Monday, April 26, 2010

Product review

Check a review of my "Wild things" hoodie on the Doesmommyloveit? website! You can be in to win a voucher. And you can also check out their reviews and giveaways on other products as well... Ah, bless the World Wide Web.
Meanwhile, we made it back to Gizzy, the garden is looking good, the chooks are still here (and not laying) and it's nice to be home...
This is a photo our friend Brian Campbell took of Tahi, to include in his Pecha Kucha slide show about Le Corbusier.

Friday, April 23, 2010

I am not a blogger

And I need help! I've tried to install Google Analytics on my blog and I can't figure out what I've done wrong... I tried pasting the tracking code onto my blog page, but I must have got it wrong somehow. Someone somewhere on this giant web must have had this problem before and been smarter than me.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Mini art journal challenge: week 4

I was inspired for this one, although it took me a while to click. This week's prompt is: "A symbol you love".
The reason why it took me a while to find that symbol is that I don't use any. But there is one symbol that has a huge significance for me since I was a teenager. At that time I was "grunge". I listened to pop rock bands such as The Smashing Pumpkins, Pavement, Dinosaur Jr, Jane's addiction,  ... The one I loved the most though was The Red Hot Chili Peppers. I had all their albums (At the time "Blood Sugar Sex Magik" was their latest one), I knew everything about the band, how they formed, who played, their first name (He he, who knows what it was?), I wore the band's tee shirts... They are a part of me. Through their music and that of other bands, I shaped my tastes and also expressed my personality. I first discovered them when I was about 16, listened to their albums until my mid twenties (and still occasionally do!). Those years are very dear to me: the beginning of adulthood, getting to know myself and affirming my independence. I was inspired to play bass guitar by Flea (the bass guitarist, I love his style!). They were so cool, so wild, so funky and they seemed to be having great fun! Everything I aspired to at the time.
Oh, and a year ago I found myself on a film set with Anthony Kiedis. Yes. I thought he was a new guy from art department. It was on "The first day of the rest of your life", I was working as a focus puller.
So this is what is on my card this week: their symbol, and all the meaning it carries with it.

I used multicolored sticky dots for the background, sanded them then cut out the symbol in some japanese craft paper my friend Louise gave me a few years ago (yes, I am a hoarder. I've got a chinese newspaper from my trip to China 10 years ago). Then I cut out the initials of the band from a newspaper lying around. I traced the contour of the symbol with a red coloring stick, then a black one. I also lightly rubbed the black one on the rest of the card. Finally I wrote "Red Hot Chili Peppers" at the bottom.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

And the world keeps turning

We're in Wellington. We travelled down from Whangamata a couple of days ago, stopped over in Taupo. We'd booked a room at the Rainbow lodge backpackers , cooked some pasta in their big kitchen/lounge. Tahi was in great shape and glad to be out of the car. We all managed to squeeze in their double bed and have a decent sleep. When Tahi was younger and we were co sleeping in one bed (he now has a little bed next to me) it seemed he would take up half the bed space by spreading his arms and legs and rolling to the middle.
The bedroom had nothing out of the ordinary, although it was nice to have some nice clean bed sheets. I spent a few minutes taking photos of the bathroom window, I loved the look of it.

The next morning we had a quick stroll in town, a lovely breakfast at Replete then packed the car and got on the road for the biggest stretch of our trip... I like traveling and getting places but being in the car for 7 or so hours with a 2 year old always makes me a bit nervous. Luckily Tahi is great, and he usually keeps it together until the last half hour of our road trips!

I met up with Gosia from KowTow yesterday afternoon and had a sneak preview of their new line... there's some lovely stuff in there! I love the designs, the colors, the prints and the philosophy. Gosia spent some time in India a few months ago, checking out the factory that manufactures their clothes and also the cotton fields that provide them with beautiful organic cotton (you can check out they cool video there too). I don't know if that many business owners would do that, but it's great to see that take on full responsibility for what they make.
Here's a picture of my favorite one!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Mini art journal challenge: week 3

I've been thinking about this prompt for a week: "I am". I felt stuck at first. how can I put my(whole)self on a playing card? I was going to choose "soul", but in the end opted for a simpler concept that resumes me pretty well at the moment: "mother"!
I started by pating the background red, then put some white and yellow paint on a piece of cotton fabric and pressed it on the card. I'd bought some beautiful handcut paper craft from China some 10 years ago and selected one that had a tiger and her cub then stuck it on the card. That paper is so fine, I nearly tore it by applying the glue (I only had a glue stick, so I'd grab a little of it with my finger tip then paste it onto the papercut). The words were all taken from a newspaper article about mothers' reaction at a Sydney newspaper article that stated that modern day women had it easier bringing up kids than did their mums and mums' mums. What a load of crap is how I'd sum it up. I can't believe families and raising children comes behind earning money to pay our taxes and mortgages. Maybe a debate for a future post...
The statement is repeated twice, perhaps because being a mother didn't come naturally to me. During Tahi's first year I was very torn between looking after him and going back to work. It was hard. I wanted to do the best I could for him, which meant staying home and being full time mum, breastfeeding (which I still am!), practicing EC. And I slowly realized that also meant I had to reassess my values and how I defined myself. Suddenly there was not much time for me, or even us (as partners/lovers), it was all about a baby whose basic needs had to be met, 24/7. I've felt frustrated at times, stuck, angry, sad. But I've also felt a growing respect, love and understanding. I am also very proud. Of who our little boy is growing to be. Of choosing to do the hard yeards, staying home with Tahi and bringing him up. It's all pretty much about him. Hopefully it'll pay off!
I am slowly finding a balance. A year ago I opened a shop on Etsy, selling kids' clothing made from recycled material. In the end, this change of life has been good for me too. I can be creative, put my energy (whenever there is some left!) into something I really believe in. I also have time to put in our garden. I've slowed down, revalued what was important.

Tahi and have been having some very chilled out days, just taking a stroll to the beach, walking into town. Today I took out his nice oil pastels he got for christmas. Judging by the picture you'd think he's been very busy coloring some beautiful drawings. But no, Tahi is really into chopping things with scissors, so he did just that with his crayons. I've stopped him from doing that in the past, but I decided to let him do it this time. It's hard, I hate waste and this really felt like wasted goods, but they're his and if that's the way he likes to experiment with them, maybe I should let him do it... He had fun anyway and was pretty happy with himself!
(And I managed to recover all the little bits and put them back into the box before he threw them over the railing!)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Beachy post

We've been in Whangamata for a few days now, and all I've been doing is looking after Tahi. No sewing, not even any reading, no business planning, nothing. It definitely feels like a holiday, although with all the ideas I've got in my head I always look forward to getting back into my little workshop.
Josh is working hard, on his job during the day and over the week end any spare time is spent doing the 48hr challenge. Hard work! This year, since he's away and working over the week end, he can't be as involved as he'd like to, but he is very dedicated and has been talking on the phone to his friends, spent some time on the computer last night writing a script... If you havent seen any, check out his other 48hr films: alienses, Le dernier jour de Tony, Amazing world of sticks.
Tahi has been very clingy. He came down with foot and mouth on our first day here. It sound and looks more awful than it is, but he is still out of sorts and really needing attention... He has been sleeping terribly, and has ulcers in his mouth, so he's finding it hard to eat much and has gone back to napping in the afternoon (that's actually nice!). So we just take it easy, walk to the beach at least twice a day (it's two minutes walk from where we're staying) and he has a little skateboard in the driveway, read some books and play silly games.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

mini art journal challenge: week 2

This week's prompt: "what is powerful to you?"

It's been another very busy week, I sat down to do my little card at 9pm tonight, it felt very nice to press "pause"!
We're off on Tuedsay, Josh is working in Whangamata. I'm taking enough reading for two months, my art folder to do the mini art journal challenge and a drawing book. By now I should know that half this stuff won't even come out of the bag but I am an eternal optimistic!

I also wanted to post a photo of Tahi swimming. He's going to swimming lessons for about a year now and he is now so confident in the water he'll go under no problem and often want to try to swim on his own (with the help of floaters). It's great to see him having so much fun and reassuring to know he doesn't panic. There have been a few times at the beach this summer where he fell in the water or a wave caught him, but we knew he was fine. Knowing what to do underwater is so crucial, it gives us those extra seconds to react and helps him keep his calm. There was one time where I was holding him and a wave caught us, we tumbled underwater for a few seconds before coming back out. I was holding him tight, but I knew he'd be alright. When we came back out, he was upset but hadn't drank any water and got over pretty quick.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Nature walk

Yesterday morning Tahi and I took Liz (his granny) for a walk at Eastwoodhill arboretum. It's a beautiful park planted with an extensive range of exotic trees. There are various walks, easy to moderate, so we chose a reasonably easy one that was about an hour long, which took us around a good portion of the domain. It was great, the leaves on some trees are already turning red and yellow, Tahi couldn't believe his luck at the endless supply of sticks and loved running down the paths.

I love taking close up pictures of natural elements, like tree bark, because they look quite graphic. I also took a photo of the canopy seen from the ground. have you ever noticed the pattern that forms where the leaves from separate branches don't quite join?

There were some strange and beautiful "nature" sculpture made by a school, possibly put in place for the centennial they'd celebrated just a week earlier. I love the idea of art made with whatever is found on the spot and that fades away with time without leaving a trace.

Here's a not so nature sculpture, spot the intruder.

This is one I made earlier this summer at our new river swimming spot.

I'd also made a really cool one in Samoa 4 or 5 years ago. Some friends and I spent a whole afternoon picking bits of polished glass from the beach we were staying at, then we sorted them and made a big turtle on the sand at the high tide mark. It took us a while and unfortunately by the time it was finished it was getting dark, so I only got a couple of photos and they were quite dark. What a great memory though. We sat on the beach until the sea reached our little art piece. We then had to pick all the little pieces, as the local owner of the fales (bungalows) didn't like the idea of all this glass going into the sea and onto his beach! It didn't matter to him that we'd found it there in the first place. I have to add that every morning someone would be sweeping the beach, yes, to make it look like those postcard photos.

Monday, April 5, 2010

MAKE YOUR OWN: notepad

I try as much as I can to be a conscious shopper, and wherever possible recycle, upcycled or re-use. But what to do with Tetrapak cartons??? I usually make our own nut milk but the past few months we have been unable to get some from our supplier, so we've been buying rice and oat milk every now and again.
I've been trying to figure out what to do with them, since they're not recyclable nor biodegradable, then Josh complained that he always looses his notes (scribbled on random pieces of paper). There was the idea I've been looking for: upcycled the milk cartons into notepad covers. And at the same time my pile of scrap paper will go down s well. double bingo!
I'd already seen a tutorial in World Sweet World magazine, but decided I'd come up with my own design. You can never have enough notepads, so if you've got a few tetrapak cartons lying around, it's time to get crafty!

- Level: easy
- Time: 30mn
- Material: tetrapak carton (clean!), a piece of string, scrap paper (A4 is easier)
- Tools: paper cutter or scissors, ruler and craft knife,  double hole puncher

1- Cut the A4 scrap paper in 4.
2- Cut the tetrapak carton so that it's a bit wider than the cut paper. I chose to also have a flap closing over the front. Decide which way it will open and what design you want then fold the carton around the cut paper to shape it before cutting.
3- put holes through the top of the carton with the double hole puncher, then do the same with the paper.
4- thread the string through the front of the tetrapak, then thread through the blank side of the paper. once all the paper is threaded, thread through the back of the tetrapak. Turn it around and tie it at the back.

Winter wardrobe

I've decided to make some new clothes for Tahi, since winter is coming and he's slowly growing out of the ones he's wearing now. I also feel bad about not making more clothes for him, since that was what first inspired me to set up my little Etsy shop . I love seeing him in what I make, especially because I make them with him in mind. And also because they are what will be left of this "making" spurt when he grows old, my own handmade heirlooms that he will hopefully pass on to his kids or cherish for what they represent. Here are my latest creations from the sewing room, with a couple more pairs of pants to come. I made three singlets out of some very nice lightweight merino (bought on TradeMe) and some canvas pants.

One side of the pants are from an upcycled pair of adult pants (the dark material) and still have the original pockets, and the other side is a piece of light grey wool suiting. I used some real feathers to do the prints, which is why they are all different. It was great to finally try using a new medium and I'm very happy with the result. I have some screens that are just waiting to be cleaned and used, and I'm hoping soon I will have the funds to start screen printing this design and others on my creations.

I sometimes wonder when I will have time to make things for me, but that's unfortunately at the bottom of my list at the moment. Here are the top five:
- Fuse plastic (About 6 or 7 shopping bags of plastic in the garage waiting to be fused, I'm amazed at how much goes through a household, even when being careful)
- get the vege garden ready for winter
- Winter clothes for Tahi
- re-upholster our lounge suite (photos to come soon)
- An evening dress or other present for my best friend's wedding

I found a comment on an older post today from a lovely woman who started a blog called Kiwi Mummy Blog , asking if I wanted to be included in the list of "mother bloggers". It's a great initiative so of course I said yes!

Tahi's granny is visiting from Auckland and spending a week with us. It always makes us feel special when people choose to spend their holidays with us! (even though she really is doing it to see her grandson!) Josh and I are looking forward to sneaking out to see Boy at the movies. I've never appreciated dates so much than now that I have a kid.
And finally, Tahi and I have been keeping an eye on our swan plant, and finally spotted on big caterpillar, and a few other smaller ones!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Mini art journal challenge: week 1

Finally! I've been meaning to start for months, it's always the first step that seems to take ages. This "art journal challenge " was suggested to me by a woman I met on the net (we are both ECers and she has an awesome blog called Tribal baby). It took me a few weeks to find a deck of cards at the op shop, then a couple of months to get my stuff together and decide that sunday was going to be my "art day", no matter what... well, apart from last week end where we went camping! Then I got the cards ready, just with some white paint for most of them and decorated a few for less inspired sundays.

This week's prompt was: Something you are proud of... So here it is, I'm not super happy with the result but it's a start, I'm sure I'll get more inspired as I go.