Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Finding inspiration

Sometimes I get the itch to start a new project but lack a bit of direction. What to make? Something big and time
consuming or something little and satisfying? For me, it all starts in my head. I start tossing up ideas, thinking about fabrics, books, colours. But if I can't actually settle on a project, I do the the following:

Make a cup of tea.

Crack open my inspiration books. These are five notebooks full of images taken from magazines, newspapers and the web of anything creative that catches my eye from a particular shade of pink on a cupcake to the way a curtain falls. I started the first book about six years ago and I'm still going.
It's a great way to have everything that appeals to me in one place. Whenever I happen to be in an op-shop, I always look for
magazines - old copies of Inside Out, Real Living and Vogue Living are always worth snapping up.

Check out my favourite websites: Meet Me At Mikes, Loobylu, Posie Gets Cozie, Craftapooloza, Du Buh Du Design, High Up In The Trees, Jane Brocket, Make+Meaning are just some of the creative blogs that never fail to strike a spark.

Trawl through my Japanese Craft books. These are a lot easier to get these days, especially via ebay.
Great photos, wonderful step-by-step instructions, these aren't cheap but I find them endlessly inspiring.

Sketch. Here's the thing. I can't draw to save myself but picking up a pencil and making lines on a page helps me to loosen up. Often the project I end up making has nothing to do with sketching but somehow it's all connected.

Take photos. I carry a Canon IXUS everywhere I go.

7. Read the latest and back issues of Mixtape. This is a little craft magazine published in Australia and every issue is packed with diverse stories about crafting, books, recipes and music. It's a corker and worth every cent.

8. Listen to Craftsanity - a weekly crafty pod-cast by Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood.

What about you?

What do you do to get needle, hook, paint brush, pencil going?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Beach Day Feeling

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Sunday's Kitchen

Last Sunday Em and I went to the launch of Sunday's Kitchen by Lesley Harding and Kendrah Morgan. In Sunday Reed's garden at Heide (at the Museum of Modern Art), in the blazing sun, this gorgeous book got its start in the world.

Part cookbook, part social history, Sunday's Kitchen is all about the domestic and artistic lives of a group of artists (Sidney Nolan, Albert Tucker, Arthur Boyd, Joy Hester, John Perceval, Charles Blackman and countless others) who met regularly at Heide to share in the lives of Sunday and John Reed.

Sunday and John were living sustainably long before it became popular. They grew their own vegies, milked their own cows, made butter, bread, preserves and used their way of life to cultivate and support an artistic circle of visual artists, poets and writers right up until their deaths in 1981. John died of cancer in December and Sunday died just ten days later. Every day at 4pm, Sunday would have 'Arvo Tea' which, ''signalled not only the end of a day's work, but also a forum for intelligent conversation and debate''.

Today the original house, now a gallery, still stands. My favourite room is the library/lounge. This is where the Reeds would sit after dinner, smoking, drinking and talking. It's not a big room but the walls are lined with books and somehow it feels like the heart of the house.

Here are some photos from Sunday's Kitchen.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Quilt+2dogs=potential disaster

So. I'd never made a quilt before. A few pre-cutting nerves and soon I had a neat(ish) stack of squares. Sew, sew, zip, zip. I get half the top done and decide I need more squares. I hang my half made-quilt over the back of my chair and start thinking about colours and prints. More flowers? Some stripes? The dogs had been in the craft room all morning. Outside it was pouring down in heavy sheets. I'm still pondering when I see a flash of colour out the corner of my eye.

That's when the screaming began.

Toby (Jack Russell) has one end of my quilt.
Mouse (Fox Terreir) has the other.
They are pulling in opposite directions.

Some sort of Crafting Miracle took place because I managed to gently extract it from their bitey jaws in one piece.

Now I know why quilting is so difficult.

Anyway. The whole thing took me all day but I was happy with it in the end. There's no lovely top-stitching or binding. And I don't think it'll be handed down from one generation to the next - but it's official. I've made my first quilt and not even dogs could stop me.

POSTSCRIPT: SNAP! For more dog vs quilt go to Posie Gets Cozy

Some Books I've Really Enjoyed

  • Apples For Jam by Tessa Kiros
  • Saturday by Ian McEwan
  • Philip Larkin: A Writer's Life by Andrew Motion
  • The Bell Jar by Syliva Plath
  • Ex Libris by Anne Fadiman
  • Stasiland by Anna Funder

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Living, reading, crafting, taking photos, writing.