31 October 2010

Stripy red bowls... and giveaway winners!

About a month ago, I spied these ultra-cute stripy red bowls in Kmart for $2.00 each. Insane, yes? I didn't buy them at the time, but filed their existence safely away in the back of my mind.

This afternoon, John needed to go to the shopping centre for something, so I told him I needed to 'look at something' at Kmart. Of course, I returned with $8.00 worth of stripy red ceramic goodness. It's ok, though - it means I can move the remnants of our ugly old dinner sets off to Lifeline to make way for them. Here are my new purchases on a disgracefully unironed Thea & Sami Spoon and Whisk tea towel.

I decided to use my new bowls to draw the screenprinted bag giveaway a tiny bit early. Drumroll...

The winners are... Tracey and Rachel

I will email both of you shortly to arrange delivery of your prizes.

25 October 2010

More screenprinting workshop... and a giveaway!

You can now see Thea's overview of the weekend screenprinting workshop on her website. The other ladies produced some fabulous designs (many far more ambitious than my own!), and I think we should all be very proud of ourselves. Here's a picture of me at the studio with one of my newly printed bags.

I also forgot to mention that after the class, John and I stopped off at Love Love Studio (in Newstead, Brisbane) to pick up a print we purchased at a recent exhibition. On hearing that I've just done a screenprinting course, the guys were kind enough to give me one of the screens they had laying around the studio. How awesome is that?!

Now for a giveaway! I'm giving away one each of my apples and pears bags! Keep in mind that these two bags are far from perfect - they certainly have their flaws! If you would like to win one, just leave a comment before 5.00pm Sunday (Brisbane time - keep that in mind daylight savings people!).

24 October 2010


One thing I've never mentioned on Flying Ducks is that I didn't take home economics class after the compulsory year in eighth grade (as I hated sewing!). Instead, I took a class called food studies for two years. This class attracted a lot of naughty kids, as they thought it would be a 'bludge' kind of subject. It wasn't. Food studies gave me some skills which I will keep for the rest of my life - basically, the fundamentals of how to cook pretty much anything. You know, the stuff your nanna used to teach you - how to make a white sauce, how to bake meringue and choux pastry, how to make a biscuit or cake batter to adapt for almost any purpose, and how to fix stuff that's gone horribly wrong!  I even won the award for being top of the subject for two years running.

This weekend, I've used those skills during some rather successful cooking sessions. Last night I made a free-range organic goat (yes, goat - sorry vegetarians) lasagne. John bought the goat mince from the organic butcher a month or two ago (I have know idea why), and it's been sitting in the freezer waiting for me to pluck up the courage to cook it. It has an extremely strong flavour, and was perhaps a tiny bit too strong for a lasagne. But it was tasty nevertheless, thanks to my excellent lump-fee bechamel sauce made from scratch.

Today, I made my first ever pavlova. I plan on making one of these for the excellent Shilo before she heads home to New York in a couple of weeks, and I decided to make a trial pavlova today just in case I needed to perfect anything. Before you ask: no, I did not buy one of those White Wings Pavlova Magic things. I made my meringue using good old-fashioned egg whites and caster sugar. And it was super easy! Add whipped cream and berries to the cooked meringue, and you get this...


I'm going to see if our lovely old neighbour Merv would like to share it with us.

The china flan dish is from Japan. I picked it up at Lifeline in Toowoomba last weekend for the princely sum of $4.00. It doesn't have any chips or scratches, so I think it was an excellent find.

23 October 2010

Overview: Thea & Sami screenprinting workshop

Today, after anticipating it for many months, I finally got to attend my screenprinting workshop with Thea & Sami. Thea taught myself and four other lovely young ladies how to screenprint our own basic designs at home, and also gave us an brief overview of how her own commercial practice works.

To start, we all cut out our design ideas that we came along with, and then tried out printing them on calico. I printed the set of two apples on a small screen to start, and then moved on to the three pears on a larger screen.

I liked the paper outline that was left over from my first screen so much that I took it home to frame.

After perfecting our techniques, some us us printed on other items that we'd brought along. I printed up my designs on some of the tote bags I had laying around.

Now I have officially 'graduated'! And I also have a much greater appreciation to the level of skill and hard work that goes into Thea's practice. She really is a wonderwoman!

I also snuck in a little bit of retail therapy while I was at the studio, and picked up a few of Thea's beautiful tea towels that she had on sale due to some extremely minor imperfections. I LOVE them!

If anyone in Brisbane is keen to see how a real screenprinting studio operates, you're in luck! Next Saturday (30 October), Thea & Sami will be opening their doors to the public, and they'll be pulling out their super-sized screens for demonstrations. You'll also have the opportunity to pick up some clearance items at bargain prices. It sounds a little too dangerous to me!

If you're interested in taking one of Thea's classes for yourself, you can book on the Thea & Sami website. Places often fill months in advance, so make sure you get in early.

20 October 2010

Home Decor Event: Bedroom and office

Today as part of the Being Tazim Home Décor Event, you can see an overview of our bedroom and office.

There are still two posts to come! The Home Décor Event runs until 24 October.

19 October 2010

Home Décor Event: Introductory post and living room

My first two posts in the Being Tazim Home Décor Event are now live.

The first post is a brief introduction to the Flying Ducks blog and what I do — from interior decorating to cooking and craft. The second post is a before-and-after feature about our living areas. Many of you may already be familiar with a lot of this stuff, but newer readers who haven’t trawled back through the archives might enjoy this little overview. Here's a sneak peek of a few of the images I've included (which have appeared on Flying Ducks previously as well).

Keep and eye out tomorrow for a feature on the bedroom, as well as posts about the office, kitchen and bathroom to follow. You can also win prizes by commenting on many of the posts in the Home Décor Event. Thanks so much to Tazim for inviting me to participate!

18 October 2010

Screenprinting workshop with Thea & Sami

This Saturday, I am privileged enough to be attending one of the extremely popular screenprinting classes of Thea & Sami! Thea is going to teach me and the four other participants how to print up our own basic designs on natural fabrics, and I’m very excited to have a go!

Over the last few weeks I’ve been browsing some royalty-free stock image website for inspiration, and I’m leaning towards a design in the vein of these vectors of apples and pears. My idea is to have an image of a whole apple with a cross-section sitting next to it, and the same for the pear design. I’ve coerced my lovely husband into drawing up my designs in the size I want so I can take them along with me on Saturday.

Images: Shutterstock

There have been some really great designs produced at previous workshops, and I'm hoping that mine turn out just as good!

In addition to printing on the supplied fabric (and perhaps even a tea towel or two!) in the class, I’m going to take along a whole heap of spare calico tote bags that I have laying around from when I started my hugely successful (sarcasm) Etsy store. Christmas presents ahoy! Perhaps if they turn out ok I’ll even think about having a little giveaway to celebrate…

10 October 2010

New blog

In addition to keeping Flying Ducks running to record my adventures in home decorating and crafting, I've decided to launch another blog. This one will be slightly more serious and delve into matters of politics and general areas of interest for me. It will be mostly text-based, and I'll draw from my studies over the last seven years in many of the topics I discuss.

If this kind of thing is up your alley, head on over to my Kylie P Challenor blog for a peek now!

06 October 2010

Home Decor Event schedule

Exciting news! Later this month, I'll be guest posting for the Being Tazim Home Decor Event. There are heaps of great bloggers taking part, and you can check out the schedule here. There will also be heaps of great prizes on offer.

I'll be starting off with an introductory post about Flying Ducks, and then giving a room-by-room tour of my home each day, complete with loads of pictures. I'll pop a link up each day to my guest post so you can all have a read!

04 October 2010

Move ticket giveaway: The Loved Ones

Thanks to Madman Entertainment, I have quite a few (a lot, actually) double passes to give away to a preview screening of The Loved Ones - a 'modern, sexy, fun, relentlessly attacking pop-horror nightmare that takes the conventions of the genre then runs them off the rail'.

The screening is at Event Cinemas, Indooroopilly, next at 6.30pm Wednesday 13 October.

If you'd like a double pass, please leave a comment before 6.00pm this Thursday 7 October. I'll post the passes out before the weekend so they're received well before the screening. For more information about the movie, check out the Madman website.

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

02 October 2010

Favourite Things Project: Storage

This week for the Being Tazim Favourite Things Project, the topic is creative organised spaces. As both John and I have a tendency to leave lots of stuff laying around (mostly bits of paper, bills and magazines), we've had to make sure that we have plenty of storage places available to hide it all. I wouldn't say any of them are creative as such; they're just what I consider a necessity!

In the living areas, we have magazine storage boxes under the television cabinet...

...a lockable cabinet to hide all of my study mess in the dining alcove...

...a giant plastic apple to hide little bits and pieces...

...and a vintage Kartell magazine rack which I love dearly.

In the bedroom, we have a couple of old suitcases (the top one holds the drawings and paintings I did as a child, and the bottom one holds yet more magazines)... 

... and a red Pantone canister that holds all of my button badges.

In the office, we have some plastice drawers which I covered with textured wrapping paper (they hide all kinds of random things, most of which probably should be thrown out)... 

...and a Kartell Componbilli unit for all of John's sculpting materials.

And, finally, in the kitchen, I have an assortment of red canisters on the windowsill to keep tea bags and sugar.

 As I currently have a big pile of magazines sitting on one of the side tables, some on the floor and others in piles elsewhere, I should probably invest in more storage boxes sooner rather than later!

01 October 2010

Because I Am a Girl

Last week, Plan Australia launched their Because I Am a Girl campaign. A number of prominent women across Australia have joined their alliance aimed at raising awareness and investment in the future of girls across the world.
Plan have asked for others to share their stories of ‘being a girl’ to promote the campaign, so I thought I’d deviate from my usual blogging a little and share mine.
The purpose of the Coalition is to raise awareness about the plight of girls in developing countries and how investment in girls will help break the poverty cycle... The Because I am a Girl Coalition members are demonstrating the importance of investing in girls by sharing a personal insight into the critical investment they received as young people that helped to shape who they are today.

I grew up in a household with both of my parents and a younger sister. As a child, I was keen to involve myself in a range of personal pursuits, including playing the violin, writing, and participating in community organisations — all of which was supported by my parents. None of these activities was ever forced or even suggested by my parents — they were all undertaken of my own choosing. I was always a little ‘different’ to the other kids in some ways, but my parents rarely insisted that I be like everyone else (although I’m pretty sure they weren’t impressed with the black lipstick or pierced tongue).

When I was 12, I decided to join St John Ambulance as a cadet, and I stayed with the organisation until I was 18. During that time, I learnt invaluable skills that were not only practical (such as life-saving first aid training), but I also received mentoring from other women who helped to shape who I am today. One of these women was Deanna, my superintendent at the Welcome Creek Division of St John Ambulance. Having been a member of the organisation for many years, Deanna was an inspiring person to lead a group of young people (mostly girls). Deanna’s influence was so great that in 1999 I was a member of the team of three who won the State Titles for first aid competitions (Queensland), and she then took us to Melbourne to compete in the National Titles a few months later. Deanna now has three daughters of her own, who will no doubt grow up to be inspiring young women themselves. Although I am no longer a member of the organisation, its positive influence will stay with me for the rest of my life (and I keep my first aid training up to date!).

These days, I have a full-time job in publishing, and am newly married with a mortgage. I am fortunate enough to live in a society where I have the choice of whether to work or stay home and have a family, and I have a choice in who I marry (or whether I marry at all). I do all the cooking in our home, but my husband cleans up after me, and we share all the other household duties. I don’t want to be a high-flying corporate executive — I just want to work in a job that I enjoy in a profession that I have chosen and be paid a fair amount for it. And, although I may grumble about it at times, that’s generally what I have right now.

Recently, I’ve begun learning some skills that are traditionally considered to be ‘women’s work’ — sewing, in particular. However, unlike young women in many other societies, I made this has been solely my decision. I have become increasingly aware of the sweatshop conditions that are endured by countless women around the world, so I wanted to do my little bit to help. I’ve started purchasing as much clothing as I can from companies that do not use sweatshop labour, in addition to making some items myself. I may find it frustrating and tiring (and I have been known to curse at my very old machine), but I can eat when I want, I can take toilet breaks, I can watch the television, and I can stop whenever I feel like it.

That’s a little bit of my story as a girl. I sponsor a child in Pakistan, Fazila, so that I can help to make a positive difference in the life of at least one other young girl. My hope for Fazila is that she grows up to become an educated young woman who is able to make choices for herself. Please visit the Because I Am a Girl website to read more stories, as they are truly inspiring.