31 July 2010

Red stuff!

A little while ago I signed up to the Color Me Happy swap over at the Love and Happiness blog. I submitted my address and my favourite colour, and then waited patiently to see who I would be swapping presents with around the world. I ended up being paired with someone quite close to home (sort of) - Elissa from Cerebral Excrement in Perth. And, the best news was that Elissa was coming to Brisbane for an exam, so we could swap gifts in person. Today I met the lovely Elissa and her equally lovely sister Kirsty over high tea at the Shingle Inn.

Elissa's favourite colour is blue, so she got three items from local crafters - a plaster ampersand (painted blue) from my lovely friend Emily at Kuber, a recycled knitting needle bangle from Liana Kabel, and a little frame with some Florence Broadhurst Aubrey wallpaper (made by me).
Image: Kuber

Image: Liana Kabel

In return, I got an INCREDIBLE selection of red goodies all the way from Perth. Check out the packaging details!

My red box contained some cards...

...some hair accessories...

...a roll of twine...


...a magnet...


...a polaroid taken by Elissa...

...this patriotic little dude...

...a beautiful scarf (which I'd be wearing right now if it wasn't unseasonably hot today!)...

...and this pretty card (which has a little red bird!).

Phew! Thanks so much to Elissa for all my little red treasures (and for meeting an internet person on the other side of the country!). I hope to visit you in Perth one day. 

29 July 2010

Movie ticket giveaway: The Runaways

Thanks to Hoyts distribution, I have an in-season double pass for The Runaways to give away (valid at participating cinemas across Australia). Just leave a comment before 5.00pm tomorrow (Friday 30 July) and I'll randomly draw a winner.

To find out more about the movie, check out my review over at BNE: Hot or Not.

Please note: This is not a sponsored post, and I have received no payment for running this giveaway.

28 July 2010

Life through the Lens...

Thank you to the lovely Kristi from Life through the Lens, who sent me this lovely 8 x 10 photo - one of my several other internet winnings over the past month.
Image: Life through the Lens

I'm pretty sure this print will end up framed at work. Considering I edit books for much of the day, it's probably a good spot for it! Kristi was also generous enough to send me a couple of extra 6 x 4 prints of her other photos. 

Head on over to Kristi's Etsy store to check out her other lovely images!

27 July 2010

Sewing projects ahoy!

On Monday last week, my best friend and I started a four-week evening sewing course. We started off learning the basics of threads, patterns and different accessories before advancing to sewing with our machines on paper. Last night, we advanced even further to darts and elastics. The ultimate goal is that in the last week we’ll use the skills that we’ve learned to make something that includes either zips, elastic, buttonholes or darts.
As first, my only aim was to be able to sew my own cushion covers. Now I realise that I was not very ambitious with that goal at all, so I’ve decided to take advantage of the fact that I will have someone there to help me and make a piece of clothing (which will also help with my Ethical Clothing Pledge!). I’d love to make a dress, but as I have a cupboard full of those I’d much rather make my own skirt! My lovely friend Shilo has been sending me links to heaps of amazing patterns, and I can’t stop looking at this one.

Image: McCall's

I’m thinking option A is the way to go. As much as I’ve love the pleated version, I’m going to start a little simpler and use a plain black cotton–linen blend with a contrast waist band at the bottom. On the way to me in the post today is a fabric pack that I ordered from Thea & Sami, and I’m thinking the bottom Fretwork pattern will look gorgeous as the contrast. Now I just have to hope that I’ll have enough! I suppose there’s nothing stopping me from decreasing the width of the band and having more plain fabric, but we’ll see.

I think the top Marguerite pattern will make great pockets on a dress or skirt — what do you think? Pretty soon I might also be ready to tackle that Florence Broadhurst fabric!
Image: Thea & Sami

25 July 2010

Lantern Books Comfort Food Challenge

Over the past eight weeks, Lanterns Books (an imprint of Penguin Books responsible for some fantastic cooking and lifestyle titles) has been running their Comfort Food Challenge with Master Chef judge Gary Mehigan. Each Friday, members of the Lantern Facebook group are told the ingredient for the week, and participants have until Monday to submit a photo of their entry.

Two weeks ago, I entered the lamb challenge with my delicious pie accompanied by organic brussel sprouts. Yummo! Since I've been practising my photography by taking photos of food, I figured it couldn't hurt to send in one of my images. Vegetarians, look away now...

In yet another example of me winning competitions left, right and centre, I was victorious! As the winner of week 6, I will receive a signed copy of Gary's Comfort Food book, and I also have to participate in the semi finals, which are taking place this weekend. Semi-finalists were split into two groups, and my group has to cook Gary's Tuscan beef and black pepper stew. I decided to deviate from the recipe a little and pop the whole lot in the slow cooker. I have my nanna's old orange GE one, and I figure there's no better comfort food than a stew made in your nanna's old crock pot. I'll upload an image of the results once I've submitted my entry tonight.

If I win the semi finals, I'll receive a whole stack of Lantern cookbooks, and the major prize is a trip to Melbourne to eat with Gary in his Fenix restaurant. If I don't win the semi finals, maybe I'll buy myself a copy of this Margaret Fulton gem.

20 July 2010

Giving something back...

Due to the exceptionally good luck that has been coming my way recently from the creative community across Australia (and, in a couple of cases, the world), I’ve decided I would like to give something back.

On behalf of all of the great crafters, Etsy store owners and bloggers around who have been very generous to me through their giveaways and competitions, I’ve made a donation to the International Women’s Development Agency. My donation contributes towards the costs of ten women attending a three-day workshop in Fiji on microenterprise, and how to access financing for small business development. For more information on this cause, please visit their website.
Image: Anna Stone, International Women's Development Agency

18 July 2010

Thanks BrisStyle Indie Eco Market!

Many of you know already that I've been having a bizarre never-ending winning streak of late. I've managed to score a whole heap of great stuff from fellow bloggers around the world, particularly some very clever local crafters.

The icing on the cake came last weekend, when I won one of the raffle baskets at the BrisStyle Indie Eco Market at Hamilton! The proceeds raised went to a fabulous cause - Knitting for Brisbane's Needy. I found my prize sitting on the doorstep this morning (I think it has been there since Friday - oops!), and it was packed full of great eco wares - many of which I'd had my eye on! Some of the contributions included those from Beckybean, Jetta's Nest, Wicked Child Designs, Kim Wallace (Udessi), Wimcee, Renee Treml, Denim Days, and many many more! I'll be sharing the spoils with my best friend, who also bought raffle tickets on the day. Here's a peek at what was included!

I also want to pay public thanks to the other great people who've sent awesomeness my way recently. There's more on the way (yep, crazy but true), but so far I've received beautiful stuff from:

Wind and Water Designs
Calico & Co.
Being Tazim

Please stop by the websites of these fantastic people and check out their wares. I'm not sure whether my winning streak has come to an end yet, but I've bought a lottery ticket just in case...

17 July 2010

Photo shoot for Thea & Sami!

Today I met the lovely Thea Samios when I modelled for her new range of linen backpacks (along with my shiny red bike, which was the real star!). Thea runs the Brisbane textile studio Thea & Sami, where she designs and hand-prints natural and organic fabrics. I'm not going to show off the photos here, so head over to Thea's blog for a sneak peek!

I've admired Thea's work for quite some time, and particularly love her organic linen range. My wishlist has for a while included the Hydrangea table runner in red (to alternate with the SunnyLife one I have)...
Image: Thea & Sami

(here's a close-up of the Hydrangea print, which also featured on the lovely backpack I modelled today...)
Image: Thea & Sami

...a linen cushion, also with Hydreangea print...
Image: Thea & Sami

...and this very pretty linen Butterflies tea towel.
Image: Thea & Sami

If I do end up getting all fancy with my sewing machine and making a cushion for my chair ladder, the hemp and organic cotton Cottage Garden print might look lovely too!
Image: Thea & Sami

For more great stuff from Thea & Sami, check out the website, or one of the many stockists across Australia. Thanks so much to Thea for a lovely day!

15 July 2010

New project: Chair ladder restoration, and possible new sewing table!

Last weekend my friend and I visited the BrisStyle Indie Eco Markets in Hamilton (where I won one of the incredible raffle prizes - yay!) and before we went home for cheese and wine birthday celebrations, we stopped off to see Katherine from The Old Boathouse. Katherine had been holding this great chair for me (the one on the right).

Image: The Old Boathouse

What's that, it doesn't look that great? Well, behold, the converting step ladder chair!
 Image: The Old Boathouse

As the clumsiest person on the face of the earth (known to fall off benches after getting my pyjama pants caught on the door handle), this ladder will be MUCH more useful than my current two-step cheap version from Bunnings. I intend to sand it back and paint it white.

As I'm starting sewing lessons on Monday, I'm also considering getting a small white desk to replace my laptop table in the corner of the dining room. If I do, perhaps I'll sew a cushion for my chair ladder and use that at the desk. I'm thinking a red and white striped cushion would be cute. Here are some of the small desks I've been considering.

Images: Ikea, Officeworks and Ebay

Which one do you all like best as a dual-use laptop and sewing table?

13 July 2010

Final post of birthday goodness: Home stuff!

Finally, a special thank you to the people who got me stuff for the home. My super awesome friend Rebecca paid special attention to my recent blog post declaring my love for Mozi products, as well as the fact that I've been baking a fair bit lately, and bought me the Medina apron I wanted - yay! How cute will I look when I make pikelets in this?!
Image: Mozi

Rebecca also bought me a Mozi recipe tea towel for orange and poppyseed cake - that cake John and I had for our wedding. Awwwww!

Image: Mozi

I also got a very fancy little Andy Warhol Rosenthal 'Flowers' dish from my friend Julie. Apparently it's a soap dish, but I think it's far too good for that, so I'll be finding it a home in the living areas. It's the little square dish on the far right.
Image: Rosenthal

Finally, I asked my sister if she would buy me some 'lady tools'. You know, hand tools in lady-like colours with squishy ergonomic handles? I ended up with the pink version of this kit. It even has a level!
Image: Gorgeous Gifts

So that's my birthday wrap-up - thanks for reading! Oh, I also know that Emma from Rain & Sundays has sent a little handmade something in the post, so I'll update on that soon!

12 July 2010

More birthday goodness: Jewellery and accessories

How lucky am I?! This year I got so many fabulous gifts, including some from people I totally did not expect one from. It certainly makes me feel very special and loved!

As many of you would know, up until my recent visit to Finders Keepers I was experiencing a total brooch drought. Then, I won some more brooches (amongst other lovely things) from REread. Then, my very special friend Shilo added another one that I adore more than all of the others put together: an acrylic shiny red feather brooch from That Vintage. Shilo shares my love of birds (she loves checking out the weird Australian species, while I love putting bird symbols all around my home), and she also knows how much I adore shiny red stuff.
Image: That Vintage

On the weekend I also received an extremely thoughtful gift from my friend Jeni, who knows all about my Ethical Clothing Pledge. Jeni bought me a chameleon clutch from Biddy Bags, which is a local social enterprise that connects socially isolated nannas who get together to make lovely little craft items to sell. The crafters also get to keep over half of the sale price of their items, which is just wonderful. My clutch also came with yet another brooch - a cute little crocheted flower with a button.
Image: Biddy Bags

Then, I received a lovely little surprise in the post courtesy of Irene. Irene is currently visiting Indonesia and was unable to come to my little gathering on the weekend, so she arranged for me to receive a big set of origami paper badges from Pannikin. The really funny thing is that I'd only just discovered Pannikin jewellery last week when I was at Bleeding Heart Gallery, so it was an amazing coincidence to receive a little package in the mail from Holly only a couple of days later.
Image: Pannikin

Finally in the jewellery and accessories department, I got a new Polli black canopy necklace from my husband John. He has quite a knack for choosing great, quirky pieces that suit my personality, for which I am very grateful. This pendant is my second Polli piece from John.
Image: Polli

I received my other present from John early this year when I was sent to a five-week hula hoop course. I had no idea that I was going there until we arrived at the door, and I was a little freaked out to say the least. However, it turned out to be great fun and something that I want to continue doing. Plus, I got to keep my shiny red hoop as well!
Image: Polka dots, side view (Flickr)

Tomorrow, I'll update on my final batch of presents from some equally special friends and family - all stuff I received for the home. Thanks again to all of the awesome people who helped to make my birthday week special!

11 July 2010

Birthday week over, now for some books!

Now that my birthday week is officially over, I thought I'd share some of the lovely presents I got. There are too many great things to mention in one post so I'm going to spread them over a few this week. To start with, here are some books I got from my parents and parents-in-law.

I asked my parents months ago to get me the gigantic Taschen New York Interiors book. I already had the mini version, but having seen the giant coffee-table size in a book store I just had to have it! I'm yet to have a good flick through, but I don't think I'll be taking it to look at on the train to work!

Images: The Design Files

The second book I got was Tossed and Found from my in-laws, which is a great book full of great (and sometimes really weird) stuff made from discarded junk.

Images: Apartment Therapy

I'll be sharing more of the wonderful accessories and homewares I received over the coming days. I did have a great birthday week this year, and particularly enjoyed spending Saturday night with some special close friends.