Wednesday, June 30, 2010

in between the clouds ...

 ... there was some sun today, so I managed to take some new photo's of my fabric ...

I got this vintage yardage estimator on ebay (from the States) a while ago - it actually works pretty well too. Fabric available here.

Monday, June 28, 2010

natural design ...

I bought these at the green grocer this morning - I love the shape, texture and colours ...

The sign on the bucket said "Hakea Peach", but I can't find any references for that name anywhere. Perhaps some more plant savvy readers can help? I'm going to try and find the time this week to have a play around with some designs, using these beautiful shapes as a spring-board.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

vintage spice ...

I snaffled these at the Camberwell Market this morning ... I love everything about them ...

They remind me of a tea towel design I never really finished a while ago. See what others have found this week, here. Have a great Sunday!

Friday, June 25, 2010

uuummm ... my computer sucks .... any advice?

Yep - my three year old laptop seems to be dying a slow and painful death. It's overheating, turning itself off, and taking FOREVER to load anything (which is why I haven't been doing too much commenting lately - sorry). I'm thinking about getting a Mac - I'm over Windows and all it's background programs and viruses. Any advice or recommendations for a replacement?
This is not my screen (yet), but the idea is a liitle bit appealing! (pic from here)

not everybody blogs!

I know this may come as a shock to regular readers, but not everybody blogs or even reads blogs! This became very evident to me at the Stitches and Craft Show, so I decided to start a newsletter - just every few months - with the latest news, products and ideas (and maybe some special offers once in a while) from Yardage Design. You can sign up too, using the little gadget on the sidebar - over there on the right. Have a great Friday!

P.S. You will need to confirm your newsletter subscription via an email that will be sent to you - sometimes these confirmation emails go to the Junk folder of your inbox, so you might find it there if it doesn't arrive in your inbox seconds after you click "sign up".

Thursday, June 24, 2010

my creative space ... cushions

This week has been a huge week for finishing projects ... which means more time for me to tackle the ever increasing crafty "to do" list. New cushions for the family room have been on the list for months. Last week, I found some really lovely red linen/cotton fabric, so I printed it with a white artichoke flower with the veiw to it becoming a cushion. Yesterday, I got around to actually making it up ...

I make pretty simple envelope style cushions becasue they're quick and easy - here's how ... The printed panel is 45cm x 45 cm, so I decided to back it with some denim. I use a ratio of 1:1.5 when it comes to the backing fabric, using the panel as a pattern (of sorts - see below) ...

Then I cut the demin in half, overlock the edge and press over to form a hem. Then it's just a matter of sewing the hem ... in this case, I used a pretty, fancy stitch in a contrasting thread ...

Do that to both peices of demin. Then, with all of the right sides facing each other, pin your cushion together ...

Once you've sewn it around all four edges, overlock it, snip the corners, turn inside out, press and you're done! I use a 18 inch cushion insert for mine, but you could also use a 16 inch.

Once you've made one, you be whipping up heaps of cushions in no time!

ARTichoke fabric panels and Circa fabric available online here. More creative spaces here. Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

red vintage tram roll menu

A variation of this popular tea towel design is now in my shop, or you can buy it in person from Shop Handmade in Canberra. Get in quick - they won't last long!

bias + window love

Still in love with bias binding making - especially with the 25mm gadget. I've been cutting some nice wide strips of fabric to make binding from my red Swizzle fabric ...

It sews beautifully - not too heavy, not too light, and no puckering - hurrah!

Also loving a bit of afternoon sunshine through the bathroom window (my favourite window in the house - we got it from a salvage yard and installed it ourselves when we gutted the bathroom - I love the simple design) ...

Thanks to everyone for the lovely response to my businessy post on Sunday - I wasn't really sure whether people would be interested in that sort of thing or not. I have a few more posts like that up my sleeve for the coming weeks (probably Sundays). Have a great Wednesday!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

what i know about business ... part 1 ... getting started

I’ve only officially been in business for about six months so I’m no expert, but as this blog is my online journal, I wanted to record what I’ve learnt so far – for me to reflect on later, and maybe for others too. Today I thought I’d just start with the theme of getting started.

Until late last year, I didn’t know anything about small business, except that I wanted to have a go at it, so ...
Here’s what I needed to get started:
Inspiration ... I went to the Melbourne Stitches & Craft Show in 2009 and had a light bulb moment as soon as I saw the Incubator section ... there were “others” ... people who liked to make stuff that was cool, who were having a go and were happy to share their stories (thankyou!).
An idea ... I wanted to handprint fabrics with my own designs for use in my home and others if they liked them enough. Arriving back home after being at the Show that day, I found two printing books that I had ordered online a couple of weeks before waiting for me at the front door. With no background in graphic design or printing, I knew it was a sign ... it was meant to be.
Support ... I started blogging, thinking, drawing (I keep a visual diary), and talking about my ideas. I could not have done any of this without the support of my family.
Information ... I spent a whole afternoon at Small Business Victoria (government agency) ... I walked in and said “I’d like to start a small/tiny business. I know nothing about it. Please tell me everything you know”. The people there were wonderful -  I walked out with forms, pamphlets and a clear pathway to becoming a sole trader.
Research ... the internet is a great source of information, suppliers, ideas, inspiration, tax calculators ... you name it! Ask around, get recommendations, check things out for yourself and keep a record of contacts and/or information you might need in the future.
A plan ... I know everyone says it, but you DO need a plan! Don’t call it a business plan if the title freaks you out. My plan was a page long list and lasted 6 months (time for a new one now!). I listed what I wanted to achieve, how I was going to achieve it, how much time/money it would cost and when it would be completed. I’m happy to say that I have done everything in the plan as well as a bit more that I didn’t see coming six months ago. I have found that planning helps me understand the risks and benefits of what I am trying to do, making it easier to make reasonably informed decisions along the way.
Resources ... there are grants and other financial opportunities available to start small businesses (see your local council or government agency). To date I have funded everything myself – saving up to do the next thing in the plan.
Opportunities ... I took every offer of help that was presented to me – many clever people are very generous with their time and expertise. Ask questions.  Also, I have learnt that being in business opens up your eyes to other business ideas and opportunities you may not have noticed/thought of before.
Confidence ... Being true to my ideas and designs.
Connections ... Sharing the journey through my blog and with family and friends has been very rewarding and helpful. A fresh set of eyes is invaluable. Ask for constructive criticism often.

In short, getting started is hard and not hard all at once. I found making the decision the actually do it the hardest ... everything after that was just giving it a go and learning on the job. Loving what you do is the best ingredient for happiness, success and riding the business rollercoaster!

Well, that’s enough rambling for one day. Let me know what you think.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

time to design ...

... often comes very late at night ... here's what I've been playing with tonight ...
... this flower is actually part of a bigger design, but I like it on its own too, and grouped like this. Playing with colours - the usuals - but working on a new palette involving greens - thoughts?

carnival colours

I love the colours in this deck chair canvas I got from Patchwork on Central Park recently - perhaps it's because they seem so summery at a time when I'm a bit sick of the cold and rain ...

I've been using this lovely fabric for a project which you will get to see later in the year, when it will actually be summer! Hope your Thursday is a good one.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

a new toy

This is my new bias binder maker ... I tried it out yesterday for the first time ...

Three steps - cut (a strip of fabric - either on the bias or not), thread (through the gadget), and iron (as the fabric comes out of the gadget). Too easy! I think I'm going to use it to make some colourful binding for my bunting. Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, June 14, 2010

breakfast cake recipe ...

This recipe comes from the book Feeding Fussy Kids, and is delicious ...

I have adapted the recipe slightly from the original ...

Fussy Eaters Breakfast Cake
1 cup bran
450ml milk
1 cup sultanas
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup dried dates (chopped)
1 1/2 cups wholemeal self raising flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
2T wheat germ
2T raw sugar (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius. Grease and line a standard loaf tin.
2. Mix bran, milk, sultanas, cranberries and dates together in a bowl. Set aside to soak for about 45 minutes.
3. Sift the flour into another bowl, add the husks. Add the soaked bran mixture, sugar and wheat germ. Combine well (it is a reasonably stiff mixture - add more milk if it's too stiff to mix).
4. Spoon mixture into loaf tin, sprinkle the top with raw sugar and bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
5. Cool on a wire rack, then enjoy! (it's lovely warm or toasted with a bit of butter on top)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

a little birdy

I found this little birdy brooch by elk at a beautiful little store in Lancefield (about an hour north of Melbourne) called Sea of Love ...

I love the colours and simple design (timber and metal) of this brooch - it will go really well with my new grey coat. Isn't the packaging nice too? Super chilly today - just 6.5 degrees celcius in Lancefield at lunchtime ... brrrrr! It was so lovely to get out of the city, though - the town and the surrounding landscape are just beautiful. Hope you're having a nice weekend!

Friday, June 11, 2010

friday in the studio

Lots of printing going on here in gloomy, wet Melbourne today. A new colour way for the vintage tram roll menu tea towel (will be in the shop next week) ...

... and a hallway full of bunting panels (sorry about the gloomy light - please send sunshine from your place if you can spare it!) ...

Have a lovely weekend where-ever you are!

P.S. How cool is the new and improved preview function for new posts - much better!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

my creative space ... design + colour

I've been drawing quite a lot this week - I seem to be full of design ideas at the moment, so I'm getting them down on paper, then editing them with my trusty red pen ...

I tend to draw, then edit, then draw, then scan, then refine on the computer until I'm happy, then play some more with repeat patterns. It usually takes a couple of weeks to get something to a stage that I might consider printing it, or decide that it needs to be filed in the bin! After that, it's the best bit - colour and fabric choices. Have you seen this nifty tool: create your own colour palette ...

These little tools are great for coming up with colour ideas, and are a bit of fun too! More crafty spaces here!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

bees knees

We had a few minutes of sunshine yesterday, so Little Mister and I made sure we went outside and enjoyed it. I managed to snap this little fella, who was busy as a ....

My other favourite thing from yesterday was giving my new, very large button/magnet fabric covering tool a go. You might remember I had a go at some smaller buttons a few weeks ago (here). Such quick, satifying crafting ...

P.S. You can read an interview with/about me today over at 74 Lime Lane - thanks Kellie!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

win a bunting panel!

I met Annabel from Earthgirl Fabrics at the Stitches & Craft Show, and now she stocks my fabric and craft panels in her lovely online shop ... yay!

To celebrate the launch, she's having a bunting panel giveaway over at her blog - you can read about it and enter here. Entries close on Sunday (13th June). Good luck!

Friday, June 4, 2010


(pic from here)
The most shocking part ... Liza Minelli's legs ... I kid you not! If you are a fan (like me), you will love it. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

my creative space .... experimenting with tote bags

I have been experimenting with printing onto tote bags. Mainly just for myself, as I use them every day and thought I should use one with my own design on it. In the latest attempt, I chose to do a single artichoke in an ink/navy blue colour.

I'm learning that it's all about bag choice. I love the bag in the photo above - it's hemp/organic cotton, gusseted for space, and has long straps - but it's a bit tricky to print on. I can definitely see why people use flat, cotton calico bags! Anyway, despite a couple of bloopers, I got some good results, but I think I'd like to experiment with some different styles of tote bag. Or, just get better at printing on to irregular surfaces!

I'd probably prefer to make my own, but it is very time consuming. What's your favourite style of tote bag?

For more creative spaces, check out Kirsty's place.

P.S. Tie Update - the little tie I made for Little Mister on Tuesday has become a "slithering snake" toy and not a tie after all ... aaaaah kids!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

just like dad!

Today I made Little Mister a tie out of some of my navy Circa fabric ...

I used Simplicity pattern 4762 (boys tie), less than a fat quarter of fabric, a little strip of interfacing and about 45 minutes of time - I'm really happy with the result. Talk about fancy dress-ups!

I'm working my way up to a full-sized version for Mr Yardage ... stay tuned!

tuesday in the kitchen ... spaghetti with fennel, chilli, lemon and breadcrumbs

I made this for dinner last night ...

I found the recipe in the latest issue of delicious magazine, so the recipe isn't online yet (but will be in a few weeks). I actually followed the recipe properly for this one as it was the first time I've ever cooked with fennel. The only thing I changed was the type of pasta - I used spaghetti, but the recipe said capellini (which is basically a very thin spaghetti). It was really easy to make, as well as light, zesty, fresh-tasting and a nice mix of textures with the chilli breadcrumbs (poor man's parmesan). Definitely worth a try!