craft as meditation

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In most other tasks I am easy to distract. My mind is a wandering beast, untamed and largely unmanageable.

But absorbed in craft, it softens. It counts: slowly, rhythmically, soothingly. It imagines and creates, it thrills in possibility.

I began meditating (again) a few weeks ago, and while I haven’t been in any way regular, I have noticed correlations between my quiet meditative mind, and my crafting mind. While during meditation I attempt to harness my mind as it pulls and strains at invisible reigns, during craft it is forced to halt. It is absorbed by the act of quiet concentration.

And so in the last ten days since finishing work (!), and while attempting to distract my monster mind from the relentless (and seemingly impossible) task of flipping my baby before this coming Tuesday’s ECV, I have immersed myself in craft.

Stitch by stitch by little stitch I have soothed my mind and spirit. I have counted, stitch by stitch by little stitch. I have twisted my hook around wool, stitch by stitch by little stitch. In combination with all the other body and mind work I am doing this pregnancy, it has kept me in good stead.

And here I am, four beanies, pom poms, a pixie bonnet, a kotori jacket and half a lady sized beanie later, mind relatively at ease. Upcoming ECV on Tuesday not causing (much) [out of proportion] angst.

What about you? What do you reach for to calm a busy mind?

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doilies

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We had a birthday party this morning for a friend of Birdie’s. I’m always searching for new things to make and sew for small people – post toddlerhood, pre school years. This skirt has been a bit of a go-to pattern over the last six months. This time I sewed on some doilies of my Nana’s my Aunty was – shock, horror – about to throw in the bin. I gratefully snaffled up an entire garbage bag of these gems and they have found a place in my overflowing sewing cupboard. How could she! Now aged in her seventies she was both bewildered and bamboozled that I wanted anything to do with a doily, and still can’t really understand what I wanted with them.

Well, here is one reason why I wanted them. A good reason, no? I also use them to wrap presents, to give faces and wings to my felted chooks, to put hot cups of tea on, to put vases on, to throw around the place and let them rain down around me… no, not really.

I do like a good doily. Do you?

it’s that time again…

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I always promise myself that I will be organised at Christmas time, that I won’t be scrambling around in a mad rush and I won’t be forced into buying things that compromise my values because I’ve run out of time! Alas, I am rather behind schedule and my list of things to make is gigantic… we are half way through November and shit is getting real in my sewing room.

I am quite the overachiever and apparently love nothing more than a late night sew-fest and the pressure of doing things at the last minute. As much as I hate it, I can’t seem to shake my ways. Oh well.

I’ve talked so many times before about buying nothing new at Christmas and supporting handmade and so on and so on. Apart from the fact that a Christmas-crazed shopping centre is my absolute worst nightmare, I love the feeling of really thinking about presents and putting the effort into cutting and sewing and making and giving something genuinely unique. I’m not sure if the people on the receiving end of my gifts feel this way… but it’s the thought that counts, right? This year I am going about Christmas in my usual fashion, however we are buying a couple of things for the girls – a wooden kitchen, a bike for Birdie and maybe a scooter for the Pixie. Unfortunately I can’t make these things. I did try to purchase the wooden kitchen secondhand but have had trouble finding what I am looking for. Two years ago we gave the girls a beautiful waldorf style doll’s house and I was lucky enough to find this on my local buy swap and sell site! So if you keep an eye out – you do find.

This year I’ve been making star garlands, pictured above, little shorts, and crocheted tiaras mainly. Most of the little folk in our circles will be receiving variations of these this Christmas. I’m also planning on making a dress each for Birdie and Pix, and something else… I haven’t fleshed out the list properly yet. I make all my family granola every year so will also be continuing with that tradition.

This is also my first year to make teacher gifts now that Birdie is at kinder! I am yet to decide what to do for our teacher folk, I’m thinking granola or a star garland. Any tips?

What are you making? Are you a mad shopper at Christmas? Do you write lists? How do you keep the madness at bay?

 

 

oh to make

Screenshot 2014-08-14 13.26.20With all the craziness of starting a new job, finding our feet, and creating a new rhythm in our lives, to be able to continue with some making here and there truly is a blessing. The ability to be able to move my hands this way and that, twist the wool and feel it sliding through my fingers. Oh! Immediate stress buster. Therapy at its best. 

buy nothing new christmas // the first of a new series

A few years ago, in the spirit that I like to do most things in – completely last minute – I decided I was going to have a Buy Nothing New Christmas. There seemed to be a lot of chit chat going on in the blogosphere about having periods of buying nothing new, and nothing motivates me more than a challenge! So I dove in head first and have to say it was such a satisfying experience that I have *almost* done it every Christmas since. In fact, I was so motivated, my Buy Nothing New challenge continued for the first six months of 2011!

It made me realise not only how much we consume needlessly in our daily lives, but how much we can do without, and more to the point, how much great stuff is circulating the planet as rubbish, because we are constantly, obsessively, compulsively replacing things that are still in perfect condition. It truly is a sad state of affairs.

I thought it might be fun to share some of my bookmarked (now who’s old fashioned?!) ideas with you over the coming weeks, so if you are thinking of having your own Buy Nothing New Christmas, there will be plenty of creative ideas here. Of course the other option is to buy presents at an op shop or an online vintage marketplace like etsy so that you are giving unwanted items a new life, rather than supporting the business of waste.

If you think this is all a load of hoo-ha, check out this video and it might give you a new perspective. On a larger scale, and if you have a bit more time, I love, love, love this movie. Maybe you could chow down with a bowl of homemade popcorn and watch it tonight? Yes, do it! Watch it!

Now to get us going, here are some wrapping and gift presentation ideas:

// Gift bag tutorial: Petite Purls

// Cute placard idea: Flax and Twine

// Paper globes to decorate presents: Tiny Happy

// Simple gift tags: A Little Hut

// Make your pressies extra cute with these free printable moustaches! : Marie Claire

I have loads more in my bookmarks and also on my christmas pinterest board, but I think five is a respectable number. Over the coming posts I will share gift ideas for babies, kids, girls, boys, ladies, gents and so on.

What do you think? Are you feeling motivated? Do you think you can do your bit to slow down our crazy consumption obsession this year?

sewing: nappy wallets from vintage tablecloths

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I’ve sewn a couple of these nappy wallets this week. Boy oh boy did it take some courage to cut further into my beloved big floral tablecloth. Does anyone else have trouble cutting into lovely vintage fabrics? I have to do it all the time unfortunately, and although it is always usually a satisfying end result, that first snip always includes just a little touch of heartbreak.

One of the nappy wallets above has already been snapped up, and the identical one will be appearing in my etsy store as soon as I can get around to taking some picaroons!

If you’d like to make your own nappy wallet and don’t want the hassle of measuring and thinking, there are plenty of great tutorials around from people who have already done the hard work. Here are a few I found with a quick google search to get you started:

:: Nappy wallet by And so, I sew (great tutorial, clear instructions and good photos!)

:: Nappy wallet by While she was sleeping (a bit longer, but includes an option for an elastic strap)

:: Nappy wallet by Just for Daisy (this one is a little bit different to the two above and includes a changemat) 

This is just a tiny selection of many great tutorials out there. Have a little look around yourself, I’m sure you’ll find one that works for you. Otherwise head over to birdie said and I can make one for you! Out of upcycled materials of course.

Have a great weekend x

sewing: little cloth books

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IMG_4587IMG_4581First things first, a confession: I have developed a Big Brother addiction. Now we are nearing the end I have begun crying when housemates are evicted each week. You may find the word “tully” in my internet browser search history. Gah.

In other news, I am in a flurry of first birthdays and when not watching Big Brother I have been spending many an hour in front of my sewing machine. It’s been oh so lovely to be sewing again. I can’t remember the last thing I made… but in the fresh spring air my creativity seems to have been given a little boost.

I have made two of these little cloth books for friend’s babies, and have four more to make by the end of the year. They take a long time but are awfully fun. It’s been the first thing I have made it a while that I have actually had to use my imagination for, instead of just cutting a pattern and tweaking here and there. I have so enjoyed the process. I have also loved using bits and bobs from my ridiculously fat scraps bag.

Would you like to make one for your baby? I used this tutorial. I know it is more than straightforward but I am not very good at the practicalities of sewing when you have to flip things around and do this side then that bit to match that side and so on… bias binding – kill me. I just can’t get my head around it. So I found it great to have a visual. You can also find lots of pictures on pinterest which helped give me some ideas for the content. The book above is an “L” themed book for a little L bub. I’ve since done an “S” themed book and have two more “S”‘s, a “T” and an “O” to go!

In amongst this Big Brother and cloth book frenzy I have also been sewing a wiksten tank dress for myself. If it works out I will post some pics next week.

What are you sewing, making, cooking, creating this spring/autumn?