Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Geseende Kersfees

This is 'merry Christmas' in Afrikaans, but literally means 'blessed Christmas', and is my wish to you. Hope you are blessed with good friends and family and peace and goodwill this Christmas. See you in the new year!

Monday, December 22, 2008


Look at all the goodies I got at Kraftbomb yesterday; I did a bit of Christmas shopping for myself. First up is the gorgeous t-shirt I've been lusting after since Craftwerk, it's screen-printed by Ellie Smith. I got myself one of Olivia's little owls in a trade, but it seems my youngest thinks it was a present for him! The covered matchbox is by Ran with Scissors, perfect for our temperamental gas stove, and the oilcloth-covered diary is by uhmmm, really can't remember... Have a look at this page if you want to see lots of photos of the market, it's by Sugar Lemon Sweetheart, who makes very cool kitschy stuff. If you look through them, you'll see a dorky pic of myself, with my lovely neighbour Anna the Collar-Maker.

I did really well yesterday; it seems my journals are becoming more popular, and I'm almost out of badges. Thanks so much if you bought something off me, you're a star! I also sold some stock to a very cute little shop in Swanson, right opposite the Swanson railway station. Check it out if you're going to Bethel's this summer, it's called 'Let's go retro'. It's full of kiwiana, collectables, buttons, and my books.

Now I can finally start thinking about my family's Christmas. I baked (no, slightly burnt) a fruit cake today, tomorrow it's tipsy tart (baked pud with brandy and vanilla sauce), and then it's Christmas Eve. And now it's bed. Goodnight to you.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Night owl

Craig was at a work party last night, so I stayed up until 12.30, happily making stuff. I love working at night when the house is quiet, but I don't normally do it, so last night I had a good chance to go all out. I made some stocking fillers - a few hairclips and a pompom necklace. I got the idea for the hairclips from this tutorial in Craftzine, and made the necklace from pom poms my sister sent me earlier in the year.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Santa's helper

Just made a few more Christmas pressies; one's a bag on order for a friend, two little birds for my smallest monkey, Joshua, and a few pouches for this Sunday's Kraftbomb.
The birds were a lot of fun, even though I had no idea what I was doing! I might do a bit of a tutorial about it in the new year so you too can make a t-shirt applique!! Are you as excited as I am? I hope so...
And here are my pouches, with a pen for size. A few people have been surprised about their size; thought they were much smaller. No, they're just right for pens, chocolate bars, cellphones, just not small dogs, ok.

Monday, December 15, 2008

New books, pt 2

Oh no, can't believe I forgot about this. Check out my favourite page from one of my new journals ('Woobinda, Animal Doctor'). It says 'Tiggy is bright, excels at most sports, wears modern clothes and likes to keep herself sun-tanned'. How cool, somebody just like me!!

New books

I haven't had time to post about my new notebooks yet, so here goes. Got 20 made last week, with some real classics like 'The little red caboose', 'The shy little kitten', 'Thumper' and heaps more. This time I've included a little pouch made from the title page of each book, so people can put all their little pieces of paper in there while checking who wrote and illustrated it, and when. Really, that's what I always do! They're for sale on endemic, or see me at Kraftbomb this Sunday.

Friday, December 12, 2008

underpants and anniversaries

Last night was great!! It was my most successful market so far (don't know if everybody was just in frantic Christmas shopping mode or not!), and I almost sold out of pouches and stickers, also had lots of badge sales. So if you bought something from me last night, bless you and thanks so much :)

It was also a very special night; Craig and I realised earlier this week that it's our 9th wedding anniversary yesterday. He joined me at my stall, and we had a very crafty celebration of sorts; it was so nice to have him see my other world. He never gets a chance to come to Kraftbomb with me, because somebody has to look after the kids! Thanks Craig for being such a great guy; 9 years have really flown by :)

I also realised that this time last year I had just started making softies and peg-doll Christmas decorations, and started looking at selling at markets. A year on, I feel so lucky to have the chance to be a non-stop creative (can't call it a full-time job now, can we?), and am wondering where to go with Ruby in the Dust. Retail shops have such high mark-ups that handmade products end up being too expensive, and Etsy isn't doing much for me. Pricing things in US$ just doesn't seem fair to the NZ buyer, so I'm thinking about our equivalent, Felt. I think I'll continue with the markets and maybe a couple of online shops; I really enjoy the sense of community at a craft market.

Speaking of community, my neighbours last night were really cool. Ran with Scissors (love that name!) on one side and Sarah from the Sustainable Business Network (?) selling very popular undies made from fabric remnants on the other. OK, gotta go, hopefully I'll be at Kraftbomb next Sunday, so there's a lot of things to get sewn before then...

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Yes Craftwerk!

OK, so I'm in. That means no more blogging; only crafting for the next week. Maybe also some cooking and eating, but definitely no cleaning or tidying. So if you see some very dirty little boys this week, they may be mine! See you at Craftwerk on Thursday night, St Kevin's Arcade, K'Rd, 6-10. Here's some more pouches I managed to finish this weekend: Adios amigos.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Craftwerk? Please?

Hoping to get into the next Craftwerk (in a week's time), but then I'll have to work more than a bit this weekend! Made a start today and finished four little embroidered pouches with contrasting backs. Really love the little orange flowers; it's so fresh and springy (is that even a word?).I've also developed a new satchel pattern, and might make a few of them. This one's made out of a woollen blanket and lined with a sheet, a bit like a bed in a bag, you know. I might use this green tape as a strap; will have to see tomorrow.

Just a quick link before I forget: I've just stumbled upon another great craft site called Craftzine. It's full of great ideas and things to make; a site you can waste a whole evening on, if you're anything like me... Projects seem quite easy, except for the knitted horse head (!). This looks like a bit of me:

Monday, December 1, 2008

More about Kraftbomb

I think that last post ended a bit abruptly; forgot to finish it off after adding the pics! Just wanted to say that I was told about a coming craft/art exhibition that sounds really cool. It's on Saturday the 13th, at the Royal Horticultural Society Hall (opposite the Auckland Zoo and MOTAT). I can't find these guys online at all; have looked in the past, but it's organised by Edward & Sons. Very mysterious people. I think we'll be there, I love crafty art. And arty craft.

Speaking of that, I love these tiles by Anmea Hoskin (littleladies). She was at Kraftbomb yesterday, and her stall was gorgeous. She prints her 50's style paintings on tiles, and giftwraps it very nicely in vintage wallpaper. Look at her work here.

Great weekend!

Best bits of this weekend:
  1. camping at Muriwai under a BIG pohutukawa tree

  2. hanging out with friends in the sun

  3. black sand between your toes

  4. meeting Tracey Williams at Kraftbomb

  5. selling lots of goodies at K'bomb

Here's a couple of pictures of my latest creations I didn't have time to post last week. The birds were photographed in another Pohutukawa, very close to flowering. I had so much fun making them, and wonder whether they would do well as craft kits. I might try to make a few packs for the next market, so people can make their own little birdies.

These pouches were made from vintage embroidery fabric I had left over from my badges, or bigger pieces that weren't suitable for badges. I sold three of them yesterday.

Oh yes, and here's a picture of my stall. It was very full, maybe a bit too much, but I managed to fit everything in. Kraftbomb really went off yesterday; it was so busy, with everybody trying to get their shopping done before Christmas. Once again, I had so much fun meeting buyers and crafters, and was so impressed with all the great work out there. It's very interesting to see how many of us like the same materials, but use them in such different ways. My neighbours this time were Louise, who makes very lovely necklaces from old teaspoons, and Saira from Paper Fish, whose shark softies are really adorable.

I started chatting with Tracey Williams, a very talented local artist, while she was looking at my journals. She creates very delicate images with household objects used in a new context, very gothic NZ.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Kraftbomb is here

Wow, I've been too busy to take any photos of my new work, or tell you all about my awesome op-shopping in Hamilton last weekend! Will do that on Monday, but now I'm off to do some more work for Sunday's Kraftbomb (ooh, I've made gorgeous things...). We're going camping this weekend, so there'll be no crafting from tomorrow afternoon; only sitting in the sun with a Summer Ale, yay. Catching up with some good friends, eating an early Christmas dinner, secret Santa pressies, cooked breakfast, what could be better? See you at Kraftbomb!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008


I've been too busy talking about myself; it's time to move the spotlight to some deserving others. First on my list is Thrift to Fantasy , a book I've been meaning to write about for a while now. It's mainly about NZ textile handcrafts in the 30's to 50's, but there's so much more to this book than just pretty pictures of embroidery. Rosemary McCloud is a very experienced journalist and collector of handcrafts from this era, and tells a very personal story of the women in her family and their reasons for crafting. It's a beautiful book, and the only local one I know of that looks at textile craft from a social historical point of view. Read more about it here. I've scanned a couple of pages, one containing tea cosies. Sam, your nanna would love this :)

You might have noticed an emerging fascination with embroidery in my recent posts. It's now almost full-blown, but I haven't done much about it except read. Tomorrow I will do something constructive, when I try to locate a local shop with crewel wool. I find cotton embroidery thread so hard to work with with my limited skill level, and crewel wool seems to be the answer. Just look at the beautifully simple designs in this inspiring book:

Finally: if you like sewing/quilting/knitting/crochet, but feel you need some help, I've found the best site with loads of great, easy-to-follow tutorials using Really Beautiful Fabric. Some projects are very simple, but so effective, like this bunting, or party garland, as they call it. I'm a fan. Of the Purl Bee.
Hope you have a great weekend!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Been busy

This past weekend I made two monkeys, one successful snowman after many failed attempts, one bag, and not much else...

Friday, November 14, 2008


I blew my op-shopping budget a bit today, but there was no way I was going to leave these in the shop...

I got a tablecloth with 4 matching napkins and 2 tray cloths with 3 matching napkins, all for $18. What really blows my mind is that somebody thought these amazing pieces of embroidery were worthless enough to just give away. Somebody must have spent weeks making this and I find it so sad that her relatives can't appreciate the value of such beautiful handcrafts (surely it's not the embroiderer herself who's clearing out the good linen...). Just in case you're wondering, these will not be cut into, but remain part of my 'good' collection that will be aired at the next tea party.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


My friend Nonnie went on a bit of a spy mission today, with camera in hand. Here's a couple of photos of my girls hanging out in TC Kids.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

First new angel

I finished the first tree topper today (she's the front naked angel on the photo in the previous post). I'm still deciding on a name and whether she needs a flower in her hair (I think so). But I do know that I love the skirt... That green is one of my favourite colours. The belt is hand-embroidered cross-stitch I found in an op shop a while ago, while the flower on her top was cut from a bigger crochet doily and the trim around her neck from a frayed old tray cloth. Amazing what you can find in second-hand shops! I'm thinking of putting her in my shop, but am not sure of a price yet; she took so long to put together. I might work on the other angel tomorrow, but then again, I might just lie on the hammock with my boys, enjoying the beautiful spring weather...

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Some more angels

It's been so long since I've made the last doll, so I thought I'd better blog the progress of my new dolls. I had a lot of trouble finding a good stand for my first angel; had her standing on a pasta-sauce jar for ages! Then I found a good tutorial on etsy on how to make a cone for a tree-topper, and now I'm sorted. I made two more angels, and here they are, ready for outfits and hair. Can't wait to work on them tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Today I'm having a little celebration: I've finally opened my Etsy shop, and it wasn't nearly as painful as I expected it to be! I'm adding stock over the course of this week, so it's still pretty empty. I've listed some handbags and stickers, with books and badges to follow soon. With all the rain and overcast weather we've been having, I've been finding it hard to get enough light for good photos.

Another reason to celebrate: after a lengthy delay, my dolls are finally in the Trelise Cooper Kids' store. I cannot begin to describe the angst I've had over those little ladies, but it seems it was unnecessary. The buyer really seems to like them, and let's hope the customers do too :)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

This is...a recipe I'd like to share

I love this cake so much, I had to bake it again just to make sure it's still as delicious as I remember. And now I can guarantee you it is... It's a moist coconut and pineapple cake, and can easily become a dessert with the addition of the very rich and delicious sauce. By the way, when chilled, that sauce tastes and looks just like the caramel you can buy in cans (cooked condensed milk?), so would be a good cake topping or filling. Anyway, here's the recipe. If anyone tries it, please let me know what you thought of it :)
Pineapple coconut cake
1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
1 1/4 cups dessicated coconut
1 3/4 cups caster sugar
125g butter, melted
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
440g can crushed pineapple, drained
1. Combine dry ingredients, make a well in the centre and stir in butter, eggs, milk and vanilla essence until combined.
2. Spread half the mixture into a greased 22cm cake tin, scatter pineapple over the mixture, then pour remaining mixture on top.
3. Bake 60-70 min at 180 degrees Celcius, until cooked. (test with skewer; although it's a moist cake, skewer needs to come out clean)
4. Serve by itself, or with sauce.
Caramel sauce
1 tablespoon custard powder
375ml can evaporated milk ('light' is fine)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup golden syrup
Combine custard powder with 1/4 cup of evaporated milk in a small saucepan. Add remaining evaporated milk, sugar and syrup. Stir over low heat until sauce boils and thickens.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Buttons and a bag

I made this shoulder bag from a beautiful old tablecloth, and delivered it to its new owner today. Hope you have a great birthday tomorrow, Emily! Also had some time today to make a necklace for a Christmas present. It may seem a bit early, but this year Christmas will not secretly sneak up on me as it usually does!

Monday, October 27, 2008


I had so much fun at Kraftbomb yesterday; it's always great to meet new crafters and see old favourites. I'll have to borrow pics from the Kraftbomb site when they post it; I was too busy to take any myself. The hall was full of the coolest things: cupcakes, button jewellery, little kids' clothing, lots of softies, Barbie clothing (seemed very popular!), cards, collars... Which leads me to my own purchase for the day: this beautiful collar from Violet&May . Anna was my Craftwerk neighbour months ago, and again yesterday. Check out her other work on Toggle. It's the perfect little accessory, don't you think? I also saw the lovely Olivia from Lily'smakebelieve, finally met Lies from Anemone, and had a very nice new neighbour called Morgan, all the way from Hamilton. There's such a great crafting community here in Auckland, I feel very happy to be part of.
Thanks too to all my customers who all have such good taste! I sold quite a few things, and am already making a new bag design which may feature at the next market. See you there:)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Mostly paper

Here's my notebooks! I'm very happy with the result; really hope to sell a few on Sunday. I've used vintage Golden Books (all pre-1975) and got them bound into notebooks with blank pages. I included a few original pages between the blanks and made some stickers from the remaining illustrations for every book. Although it's not an original idea, I haven't seen it in NZ yet, so hope not to be treading on anyone's toes.

I've had a very good fossick in the op shops this morning, and found some more Golden Books for my next collection, plus some fabric and a gorgeous kids' book with lino-cut illustrations. But the best buy of the day was new, the wonderful 'Thrift to Fantasy'. Found it on special and had to have it. I'll write a proper post about it sometime in the week, don't have enough time right now to do this book justice.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

It's almost time for Kraftbomb, yay! Feels like I've been very slack about it, compared to the frenzy I worked myself into for Kraftwerk! (Maybe I've learnt a lesson, because then I ended up being sick for weeks and weeks.) But this time, I have more stock, and didn't spend so much time in front of the sewing machine. Look at these stickers my sticker machine and I have been making, plus my lovely embroidered badges (which, by the way, weren't all embroidered by me!). I'm also waiting for some books I'm getting bound, will post them on the weekend.

My boy, Daniel, is such a good helper in the kitchen, I made him his own little apron from a vintage Yogi Bear sheet. Here he is looking cute and modeling said apron.

If you're in Auckland this coming Labour weekend, don't forget about Kraftbomb!! 11 till 2 on Sunday at Grey Lynn Community Centre, with heaps of cool people selling amazing crafts. Certainly nothing like the church fair (although I have nothing against a good church fair, especially the baking and preserves table!).

Saturday, October 18, 2008

This is...my current reading material

I've joined a meme called This Is, which involves posting something on a given topic, every Sunday. Now I'm sure I'll have trouble being that organised, but it's nice to have a subject to write about, a bit like Creative Writing at school. (Which I'm feeling a bit sentimental about, as it's my High School reunion this weekend, and I'm on the other side of the world...)

Anyway, I've been so busy these past few months; I haven't read a good book since who knows when. So my reading matter is very practical: today I read the pikelet recipe from Edmonds for the 1000th time (I should know it off by heart by now), and this past week I've been reading a 1970's pinafore pattern for my niece Carly's 2nd birthday. It's a bit different using an old pattern: they had massive seam allowances, and finished seams off with bias binding. You can see the finished product here; I'm quite pleased with it, can't wait to see it on Carly tomorrow.