Saturday, August 29, 2009

I Ate Too Many Buttercups

This is "I Ate Too Many Buttercups" Hoot - and he's coming with me to my very first Rose St Artists Market tomorrow!

I'll be glad of his company, because I'm not sure how many people I'll know there, and it'll be good to have a friendly face around. He's made out of some fantastic new material that recently arrived at Chez Flickettysplits, and which I have already forgotten the name of (sorry for my crap memory, it's one of my less endearing traits).

He's bringing a friend, too - let me introduce you to "In My Gothic Garden" Hoot, who at least I know is made from Amy Butler's Gothic Rose in Burgundy on the front side, and Denyse Schmidt's Pear Medallion from her County Fair range, on the reverse.

I'm in the process of photographing four other little lovelies who'll be coming along for the ride too, so watch this space for an update later today .....

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Mamas Little Babies

Ooo, the mail fairy came to visit me today!

I love the mail fairy - and I especially love it when the mail fairy visits me at work. Opening a little surprise package just puts a shine on things. And what nice packages these are too! The attention to detail is wonderful: the ribbon, the little charm attached to a safety pin - beautiful.

And look what was inside: two necklaces. Two! What a luxury.

One is of a baby in utero, with a woman's hand (at least, I presume it's a woman's) reaching in to cradle the ankle gently. ..... or is it? Might it in fact be reaching in to yank out the child, who almost seems as though it's curled up in an effort to protect itself? Hmmm.

I think I like this one because it appeals to my fetish for weird medical paraphernalia - it's got quite the scientific aspect to it in respect of the detail in the picture, don't you think? But there's also a certain tenderness that I also find very appealing. And the sinister hint? That's just the icing on the cake.

The other one is a lovely colourful piece, which reminds me of threads of saffron, and spices, and the colours of the Middle East. I think it's very energising and feminine at the same time.

These come to me from Mamas Little Babies on Etsy ... a store I found when I was browsing one day aaaages ago. As I tend to do, quite regularly. Have I mentioned how much I love Etsy?

I added the store as a favourite and now (almost six months later) I've actually purchased something. I feel bad that it took me so long! So this should give you hope, if you have an Etsy store like I do with lots of hearts but not a great deal of sales, that they might still come good for you. You never know.

I love these pieces, they're so different from one another but they're both gorgeous. They're made of printed plastic, so they're very light, but also very strong. All of her work is very whimsical, but has this interesting 19th century flavour as well. Gorgeous! I highly recommend you check it out.

I'm going to wear the one with the baby in utero to work tomorrow. It should generate some interesting comments from my colleagues .....

Monday, August 24, 2009


A very busy day today at work. Twelve hours of busy, in fact. With 25 minutes for lunch, and I even had to work through that.

Now I am ready for twelve hours of sleep.

That is all.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Spring Fling

At the office, I'm part of a women's committe who put together events and other things to help bring people together across the organisation. Working as I do in a pretty traditional and very male-dominated arena (especially at the senior levels), I quite enjoy the opportunity to do something a little outside the normal envelope of my usual office-ly duties.

We've got an event coming up in a few weeks and it was my job to design the invitation, which we're sending out by email. And I've decided to do something a little different. Something a little unusual. Something a little creative. (shock horror! remember I work in financial services, creativity is not a commodity that's especially prized in the hard, sharp and bloodied world of money).

So here it is - my invitation to the Spring Fling. What do you think - would it make you want to come to the event, or would you think it a bit naff?

The dark and drabby winter days
are coming to an end

No one will mourn them, this we know -
--because we comprehend

That winter comes but once a year
and now its time is over

We want to dream of sunny days,
of spring and fields of clover

It's time to shed our wintry skins
those sluggish, pallid scales

And welcome in the warmth of spring
and all that it entails

And so Connecting Women say:
throw off your coats of wool!

Bring yourself to our Spring Fling,
make sure you're colourful!

The entry price for two full hours
of fun and drinks and snacks

Is wearing something colourful -
hint: that's anything but
And if it pains you far too much
to put your black aside

Then please, my friends, then just do this
and think: ACCESSORISE

We've got some smashing giveaways
to celebrate the fun

There'll be a yoga door prize
for some (very lucky) one

And so we hope to see you there
Thursday September three

We'll raise a glass and cheer for spring:
hooray, hurrah, yippee!

(image courtesy of Getty Images)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Stalked on Etsy!

My bathroom bag has been featured on EtsyStalker!
Whoo hoo! Check out the link here if you'd like to see the original post. It's all about moving out of home for uni, and some of the things you can use to ease the transition... it's called "From the nest to the dorm".

I have never heard of EtsyStalker before, (has anyone out there ever heard of it?) but that has absolutely no bearing on the fact that I'm completely rapt to find this out.

I get such a blast when someone likes one of my things. It's part of the whole reason I started doing markets - because yes, on the face of it, markets take up heaps of time (especially on the precious weekends) and you often get rained on, and sometimes blown over, and every now and again you have a really rubbish day where you hardly sell anything .... but I tell you, the rush I get when I sell *anything* is completely worth it.

I love the look on a little person's face when they pick up a Hoot or a Catticus. I love it when people rush over to look at some of the amazing fabrics I use. I love it when a little girl tugs her mother over by the hand to see one of my Perfect Pencilrolls.

I love it because I made it, and in some way it's like that little bit of particular happiness would never have existed without me. And that makes me feel worthwhile (and on special days, super powerful and almighty. But only for a moment.).

Recently Thornberry did a post on the whole market vibe thing and asked people why they chose to sell at craft markets. I really enjoyed reading the range of responses - I highly recommend you check out the post - which varied from my little bit of happiness thing, through to it being a way to connect with the community, and also the very common "I sell craft so I can buy more craft supplies" - which is certainly true for me too.

I for one am really glad to see the resurgence in craft markets and the desire to buy local and support your artistic, crafty community. I'm glad for the chance to meet up with others like me. I'm glad I get to send a little bit of happiness out into the world, happiness that is unique and special and might never have existed if I hadn't slaved over a hot sewing machine to create it.

Nothing beats that buzz - crafters, together we are raising the happiness quotient in the world!!
Long may it last.

(and if blogger could please just sort out this weird spacing thing I'm experiencing, my day would be complete.)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

A wee little moan

I'd like to talk about etiquette for a moment. Ahem. Bathroom etiquette.

I don't know about you, but there are certain rules I follow when in the bathroom. Some of them are universal, and others are not.

The seat - well, that's universal. Washing hands - that is too. Replacing the end of a loo roll when it runs out? Natch.

In the office though, things aren't always that clear. And in MY office, where you could be in the bathroom with 19 other women at the one time - our bathroom is like one big long battery egg farm, stretching out into the distance with a never ending row of cubicles all slightly too small to be properly comfortable (I mean really, why didn't they make it 15 cubicles and give us enough room to turn around properly??) - there you are, with lots of other people.

Other people who have..... different rules.

The reason I'm writing this post is because my notions of etiquette have recently been affronted, in the office bathroom. Twice in two days!

First of all I had to contend with someone talking on their phone. To a real person. While they were using the cubicle - if you get my drift. And that was awful. I can cope with that though, if I must (and must I? really? can you not leave your damn phone on your damn desk where it damn well belongs?), because that kind of happens "around" you rather than directly involving you.

But if it wasn't bad enough, then today I was cornered by the Bathroom Talker. The Bathroom Talker! I hate the bloody Bathroom Talker.

I was just going into a cubicle when the Bathroom Talker came out of one, and spotted me, and said hello, and I said hello back, and that's where things should have politely and cordially ended.

But no. The Bathroom Talker continued to engage me in conversation as she washed her hands, and I squirmed with awkwardness (from behind my closed door) and she wasn't even just babbling on about drivel, she was actually conducting a serious conversation she expected me to contribute to. In a meaningful and intellectual way. Seriously. And this is not an isolated incident - she does it all the time!!

I mean, is it just me, or is that behaviour com-PLETE-ly inappropriate?!? It's wrong, people, it's wrong! Bathroom etiquette states that unless you are both standing at the basin chatting together, you do not have the conversation in the bathroom. Certainly not while one of you is IN the cubicle and all she wants to do is to wee in peace.

Good lord. Completely affronted, I tell you, completely affronted. I'm going to have to start posting a lookout for this woman, and that is just at the very wrong end of extreme measures.

image courtesy of Getty Images

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Spring has sprung

I gave myself an earlymark from work today, I did. Just shut down the computer, turned off the metaphorical light on my desk, and left. 430pm it was. Early mark, whoo hoo!

And yea, It Was Good, and the afternoon said unto me: Frolic About In The Spring Sunshine, and verrily You Will Be Revived. And lo, so she did and so she was.

Okay, enough with the faux-Biblical theme, but I tell you, skipping off early from work was like a revelation (see what I did there, with that clever pun? This is what the freedom from work does for you. Creative juices galore!! Even if they're a bit crap, there's lots of them, take my word for it.)

I didn't do anything super special, unless you count walking through the industrial wasteland to catch the train home and noticing the building with the golden stars didn't have its stars out yet. Which invited a certain poignancy in me given the lesson from yesterday.

I did however, get home IN THE DAYLIGHT - amazing - and I did also manage to catch sight of this magnificent almond tree in full spring blossom as I walked home. I felt like I'd stepped into the pages of Anne of Green Gables for a moment. Look at the way the walkway is carpeted in flower petals, like floral confetti. The tree looks like it's celebrating something - a wedding between two birds? The lengthening afternoons as we wend our way towards the long-awaited arrival of daylight saving?

So I took a photo of it, I did, so I could share it with you and you could see how lovely it was too. And maybe looking at it you feel the first stirrings of spring, like I did today when I left work IN THE DAYLIGHT and could actually feel the faintest breath of warmth left in the air, and maybe like me you'll get a big smile on your face and maybe your family will see how joyful you are and maybe they'll feel joyful too and all the squabbles and stresses and anxieties and irritations will be left to one side for a moment and everyone will just enjoy the beauty of the moment?

Spring, it's coming. And verrily, it is Good. Yea.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The golden evening stars

During the leadership course I recently finished, we had to do an exercise one day called a "sensory walk".

It's where you think about a problem or an issue you might have, and you take a walk outside. You have to look at your surroundings and really notice them. Then, you have to choose something that forces a positive metaphorical connection between the situation you're thinking of, and what you observe.

It's a process that makes you reframe your problems as opportunities, using your environment as the stimulus.

So for example, I looked at a big pile of horse poo on the street and thought: fertiliser.

I saw the tram tracks and thought about the professional journey I'm on: that it seems like it's in a rut, but that I can change it just by exercising free will, my right to choose, and getting on or off the "tram" in a different place.

A sensory walk is a really stimulating right-brain activity that forces you to think creatively about the blocks in your way. And finding a metaphor for the issue often results in you coming up with a solution. Or at the very least, a new appreciation for a different way at looking at the problem.

Reframing issues is what I do for a living, except I do it for corporations. With a naturally optimistic "glass half full" outlook, it's no coincidence that I've cultivated a career where I get to flex this muscle on a daily basis. It's part of who I am - though of course, like everyone, I get down in the doldrums too, and I can find it just as hard to wrest myself out of that spiral as the next person.

But I think I must have taken the sensory walk lesson on board and really ingrained it in my mind.

Because today, when I was walking to the station in the howling wind; along a path I walk every single day, I suddenly found myself looking at something I'd never noticed before. It's a very industrial wasteland, the path I walk, almost completely un-beautiful, and I look at it on my way home and I see nothing but a tangle of railway tracks, crappy old buildings, dirt and grime.

Today though, for some reason I looked up at a certain point, and I stopped walking - because in amongst the rubbish and the detritus of the urban space, I saw this building etched with golden stars.

Looking closer, I could see that the stars are always there, part of the exterior wall, but that you have to look at them at the exact moment the angle of the sun hits them in the right way, in order to see them glowing so beautifully in the fading light.

And I felt so wonderful, to have looked through the landscape differently, and to have finally, properly seen.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Hat hat hatty

First wet.

Then windy. Lots and lots (and lots) of windy.

Then in rapid succession: sunny, then windy, then wet and windy, then sunny and windy, then wetty. Then wind. Gah! Lucky I was not wearing a hat.

This is the weather we had today in Melbourne, which was NOT great for our outdoor Shirt and Skirt Market. Luckily we were able to move inside out of the rain (and the wind and the wet and the wetty wind), however I think the weather probably kept a few people away, as it was quite quiet indoors. I didn't sell my first thing until well after twelve noon, and that's pretty unusual for me.

Still, the upside is that I have lots of stock ready for my next market at Rose St! Ah, what a blessing these rose-coloured spectacles of mine can be ....

And because it was quiet, I got to wander around and drink in my fill of other people's wonderful crafty, creative stuff. I think my favourite was meeting Oska, Imogen and Atticus from the fantastic Truffaux hats-of-style stall. Here's Oska, to the left.

Check out their website at , especially the whole photobooth thing (you'll understand when you get to there). It's wonderful and unique, and their hats are too.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

A herd of Catticus, and two vintage suitcases

Another busy week at work, another four days goes past without a blog post .... I'm very sorry! I must do better, I know. And what happens when I don't post regularly? I end up with loads of news I need to cram into a tiny little space, and that's not satisfactory for anyone, certainly not me.

So today I'm going to edit. I'm going to show you the two lovely, beautiful amazing vintage suitcases I found recently - they're the perfect thing for my weekend markets.

I'm usually at a loss when it comes to making my market stall look nice ... I just pile things up higgledy-piggledy and hope it all kinda comes together. And I carry all my goodies around in horrible plastic tubs, which I hate, and every time I pick them up it sort of makes my skin crawl with the sheer utilitarian aspect of it.

BUT, a few days ago I was in Collingwood for work, and I stopped by a fantastic second-handery on the way home, and look at what I found! Two fan-TAS-tic vintage suitcases.

Exhibit A: the blue one is a lovely deep square, and inside it are a few pages of a newspaper from 1964 which depict "a guide to birds" .. and of course they mean the female kind of "bird", not an actual bird. It's so sexist and inappropriate, I love it. I'm keeping that a secret for now and will post a bit about it later in the week.

Exhibit B: the second suitcase - I absolutely adore this, since it's orange leather. And everyone knows that orange is my favouritest colour in the whole wide world. And how often do you find an orange suitcase, let's be honest? I'm completely rapt with this one already, and I've only owned it two days. It's become my new mascot.

I carried these home from Collingwood, and had the strangest sensation from the handle of the blue one .... it vibrated in my hand all the way home, almost like it was singing to me with happiness from having been found, and as if it was really happy to be coming home with me. It was a lovely feeling!

I think these are the perfect things to display (and carry to and from the market) my toys. Look at all the new Catticus in the blue one, don't they look great?? It really shows them off to their best advantage, and the most fabulous thing is that they all pack inside it perfectly. Ideal for market transport!!

All the new Catticus will be with me at the Shirt and Skirt Market tomorrow. The weather is meant to be a bit rubbish, so I'm not sure how many people will come down .... so if you're not doing anything, why not pop by?

It would be great to see you - and then I can show off the suitcases in person!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Close but no cigar .....

Lovely new reddy-pinky-salmony-terracotta-ish wide-legged pants - hemmed, topstitched, finished? Check.

Fabulous new Catticus in brilliant Joel Dewberry Spade Damask in Mulberry from the Ginseng home dec range? Check.

Bright and cheerful doorstops in candy-coloured canvas stripes, all filled with sand and stitched closed? Check.

Gorgeous new - well, vintage, but I just bought it on ebay so it feels new to me - lolly-yellow fabric in stripes with little pink flowers and grass-green embroidery doodads? Check.

Camera battery? ba-BOW!!!!!!!!!!! (to imitate the Family Feud bad-buzzer-noise)

Charging, of course. Sigh ......

Monday, August 10, 2009

Feeding the Fathead (and trying not to!)

Ah, another Monday, another day spent swimming in the stinking, toothless yaw of paid employment .....

But really I shouldn't complain. (And yet I do - I do!!) I'm just glad to be home now, surrounded by the furry babies and my sewing projects.

It's very cold this evening, and the babies were all inside when I got home. Fathead greeted me like a shark, eddying around my ankles and looking up at me with giant saucer eyes, desperate to be fed as soon as possible. He just about tripped me up as I came in the front door and stuck close to my legs as I went into the bedroom.

Diet chompies dispensed (he ate a couple and miaowed in dissatisfaction), I changed out of my work outfit and headed down to the kitchen - Fatpuss hot on my heels - to feed Podae and Grimth, who are both still allowed to eat their normal food.

I doled out two big globs of kangaroo mince and they tucked in. Poor old Fatpuss sat there woefully, looking terribly sad and bewildered. Why me? he seemed to ask. What did I do wrong? How come they get the nice food and I get cardboard pellets? Don't you love me any more?

I swear, if that cat could talk I couldn't possibly demonstrate the resolve I do. I stayed strong, made sure the other two ate their dinner, fended off the Fathead when he tried to ram his head in and get some .... it was exhausting. Check out the expression on his face in the photo.

When they finished I collapsed in a crumpled heap and ate six chocolate chip cookies out of sheer stress and guilt. The diet might be working for Fatpuss but it's certainly not working for me - who is the *true* Fathead in this situation?!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

A Very Busy Weekend

I'm shagged. It's been a Very. Busy. Weekend. Look here at what I did.

First I made some lovely new heatpacks for the Skirt and Shirt Market next weekend in Abbotsford. I found the lovely black and white ticking a week ago and it is the PERFECT THING for my heatpack designs. You can't go wrong when you team one-third bright colourful print with two-thirds classic black and white stripes. You just can't.

Then I finished off two Appleblossom Hoots.

Then I made a pair of pants for myself - no photo because they still need to be hemmed. And also, because they are PANTS and therefore I would need to photograph the below-the-waist portion of me to show you them, and I am currently in despair about everything below-the-waist of me (oh, and ok, the waist itself too) and therefore there will be No Photos Of The New Pant. Not unless I miraculously wake up one day and find I'm half my current size. Then I will happily put on the new pant and photograph it hanging loosely off me.

I digress. I made four new doorstops, and completed two Perfect Pencilrolls.

Then I put the finishing touches to a lovely HOME cushion I've made to order, using wonderful Warwick upholstery fabric for the body, and Liberty print cottons for the letters.

And I also finished off some new Catticus toys, and listed a whole pile of clothes and shoes on eBay (refer to previous lunatic comment about below-the-waist aspect of self), and completed a couple of new products I will show you in coming days. I'm exhausted! I need a weekend to recover from my weekend.

Oh, and we also went to see the new Aussie film Beautiful Kate, I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Another step closer to sewing nirvana

I have a bit of a headache tonight (that is a massive, massive understatement) so this is a very short post, for which I apologise. I hope to be back to tip-top form tomorrow with any luck, and I promise to write more then.

So in the interim, here are photos of my new skirt, which I made to Anna Maria Horner's "Study Hall Skirt" pattern.

It's absolutely terrific - the pattern that is - and I highly recommend it to all of you who enjoy the slightly schoolgirl look of box pleats. And ok, so even though my waist measurements are clearly muuuuuch larger than the skinny girl featured on the front cover of the pattern, the primary beauty of this skirt is that it looks good on any shape.

Here I used a graphic stretch cotton for the main body of the skirt. I've had this piece of fabric for about three years now, and it's just lain patiently in the cupboard waiting for me to find the right vehicle for it. And I think you'll agree the wait was worth it.

For the box pleats, I've used a remnant of azure-blue raw silk that's been in the cupboard for just about as long.... in fact, I think I bought it two years ago at Cleg's Christmas time remnant sale. It perfectly matches the blue colour round the flower "eyes" in the printed cotton.

I'm really happy with the way this skirt turned out. So happy in fact, that if I saw this exact same skirt in a shop, I would want to buy it. That is a huge compliment from myself to me, if I do say so!!

This skirt brings me a little bit closer to sewing nirvana ... that is, the first garment I create where I don't make a little mistake somewhere. I've been sewing for years and I always, ALWAYS manage to bugger something up (on this skirt I cut one of the panels a few millimetres shorter than the other, so there is a minor jagged edge on the side seam where they don't quite match up perfectly, but you can hardly see it).

I'm not there yet and it may take me forever to reach it, but I am - as ever - hopeful.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Introducing .... Slow Moe

Hello. I am the Stegasaurus Ribbonus, from the Cretaceous Creatures age.

But you can call me Slow Moe.

I existed in ancient times, when I would mosey along the ribbon riverbank and pull up ribbony weeds to chew eeeeeeever soooo sloooooowly. They're what gives me my wonderful ribbon colours.

At night I would sleep in a nest made out of lace and braid, snuggled in next to the French knots with my snores gently punctuating the night air. Fern fronds would curl around me.

But I'm not just a pretty face, you know. These ribbons aren't just decoration, they're my defence as well. I'm slow-moving freight, so I need something to protect myself with, and these dandies do the job just fine. What pterodactyl would swoop down on me and try to get through these babies?

And I'm pretty thick-skinned too - everybody says so. Sticks and stones, insults, criticism, you name it - they just roll right off me, thanks to this textured hide. It's made from teal upholstery fabric by Warwick Fabrics. Isn't it the perfect colour?

I've moved to Sydney already to live with the Sober Judge and the Sister Of My Heart, but you'll be able to see one of my long-lost cousins in person at the Skirt and Shirt market down at Abbotsford Convent on Sunday 16 August. Come by and say hi .... I've had no one to talk to for thousands of years, ever since I've been extinct, and I'm looking forward to a bit of conversation.

But now it's time to go. I've got an appointment to get to, and if I don't shift my butt I'll be late.

They don't call me Slow Moe for nothing, you know.

(Plus, I only have two legs. Seeya.)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

In which I apologise for an unexpected absence ....

My goodness it's been a busy couple of days - so much to tell you about!

I've been absent from blogging (here is the apology: I'm very sorry, I really am) as the Sister Of My Heart has been visiting me in Melbourne - and we've been flat out doing lots of sitting around, reading, chatting, and eating bits of chocolate. Okay, that's not all we've done - there's been a bit of shopping, sewing and cooking thrown in there too.

Today, for example, we went to the Rose St market so I could do a reconnaisance of the venue - I'm exhibiting there at the end of August and wanted to check out the facilities so I can plan the best stock to bring and think about how to put together my stall. It was lovely running into the gals from Scrumptious, and seeing Babushka Baby and the lovely Fontok, plus a few familiar faces from other markets around the traps. And I've got some good ideas for how I can put things together on the 30th, so you'll just have to come and visit me to see how it all pans out.

Along the way we also scoured a few op shops and I scored two fantastic vintage dresses I'm going to tweak, plus an amazing orange belt I promise to show off in an upcoming post. I'm taking inspiration from the amazing Gina at Clutterpunk, whose talent for refashioning clothes is awe-inspiring. I'm not quite at the point where I can renounce all new purchases for six months, but I'm certainly impressed by her ability to do so.

Speaking of Gina, she has also won herself a little prize by being the first person to donate to my Great Apron Gathering call - I received a lovely little parcel in the mail on Friday, and inside were the two lovely pieces here in the photographs.

The one to the left here is a little waist apron made from a pillowslip, with two cute pockets in the front (beautifully modelled by the Sister Of My Heart).

And the picture at the top of this post is a fabulously colourful tablecloth which will make an IDEAL apron, being the exact perfect size for it - again, modelled by the Sister Of My Heart (yes, those are her eyebrows you can see behind the tablecloth .....).

I was going to start on the tablecloth this weekend, but then we got sidetracked with another project I'll post a photo of tomorrow ...... so check back then to see what it is!