my big toe nails cut out on all sides when I was a teenager, as they were forever ingrown. One worked, one didn't, so now I just cut it out myself. Ouch!
A couple of weeks ago I was diagnosed with Graves Disease. Subsequently my right foot swells so badly I had to buy new shoes. What a shame. But that's why I've hidden it under my left foot in this doodle.
This excercise has also shown me that I desperately need to re-paint my toe nails.
Bugger. Just gonna have to go out and buy some nail polish now too. Oh well!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Rolled Hem Master on a Convertible Dress

Image from Runningwithheels.com
Yesterday I added a new string to my bow, by mastering the art of using a rolled hem foot on my sewing machine. OK, to some people this may not seem like such a great achievement but this is coming from the girl who basically sticks to regular straight stitch, and maybe if she's lucky the odd zig zag here and there. Button hole feet are a whole other game all together, so I am feeling quietly pleased with myself.
All this was in aid of helping my friend to make four bridesmaids dresses yesterday (yes four, in one day). They are actually really easy, and are based on the good old convertible dress/infinity dress that apparantly has been around since the 70's!? I was thinking I might put up a 'how to' for them on here... so let's see how I go with that!