Tuesday, 26 March 2013


Introducing the first ever Mako Mako fabric: 'Above the Grey'!

On Monday, I posted a fat quarter of my first hand-printed fabric to New Zealand, America, Canada and England. They are now winging there way - literally - to recipients from all corners of the world and four fat quarters should be winging their way to me too...so exciting!

I'm kinda happy with how my hand-carved stamps worked. I used a combination of fabric inks and paints, but wasn't so impressed with the paint. I think I'll invest in some good screen-printing inks for next time. Loved how the birds came out though, even if they were a last minute addition!

After seeing some of other people's work in the flickr group, I felt a bit intimidated by the finishes and packaging some people had used. I decided to create a hand-written band to hold the folded fabric together, along with a little note to each person explaining the processes and concept behind my design.

I felt quite nervous as I packaged them up to send at the Post Office. Although I will probably never know whether each recipient is pleased with their fabric or not, I still feel a sense of anticipation. I can't wait to receive fabric from the rest of my group; it's going to be really fun thinking up ways to use them!

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Exploring Paper Craft...

 One of my aims for 2013 has been to explore crafts and creative pursuits that I've not dabbled much in before. Along with knitting, these include quilting, patchwork, bag making, printing and paper crafts.

I really enjoyed incorporating the embroidery work I did for Mr Bear's valentine's day present into a card, simplistic though it was. Afterwards, I had a go at doing something similar for my Mum's birthday back in February. It could be neater but I've never been one to be too fussy about precision!

 My friend Abi and I have been trying writing to each other to keep in touch and I made this owl themed card for her a few weeks ago (we share a love of owls and other woodland creatures!) I used some stamps from my ever-growing collection, along with a little bit of colouring in!

I don't know if I'd ever really get into card-making so much. It just doesn't really grab me like other crafts do. But I discovered a love of stamping and I'm currently exploring different techniques of making my own. Alphabet stamps are particularly useful, especially for writing cheesy love-notes to Mr Bear like 'owl love you forever'....get it? Owls :) A pun to make my Mum proud!

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Up, Up and Away!


It's been a whole month since my last post. To be honest, I've not felt like writing very much over the last four weeks. I don't like starting a post on a bad note, and it would have been very difficult to avoid recently. We have been searching for a new home here in Christchurch, as we have to move out of our little apartment soon for ECQ repairs to be carried out. It's been a lot trickier than we expected. There's so much competition for places at the moment with the huge influx of people into the city in the last 12 months. Every place we've applied for, we always end up second choice and we're starting to wonder what more we can do.

But enough of that! Some good friends of our have offered to put us up should we have to leave our current home sooner than expected so that takes a lot of pressure off :)

Along side all this, I have managed, some way or another, to keep up with my creative pursuits and there's been a fair few projects sharing my work space recently. Something I'm really enjoying working on is for a handprinted fabric swap hosted by the extremely inventive Leslie Keating of Maze & Vale. Participants are asked to print one metre of fabric and send a fat quarter of said fabric to four different people around the world. I will be sending my fabric to the UK, the States, Canada and NZ. It's very exciting to be sharing something I have designed and printed myself with strangers from far and wide!

I started with a vague concept surrounding the phrase: 'come fly with me'. I have a fixation with hot air balloons at the moment. I find them both aesthetically pleasing and an apt representation of our journey over the last 13 months. To me, they embody escape, travel and exploration. I imagine floating above the world and seeing everything from a great height. Everything that was once giant and problematic, becomes a little spec on a much wider landscape. Sometimes, I wish I could rise above the mesh of confusion that life can be, just to see the bigger picture and the light at the end of the struggle. A hot air balloon ride would be a very quaint way to achieve this perspective :)

I chose to have a go at printing my design using stamps. I took a trip to my local art store last week to purchase some carving tools, rubber stamps, lino and ink. After an afternoon spent sketching, transferring, carving and testing, this is what I came up with:

It still needs a bit of work, after my first tests revealed quite a few imperfections. But I'm pretty pleased with my first attempt and found the process very enjoyable (well, up until I slipped and gouged a little bit out of my index finger!) 

I also made a little rubber cloud stamp. The rubber carved like butter and, unlike the lino, didn't require heating every few minutes. It also seems to take the ink better but since the lino is the cheaper option, it seems a better alternative until I start getting more serious about it. 

I remember my Mum printing with lino when I was little and felt a warm familiarity as I sat and carved. I think this could be the start of something special...