Sunday, August 29, 2010

we're all going on an op shop holiday

What kind of person begins researching en-route Op Shop locations the moment her family's holiday destination is planned?

What kind of person carefully hand-draws maps of each little town to assist in locating said Op-shops (and even does a little Google street-viewing to be sure?)

and WHAT KIND OF PERSON gets so excited about the trip that she remembers all her Op Shop maps, and leaves the directions to the holiday house back at home?


(luckily my memory served us well, and we found the house without a hitch, enjoying a fun, if cold and windy, holiday!)

Pop over to Her Library Adventures for lots of lovely finds.

PS: if you like finger puppets, you might want to check out my tiny giveaway here...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

my creative space - books, books, books, books, books

It's Children's Book Week (as the parents of school-age children are probably all too painfully aware!)
I love books, and I remember loving Book Week as a child - here I am with my sister dressed up as Mary Poppins (with umbrella out of view) with my sister as Rapunzel (you can see a bit of her "long golden hair" wrapped around her arm).

I also love using books as inspiration to make things - so here's a little collection of some of my favourite book-inspired things:

Not a Box is a simple, stylish, fun to read book that celebrates imagination. Inspired, I took an ugly pink nappy box, and covered it with a brown paper bag and Mod Podge, to make.... umm.... a cardboard box (amazing, I know!). It even has an eye hole for when you want to be a cardboard box robot...

and makes a good Duplo storage box at other times.

This is a book that requires no introduction - a childhood favourite of mine that I have forced upon our child from birth (perhaps even before...). To try and ensure this book remains a favourite, I made a little knitted caterpillar finger puppet - so easy, just a little garter stitch "scarf" folded on itself.

Charlotte's Web is another of my childhood favourites (I'm pretty sure I walked around with a Charlotte's Web sandwich board at a Book Week Parade once upon a time...) and I'm lucky enough to have my childhood copy of the book. The spider and "web" above were actually from a "garden" themed party, but I'm saving them up as an emergency Book Week costume for Book Weeks to come...Finally, one of my favourites - Pigeon, who, while being a somewhat questionable role model, comes out with the best lines... it's always fun to hear a 3 year old say " come on, what's five minutes in the grand scheme of things?".

Inspired by all this book love, I've decided to hold a tiny book inspired giveaway - I'll make a caterpillar and pigeon puppet (as above) for the winner.

The normal rules apply - leave a comment below. Followers get a bonus entry (just let me know in your comment).

Entries close on Wednesday September 8, at 11:59pm Australian Eastern Standard Time (I'll need the 2 weeks to actually finish the puppets!).

Oh, and of course, you know where to go for your weekly creative fix.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

flea market find

Just popping in for a quick update with a little find to share - a suction cup egg cup! It's rather gorgeous, but I am yet to test out its stability with a real egg (the "cup" part and the base are both rubbery, so even when it's stuck in place, it wiggles a fair bit).

Seems appropriate to be thinking about something not-quite-stable today, doesn't it?

In other news, that tea towel is on its way to one of my husband's work mates (luckily he was game enough to initiate a "who likes Daniel Craig" conversation in real life - I wasn't), and I am trying hard not to bring home any more op shop bargains that I don't actually like...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

my creative space

A while ago, we decided to try and make our meal times a little more couth with the introduction of napkins. I found some really lovely vintage napkins at our op shop... but have struggled to use them, finding myself wanting to "save them up" for a special event (and since we're not dinner party people these days, that could be a while away...).

When I found a pile of ten cheap, plain napkins on my last op-shop trip, I decided I could make our own non-vintage (but non-plain) napkins for everyday dinners.

Inspired by this tutorial, I prepared my stamp...

(sorry if you're like my mum and offended by food wastage in pursuit of art... in my defence it was an old apple, left at the bottom of the fruit bowl, and I ate the other half even though it was definitely past its prime...)
and got printing.... which went pretty well overall, except for managing to print on the wrong side of one napkin (the perils of late night crafting).

Now to test them out - and hope our meal times are magically transformed into a world of "please" and "thankyou"... (asking too much, maybe?)

For at least 128 other sources of inspiration, head over here...

Saturday, August 14, 2010

reverse finds

If you've visited my blog before, you'll know that I like op-shopping. I like op-shopping because I can give a new home and "life" to discarded things. In my eyes, I'm giving them a chance to fulfill their potential.

Unfortunately, my home is already pretty full of neglected things, sitting under beds or in cupboards, no longer fulfilling their potential.

So, I've decided to try something new - I'm calling it "reverse finds" (referencing one of my favourite memes, "fleamarket finds"). Every month, I will find a new home for something I no longer need. I will photograph it and blog about it and I will feel so good about doing it that I will keep on going until our home is... well, slightly less cluttered (with of course, more space for new finds!).

It seems appropriate, in the spirit of getting rid of excess baggage, that my first reverse find is luggage.

This is the first travel pack I bought - for my second overseas adventure (on the first trip I borrowed one from a friend).

It has served me well on a few big trips (including a year long European adventure with the man I later married - here we all are in Sicily!), and a good few trips "home" from my adopted city of Melbourne to South Australia.

But lately, it has sat under the bed inside a big plastic bag that protected it from dust. I tried it as underbed storage, but it just didn't work. I've also decided that if I do go backpacking again I will need to upgrade to a super-fancy ergonomic number.

So now, this bag is heading to a big family friendly op shop in the hope that someone new will take it on a new adventure. Bon voyage!

I'll be back again next month with another reverse find. Does anyone want to join me? I promise to cheer you on too! We can declutter together!

Let me know, and if there's interest, I'll learn how to set up one of those linky widgety things for next month (the Second Saturday of September has a very nice ring to it, don't you think?).

Thursday, August 12, 2010

my creative space - hits of the eighties

I am a hoarder. I learned from my mum.

Two years ago, my parents decided to make a "city change", moving from country SA to Adelaide. It was a good decision for them, but a real challenge for mum - editing their belongings to make it possible to move from a sprawling country home to a town house.

As a result, the "stuff" I had left at mum and dad's place when I moved out so many years ago became my responsibility again.That stuff included a whole bunch of things I had made when I was young. Would you like to see?

I loved art class at school, and was especially proud of my pyramid money box - I remember being so excited after firing to find that the lid still fitted!

Early evidence of my hoarding / reusing ways - this lumpy decoupage box was decorated with the insides of envelopes from a pen friend.

I'm not sure when / why I made this apron - I really hope it wasn't for Home Economics Class - I think I would have failed...

Despite its inferior construction, it is a favourite dress up these days - especially when singing "I'm a little teapot" - and has made it into the kitchen a few times too. I think it deserves a little repair work to help it last a little longer.

In late high school, I had a craft stall at a christmas market one year to raise money for charity (I was such a good girl!) and echidna pin cushions were one of my products. I don't know if I found the pattern in one of mum's books, or made it up (I know I did that a bit, with varying levels of success!). I think it's kind of cute. These days she mostly gets around without pins, and is called "Tickles."

And the knitted blanket in the background? Well, I started it in my teens - and finished it a few years ago!

Is your home also filled with little crafty archaelogical finds? I would love to see!

For some lovely creative inspiration (of a more up to date nature), visit Kirsty...

Sunday, August 8, 2010

flea market finds - do you like Daniel Craig?

Not long ago at work, I was discussing a client's difficult housing situation with a colleague, trying to come up with another way to help her, when my colleague said, "you're a stray puppy kind of person, aren't you?"

She was right. Even though I've never adopted a stray dog, I'm the kind of person who notices scared, stray dogs on stormy days, and cares for them till their owners arrive.

I've noticed my op-shopping is beginning to reflect my "stray puppy sensibilities", buying items just because I feel sad that they're still in the shop after weeks, or because the item was handmade and needs someone to respect that and care for it again.

This instinct led me to take this home...

Yep, it's a lovely, well made tea towel, still available for sale new over here, and I'm pretty sure it featured in a recent magazine (Notebook I think). I felt sad that such a good quality product was buried on the floor under old sheets and pillowcases, and so I took it home.

The thing is, I don't really like Daniel Craig - I like him, but not enough to dream about him.

So I was thinking, does anyone else?

So put up your hand if you really like Daniel Craig (on second thoughts, write a comment and tell me why you like him, that might be more effective), and I'll get some random number selecting device to choose a winner. Entries close 12 noon next Sunday 15 August Australian Eastern Time...

Come on, let's find this puppy a home!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

my creative space

So, last week I was telling you about my CD rack dollhouse-to-be ... what I didn't tell you was that I'd already been planning another DIY dollhouse, which I nearly abandoned, but have decided to finish after all (and how fun will it be to have two houses? The residents will have neighbours to visit!!).

This is how it looked this morning...

yep, it's made out of nappy boxes.

Unfortunately in the "everything's too hard" stage of early parenting I decided I wouldn't be able to cope with cloth nappies - in retrospect, it probably could have been achievable - but, enough of the could-have-beens, at least I'm reusing the boxes, yes?!

I decided to go through my collection of used wrapping papers to find some good "wallpaper" - and a not insignificant amount of time passed by as I reminiscenced (yes, I know, it's just wrapping paper... no prizes for guessing where I sit on the hoarder - chucker continuum!).

I did at least manage to get back to the job and install a lovely terracotta roof (this paper was wrapped around some flowers we received when Mini Blogger was born... yes that was three years ago... but look how useful it is now?... have I convinced anyone??).

For those of you who don't crazily hoard paper but would like to make a cardboard dollhouse, visit Sarah for another idea (and a giveaway too!).

Of course it's Thursday, so Kirsty's is the place to be - see you there!