Thursday, December 24, 2009

Best came

Today it is Christmas and I am at home with my favourite people. We have had a lovely quiet day. The day is warm and sunny. Ken Oath! is cooking a divine meal wearing his new apron, TheShortFolk have picked roses and are now shelling peas. I'm on beautifying duty.

When I was collecting donations for Stash reHash a lovely elderly lady quite unsettled me. We chatted for about an hour about all sorts of things. Then she hauled a tablecloth out of her bag of donated goods and said, "This is not for the market. This is for you. Never save things for best dear, because best might never come." It was a tablecloth she had made and embroidered in the 1940s before she was married. She had "saved it for best" but had never used it.

Well today best came. That tablecloth (and two others!) is on my Christmas dinner table because I can't imagine it gets better than this. Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Chez Golden Hands

Last weekend my family went away for a little holiday. We had things that needed to be done (Dolphin watch cruise voucher with looming expiry date) and big things to discuss. What better place than Akaroa.

Ken Oath! booked the holiday home via the amazing McCrosties website based on his criteria of availability, number of beds (sleeps four plus an emergency snoring bed), proximity to the action so that Corolla (or is it a Corona, who cares, obviously not me!) could have a holiday too, and of course, price.

But when we got there we found that his chosen house was accidentally an extra special treat for me. It was a shrine to 1970s handicrafts! I immediately dubbed it Chez Golden Hands! All the things in this house had been made with care and great skill and no doubt told the history of the family who owned the house. A huge effort had been put in to decorate and furnish this house in the 1970s, then it had been perfectly preserved as if in a time capsule. Even the piles of magazines contained nothing later than 1988. Given that that was the year I started fashion school, I had a kind of morbid fascination with the hideousness of them.

It made me think about home decor fashion, which of the currently "in" items will give sniggery joy to people in thirty years time, and about the macrame owl that proudly perched in my family's holiday bach for decades.

The owl-making sister recently gave me a bound four volume set of Golden Hands magazines from the 1970s. Since then I've had many happy hours reading them. No matter how hard I try, I can't resist renaming the various regular chapters. So I end up with Clothes for the Wannabe Eternal Virgin, Man-Repelling Home Decor and Torture Your Children in Style (the numerous all-in-one scratchy wool knitted outfits and all those high-necked tops edged with nylon lace. In white. Handwash only. For wee boys!) My favourite chapter though is the one Golden Hands calls "Collectibles". These are elaborate and extremely time-consuming "textile art" projects, usually in natural colours, quite big, sometimes incorporating found materials such as bark, driftwood and feathers. Hmmmm, tasty. If you can't quite visualise what I mean just go to any op-shop and you'll find a whole pile of these beauties. Maybe I should rename this chapter Future Op-Shop classics or Your family won't fight over these in your will.

So what did my family decide. Our knitting is well and truly back on our needles. We have plans! Ken Oath! is working his magic again, making the world a more interesting place for those who appreciate the performing arts - though not in Christchurch, now or possibly ever again.

TheShortFolk and I are going to stay in Christchurch long enough to run Stash reHash at least one more time. I need to have a chat to the nice old bloke who hires out the hall but I'm hoping for early May. I'll send out a message to previous stall-holders and the mailing list as soon as I have a date sorted. Soon after I'll put information up here.

All the pictures above (OK, except for the dolls) are from Chez Golden Hands. The dolls are from the real Golden Hands and they and their whanau live again on gorgeous greeting cards at the fabulous Pug Design Store.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Admirable qualities, or, why I love linen

I know someone who has recently been subjected to some very rough and unpleasant treatment. I'll call him TheFallGuy. The way he has behaved throughout and changed as a result of this treatment reminds me of a textile experiment I once did.

In this experiment we subjected a variety of fabric samples to an extremely long, hot and rough machine wash then we hung the samples out to dry. Later we carefully examined them and compared them to control samples to identify how they had coped with our mistreatment.

Many fabrics came through seriously worse for wear: some completely disintegrated; some were shrunken and misshapen; others were frayed, threadbare or holey; some had bled angry blotches of colour or shed fluff; a few pilled unattractively; others were faded or greyed; many emerged from the machine twisted and knotted like rope.

In contrast, the pure linen sample coped superbly with our nasty treatment. This amazing fabric is incredibly strong, durable and resilient; linen emerges from a tough day in the laundry softer and more absorbent, so when used for tea towels, it becomes even more useful than before. Linen ages beautifully and is amazingly long-lasting. It does not pill or shed lint. In hot climates linen clothing it is valued for its exceptional coolness.

So while just observing TheFallGuy's mistreatment has left me ragged and twisted, remarkably he has come though it like the best quality pure linen tea towel: even more fit for purpose and ready to put in many more years of excellent service.

Plenty of other fabrics are more prestigious, expensive, fashionable or outwardly impressive, but I for one recognise and value the admirable qualities of linen (and TheFallGuy).

TheFallGuy needs to live where quality goods made from honest, hard-working and rare stuff are valued and treated with respect. Any ideas where that might be?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The money or the bag?

Up until last week, I've been in a frenzy of making stuff for sale. Given that Christmas gift-buying madness is still upon the world, it would make economic sense for me to continue down this path for at least a few more weeks.

However I've decided to temporarily retire from making stuff for sale. I'll stock-up my Felt shop then leave it to slowly deflate. The making won't stop, but I'm just getting back into making for other reasons for a while.

Ken Oath! desperately needs new loud shirts. I need some practical clothes. I'm starting a new job soon out in Realworldland and, given that my wardrobe mostly contains fancy party clothes, mental retro dresses, gardening clothes and clothes suitable for wearing while doing my Interwebland job,(OK, that's my pyjamas) I really do have nothing to wear there.

But the thing I'm going to enjoy making the most is a bag. On hearing that I was starting a new job soon, my daughter said she was keen to spend some time with me, just us two doing something together. Great, I said, and asked what she would like to do. "Make something together" she replied. Many times I've tried to suck her into my orbit of makingness but with limited success, so this was music to my ears.

So while I got all excited and sent her off to look through my stash to select the fabric, she had quite a different approach. It seems the practicalities are far more important than the look, so first we wrote up a design brief!

Apparently the perfect bag for a non-girly-girl must:
  • have lots of pockets and compartments for compass, fossil-digging tools, library books, wallet and high-bounce ball,
  • have secret hidey-holes for squirreling away Miscellaneous Useful Things found in ditches (springs, ball bearings, screws, shoeless high heels etc),
  • open the correct way for a left-hander,
  • have a comfortable padded shoulder strap,
  • be adjustable so that she can use it "forever",
  • have pockets and compartments that close securely so that precious goods do not fall out when the wearer is running, pogo-sticking or dangling upside down in a tree,
  • hold its shape when empty,
  • not be too heavy,
  • be robust so that getting it dirty and cleaning it again is not a drama.

Who knew!

My son came by, saw what we were up to, said "Cool!" and now we are probably making two bags.

We are currently making the pattern. I'm trying to behave myself and teach her how to do a fabric lay so we know exactly how much fabric we'll need, when really I can't wait for the bit when I say "Let's go stash-diving!" or better still, "Let's go fabric shopping!"

So this week my choice was "The money or the bag?" Bag wins. An economist would probably call me crazy, but to me, making something with my daughter is worth more than any amount of money I can think of.

The bag pictured above is from the Miscellaneous Mental Things section of my wardrobe. Yup, those are shells, rhinestones and poodles. I wonder if I can squeeze "Must make me laugh every time I use it" on my daughter's design brief!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Governors Bay Garage Sale Trail - But will there be fabric??

The Governors Bay Garage Sale Trail will be held on Sunday December 6th from 8.30 am to 12.30pm. Yes, tomorrow!

This very special event gives you the opportunity to stroll around this lovely community, browse and shop in the garages of many participating families and in the community hall.

This list and map shows all houses with a garage sale together with sales categories and special items for sale. So my obvious and immediate question is, could the categories "Hotchpotch" and "Other Hobby Items" potentially mean fabric, yarn, haberdashery, possibly a wheelbarrow full of vintage buttons???? I am so not cured... Further copies of this list are available at the She Cafe / Community Centre corner on the day.

Given that this event is a fundraiser event for The Clown Doctors New Zealand Trust, is being held in one of my favourite places, enables me to indulge in one of my favourite past-times for a good cause and then hopefully still have enough cash left over for the most delicious hot chocolate ever at She Cafe, then I'll be there with bells on. Just don't get between me and the fabric OK?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Florence Broadhurst Pop up store

I know I've banged on about Florence Broadhurst before. I own books about her, have watched movies about her, have cyberstalked Signature Prints' website and have excitedly collected wee morsels of her prints.

And if you know me in Realworldland you'll have also heard me banging on about how I love the whole pop-up shop concept.

Well now lucky Auckland people can go to the Florence Broadhurst Pop up store and, for a short time only, roll around in a whole shop full of fabulousness! December 5th - 13th, weekdays 10am - 6.30pm, weekends 9am - 4pm at 1:4 Axis building, 91 Lower St Georges Bay Rd, Parnell, Auckland.

Go on, go mad, then tell me all about it (while I'm stuck here in the frozen south dressed head to toe in merino) and make me green with envy.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Night Market, Thursday 3rd December

Busy, busy, busy this week in preparation for The Night Market. This Thursday night, from 6pm-10pm you'll find a cosy Christmassy craft affair at Our City O-Tautahi (corner of Oxford Terrace and Worcester St, yes right by the bridge, yes opposite Rydges Hotel, yes, in that cute building on the poster!).

Mine will be one of 20 boutique stalls and between us we'll be selling jewellery, homewares, accessories, candles, books, children’s clothing, aprons, handbags, toys and more, and ... bunting! So if you love beautifully handmade contemporary goods then come and do your Christmas shopping in style.

And yes, even though it will be officially summer by then, I'll have hottie covers for sale. This morning my daughter set off to school camp all dressed up like an eskimo after hearing our freezing weather report. Children dressed in shorts and T-shirts were trying to buy her Sir Ed-style fur-lined hat off her. By 10.30am, when all my extremities were numb and I was eyeing up the cognac as a means of warming up, I gave in and lit the fire instead. On 30th November. Sigh. Christchurch's summer seems to be turning into that old Scottish joke, "Ah, we had a lovely summer this year. It was on a Tuesday."

So I hope to see you on Thursday night. Who knows, it might even be a cosy, white, Christmassy craft affair.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Bunting is the new black

I'm a bit in love with bunting at the moment. Ever since I stitched the bunting onto the Stash reHash poster, I planned to make some of the real thing to hang outside the market. Of course it ended up being made late the night before the market after several glasses of Riesling and ended up looking like a blind person made it with their feet. Because I used upholstery fabric, it weighed a ton and nearly pulled over the Edgeware Rd bus shelter and was so stiff that it could have taken out someone's eye. Looked quite festive though I thought.

See that is the thing with bunting. It can make any occasion feel festive. Think I'll hang some up next time I have to clean the loo.

So this week while Ken Oath! (partner) is in Straya, the house looks like someone put a bomb under my stash. There is fabric from one end of the house to the other as I mix'n'match, pink and sew up several parties full of bunting. I have kept off the Riesling and taken my time and this batch is not at all huckery (if I say so myself). Come and snap some up at the Christmas Chic Market.

Otherwise check out my all-time favourite bunting here. Honestly, if I went to a do and that "Don't feel obliged to stay" bunting ("ideal for dinner parties or to hang above the bed") was up, I'd be tempted to just move in. Actually wouldn't that be a great slogan for a town! I'm off to suggest it to the CCC.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

This week I have been mostly...

This week I have been mostly doing a lot of the same thing. I really admire people who can do the same thing day in, day out without going barking mad because I am not usually one of those people.

Whenever I am in this situation I am reminded of one of my favourite series of skits from one of my favourite ever comedy shows. Does anyone else remember disgusting Jesse from The Fast Show regularly emerging from an outhouse to shout about what he has mostly been doing (usually eating) that week?

This week however I have managed it and I don't think I have gone mad. Whenever I was thinking, "Boring...", my partner would emerge from his office and say "Fancy a coffee and a stroll around the garden?" The correct answer is always "Yes".

See this week I have been mostly making aprons. Lots and lots of nice generous, down past your knees, right round to your back, fully lined, crisp, clean, fresh, bright, useful aprons. Not at all suitable for Jesse! Which is nice.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Memorable fabric

I suspect that the way my memory works is not quite normal. I know smells can trigger memories but mine are often triggered by fabrics, prints and patterns.

So while I often have great difficulty remembering the name of the cool woman I chatted to last week at Whatshername's party who turned out to be Thingame's sister, I can easily remember where I bought every ancient bit of fabric in my stash. Perhaps stranger still, my memories of key events in my life also include details of exactly what I was wearing at the time.

This week I'm making lots of things for a couple of markets I'm having stalls at over the next few weeks. For every piece of fabric I haul out of my stash, I slip through trapdoors in my memory to places and events I thought I'd forgotten about.

So for example, when I hauled a piece of the fabric pictured above out of my stash to make an apron, I remembered that it arrived ten years ago along with several kilos more of beautiful retro fabric courtesy of North Island friends. They were on a road-trip down the country, were op-shopping along the way and (correctly) guessed I'd love this. (Come back any time.)

I also remembered a grand day out in Raglan one New Years Eve that turned into a not so grand day in Waikato Hospital emergency department (small boy + peanut = bad scene). I was wearing damp halterneck Tango togs under a T-shirt from the Christchurch Art Gallery Shop and a skirt made out of that fabric.

Surely my brain-power and memory could be put to better use than this!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Dying for decent dye

Is anyone else mourning the loss of their favourite little round regular pharmacy purchase? Dylon hot water dyes in the wee round tins are gone! I've been in love with those things for years and my line of reclaimed jersey felt flower brooches relies upon them.

Since their disappearance I've been struggling to find a decent, non-blotchy, affordable, non-messy alternative that I can preferably buy within walking or retro-Raleighing distance of my home. After discussions with other stall-holders at Stash reHash I know I am not alone in this quest.

Today in Christchurch it is a "holiday". (Does anyone else think there is a word missing from the English language, i.e. a word for a "holiday" when you have children, are are self-employed and work from home? Such "holidays" are simply days when no work gets done and sometimes get referred to around here as "hellidays" or "horrordays". There is certainly no resting, relaxation or real holidaying involved!) So today I decided that I shouldn't judge a dye by its packet - or price, as the replacement product is twice the price - and tried Dylon's new product. I fed the children an enormous lunch, set them up playing a three-hour board game (Settlers of Catan), put on one of my 16 pairs of gardening pants and set to.

The first issue is that Dylon must have its product design team housed on planet Lotsoftime as the new dyes require 15 minutes of constant stirring then 45 minutes of occasional stirring. The second issue is that if a dye-bath is any less than scalding temperature I just can't resist ditching my trusty dye-stick and sticking my hands in. The third issue is the sad result. One hour and $7.99 later I am the proud owner of a garment (op-shop purchase, great style, excellent fit, colour a wee bit dodgy...) so blotchy and streaky that only a tragic old hippy would wear it. Sigh.

Tomorrow night I am wearing my other new find-of-the-century op-shop purchase (perfect style and fit and thankfully also perfect colour) to a posh do. If you see me there please do not comment on the fact that my hands are now the same colour as those toes on the cigarette packets and instead skip straight to the bit where you give me your best fabric dye tips. Please? I'll pay you!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Fabric-a-brac, Sat 14th Nov, 12-3, Wellington

Yet more action this weekend for fabric lovers. This weekend Wellington is the lucky town.

Fabric-a-brac returns this Saturday 14th November, 12 noon - 3pm at the Brooklyn Community Centre at 18 Harrison St, Brooklyn. Fabric-a-brac wants fabric out of the closet and in your hot little hands. Pick up fabulous vintage, unusual and modern fabric at bargain prices and help someone else clear out their sewing cupboard.

Sounds far too good to resist! Enjoy.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

One off (print) or repeating pattern?

When I first planned and wrote about Stash reHash, I said it would be a "one off event". Immediately people said "NOOOOO. Do it again. Do it again."

Now that it is over, I'm receiving emails and phonecalls from people expecting and assuming that Stash reHash will become a regular thing. I can't say YES yet as I don't know where I'll be living or what I'll be doing in a few months time (I'm open to offers of dreamjob where I get to work and deal with fab people like those on Sunday and have as much fun as I did organising Stash reHash...) I'd love to run it again and if I can't I'll boss, boss and boss someone else into running it, and give them a comprehensive "How To" guide of course.

So if you want to know whether/when it is happening again, and would like to be added to either of my mailing lists - potential stall-holders or eager shoppers - then please just email me at Otherwise just keep an eye on this blog.

And no I'm not over fabric. Pictured above is a stunning piece of Alexander Henry fabric called Skullduggery I bought from Bolt of Cloth yesterday. See, repeating pattern! It is a sign! That shop is every bit as gorgeous as everyone had told me. If you haven't been in and you love contemporary interiors fabrics then you just must. See, I am pretty bossy!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Top quality goods

I had a wonderful time on Sunday at the first ever Stash reHash market and I hope you did too. Today I am feeling a bit shell-shocked but happy.

Thank you to:
  • my wonderful stall-holders for taking a punt on this event,
  • all the generous people who donated goods for the Arthritis NZ stall,
  • the people at Arthritis NZ for always being such a pleasure to deal with especially when it became evident that we had created a gorgeous but gigantic monster,
  • the great new people I met along the way who came and helped at the working bee,
  • all the supportive people who spread the word about the event to their readers, customers, friends, sisters, daughters and Mums and meant that we got an astonishing turnout on a publicity budget equivalent to my household's monthly Weetbix spend,
  • all the patient shoppers who waited understandlingly or came back later when it became evident that the hall was not capable of safely holding another person,
  • the enthusiastic people who have have asked when it is happening again, how they can help or how to book a stall.

Thanks to all the lovely, creative people who sought me out to say hello, compliment me on this blog, tell me stories from their stashes and about their lives as makers. You have inspired me to get my making-mojo back.

Thanks too to the many positive people who have given feedback on how to improve the event for next time.

But mostly thanks to my fabulous friends. I already knew that my friends - old and new, vintage and contemporary, kitsch and classy, shabby chic and designer - were all top quality goods. They are the sort of people who tell you when you have lipstick on your teeth, kidnap your children when they realise you are doing it solo with a rotten cold, open the door and say "Want a cup of coffee?" when you spring a visit on them at a bad time and can turn your day from bad to fab with a quick conversation.

Since I first planned this event, a lot has happened in my household. Our knitting fell off our needles somewhat. What I had thought would be a peaceful and ideal time in which to plan and run such an event has turned out to be anything but.

So while I may have run this event for the same hourly rate as a worker in a Chinese jean factory, my friends rallied around and worked on it for free. They realised that my LoneWolf act just wasn't going to cut it this time. These gracious ladies gave me pep-talks and sound advice when I needed it ("Nah, stink idea"), wrestled with the mountain of donated goods at the working bee, left their sleeping children at dawn on Sunday morning to help me set up, worked all day on the Arthritis NZ stall then helped me pack up and clean up after the market.

Then my friends thanked me for a great day and encouraged me to continue working on the other event I've been cooking up. Talk about quality goods!

They all assure me that they are still my friends. That is a relief because I want them around whether I'm on top of the world and off to a party or have just returned from the Ladies' Room with my frock tucked into my undies.

Above are some photos from the day. The bright, in-focus ones are courtesy of the very talented Mel from Black Swan Designs (thank you). The blurry, spookily-lit ones are by me.

I'm off now to take up my very wise sister's suggestion of a very large cup of tea and a lie down.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Let's keep it seemly ladies

While out distributing posters and flyers for Stash reHash, someone told me about a great T-shirt they had seen an elderly woman wearing. It said "The winner is the one with the most fabric when she dies".

I love it, but I also love spreading the joy. Why just have one winner when we can all be winners I say! We'll have enough fabric (and yarn, buttons, patterns, zips, braid etc) for sale tomorrow at Stash reHash to make winners of all of us and hopefully we'll all behave ourselves so that there are no actual deaths on the day!

Arthritis NZ have so much amazing donated stuff that they will just keep replenishing their stall throughout the duration of the market. Some of my fabrics I've had for decades making me feel guilty about not getting to them, so if they are still in my face at 1pm they'll be seriously discounted. I know of at least one stall-holder who "just wants it gone!" as she is leaving town and planning new adventures.

So while it is exciting to get in at the beginning, I have a feeling that some of the best bargains will be had later in the day. So let's keep it seemly ladies. No craft terrorists please!

I just love the artwork pictured above. This "CRAFT TERRORIST LEATHER VEST + UTILITY BELT" was made by Wellington-based textile designer-maker, craft enthusiast and educator Genevieve Packer and was part of the Postmark exhibition at the Hirschfeld Gallery, City Gallery Wellington, 2005.
See you tomorrow.

Meet the stall-holders - Ange from Pandamonium

Ange says:
"Pandamonium productions NZ is a blend of costumes, designer clothing, multi-media, performance art and lots of colour!...from gothic to punk, hippy to pin-up.. and everything else outside the square..

I am winding down my designer clothing side of things to focus on my new troupe "Ayla's Angels Burlesque Circus". Currently now only taking personal orders, specialising in circus & performance costumes and therefore have a huge amount of fabric and notions to clear out.. from rolls at discount prices to bags of notions at bulk rates... Its a spring clear out!**Also a "heap" of unfinished clothing will be available to be rescued and finished and put to good use..

However be warned - Pandamonium is not for the faint-hearted and is often aimed at the extrovert in all of us!!"

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Meet the stall-holders - Fiona

Visit Fiona for lovely buttons, wool coat lengths, linen/cotton lengths, patterns, curtains, zips, tapes and notions. Fiona has been ruthless in her sorting and clearing but is finding the process very liberating and has no regrets.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009 telling you about Felt

Many people have emailed to ask me if finished goods will be for sale at Stash reHash.

The answer is no. Stash reHash is just for buying and selling old and new fabric, yarn, haberdashery, patterns, craft supplies, tools and materials. Stash reHash is not a contemporary craft fair, though judging by the number of queries I've had, I'd say lots of people in Christchurch are keen to shop at one.

If what you are really looking for are beautifully designed and made finished products, then I suggest you head over to Felt, your online outlet dedicated to all things handmade. There you will find a huge range of superb goods such as the items pictured above. The belt is by Tutus2, the oven mitt is by Julihunter, and the tiki cushion is by Nicolajade.

And if you are looking to actually go to a contemporary craft fair in Realworldland, and you live in Christchurch or Wellington, then keep the evening of Thursday 3rd December free and keep an eye on the Felt blog and the Craft2.0 blog for more exciting information.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Meet the Stall-holders - Linda from Fabric Palace

Linda says:

"I’m Linda of Fabric Palace. I have a love of colour and pattern and that’s why I love fabric so much.

I stock contemporary designer fabrics. They are all 100% cotton and suitable for fashion, crafting, quilting and home d├ęcor items. I’m really excited to have fabrics from designers like Paula Prass, Anna Maria Horner, Amy Butler, Joel Dewberry, Studio e, Laura Gunn & Tina Givens, to name a few.

I usually sell on TradeMe so I'm looking forward to seeing some of my existing clients (and new ones) face to face - rather than email to email.

At Stash reHash, as well as the new fabrics I'll have for sale, I'll also have items I've cleared out of my stash. I have an eclectic assortment in my stash. Some of it I've had for quite a while. I had the best intentions of turning it into something fabulous, but it hasn't happend so far. So time to let it go. One woman's stash trash - is another woman's treasure!"

Monday, November 2, 2009

Meet the stall-holders - Barbara

Barbara will be selling lots of fabric, some from the 50's, oldish lace and some not so old. As a self-confessed hoarder, she is concerned that she'll come home from Stash reHash with more stuff than she arrived with.

Barbara has a small business making miniature dolls, dollhouses, roomboxes and other miniature related goodies. You can visit Barbara's online Felt shop - called Treasures - and see her beautifully made miniature items at .

Nice mail today - Selvedge magazine

In my opinion, the best, the most beautiful, the most inspiring textiles publication ever, is Selvedge magazine. I was immediately hooked after being given the first two issues.

Today my phone is off the hook and my "To do - urgent!" list is being ignored because Issue 30 just arrived in my letterbox.

If you don't know Selvedge, get down to the library and check it out. Yes, Christchurch City Libraries subscribe to it. Dare you not to get utterly, hopelessly, wonderfully addicted.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


I greatly enjoyed reading Douglas Lloyd Jenkins' piece in the Listener recently titled A guy thing – or a gay thing? about New Zealand men's terrible dress sense.

Over the past couple of decades I have spent many, many hours making and acquiring clothes for a man who most certainly does "enjoy an engagement with clothes" but has had enormous difficulty finding any in New Zealand he wants to wear let alone shell out money for. For many years the only styley menswear options generally available here have been dark, deconstructed Belgian-inspired clothes.

Well, like me, the bloke who puts out the rubbish in my house loves colour and pattern. He is not the slightest bit scared of "looking like a poof" (cue knowing laugh from the sister who engineered our meeting...). Admittedly his style is unusual - and possibly to many it is appalling - but it is his own unique style and I greatly admire that.

So I have revived vintage safari suits for him and sewn him new suits from checked seersucker tablecloths and candlewick bedspreads. I've hunted for 1970s frill-fronted evening shirts and when they've expired I've made replicas of them. We've spent holidays abroad tracking down a pre-prepared list of dishy menswear labels not available in New Zealand, well at least not in Christchurch. I've mail ordered him briefcase alternatives , swimming trunks and shoes.

And I've made more loud, printed shirts from op-shop fabrics than I've kept count of. Pictured above are the fabrics of some of these shirts still in active service in his wardrobe including the fabric I bought at that London fabric market many years ago. Remnants from many of these will be for sale on my stall at Stash reHash.

These days he can actually go to a local shop and find an interesting shirt to buy. But I still enjoy the fabric hunt so much that I hope he'll keep my wardrobe assistant services on for the foreseeable future.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Meet the Stall-holders - Fabrication

Another stall-holder selling fabulous new goods at Stash reHash is Annie from Fabrication.

Fabrication is an online shop dedicated to bringing you gorgeous, fun, fresh and funky craft fabrics at great prices. They stock 100% cotton fabrics from leading international designers, including Amy Butler, Tania Wheelan, Joel Dewberry, David Walker, Free Spirit, Rowan, and Art Gallery Quilts along with speciality fabrics, such as the environmentally friendly hand screen-printed fabrics from Ink and Spindle, Melbourne.

With Christmas fast approaching now is the perfect time to start making those gifts for your family and friends. And, with everything (yes, that's right, everything!) on sale at Fabrication there's no excuse not to get creative this festive season. With up to 30% off fabrics and 20% off everything else, now is the perfect time to bag yourself a bargain! But hurry, this sale is for 2 weeks only, from Sunday the 1st to Saturday the 14th of November, and stock is limited so you'd better be in quick.

So if you can't wait to see Annie from Fabrication's beautiful range of fabrics at Stash reHash, then head on over to Fabrication's online shop at

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Shabby Chic Market Day

One of my favourite haunts in Christchurch for finding vintage fabrics and haberdashery was the lovely shop Forget-me-not. I first discovered it in High St, then visited regularly when it moved to Ferry Road.

Did you know that Helen from Forget-me-not now has a new treasure trove shop in Rochester Villa in Connal St?

This Saturday, 31st October, from 11am - 4pm, Rochester Villa will also be hosting a Shabby Chic Market Day. Stalls of beautiful vintage items, linens, clothes, collectables, retro items, kitsch and kitchen, antiques, furniture, restored, revamped and recycled items and beautiful things. Books, toys, bric a brac, Devonshire teas, cup cakes and coffee. Outside and inside the Rochester Villa on Connal St Woolston. Look for the signs off Ferry Rd. Rain or shine. Sounds like a perfect day out for ladies!

Fingers crossed it will be shine as, if after that you haven't had your fill of rummaging and fossicking, come and visit me on the White Elephant stall at the St Albans School Monster Fair, Sheppard Place, St Albans from 4-7pm. I can't promise that the goods I'll be selling will be as lovely as those at the Shabby Chic Market Day, but I can promise bargains, fun for all the family (smash-a-car, haunted house, fairy house plus more other exciting things than you can poke a stick at) and yes, even some fabric for sale.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Meet the stall-holders - Tommi

Tommi will be selling goods from a three-generational stash. This includes many craft supplies, and goods from an unmanageable fabric and haberdashery stash. Much of the stuff is from the 70s, including some fairly far-out partly made clothes with patterns.

Oh, I can think of at least one other stall-holder who is going to want to go shopping at Tommi's stall!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Meet the stall-holders - Needle Food

In addition to all the vintage and donated goods you will find for sale at Stash reHash, several stall-holders will be selling beautiful new goods. One such stall-holder is Michelle from Needle Food.

Michelle says:
Needle Food offers hand dyed yarn, most of which is made and dyed in Canterbury. We’ll have a good selection of sock yarns available at Stash Re-Hash along with free sock knitting patterns and needles, so we can construct you a sock knitting kit on the spot!

Needle Food is run by Michelle Tom – I’m a stay at home mum of four with a love of intense, unapologetic colour! And of course I love to knit, so when I discovered sock knitting and couldn’t find any reasonably priced, vibrant yarns locally, I set about making some for myself. With the encouragement of knitting friends and family, Needle Food was born.

Our website is here – and my blog is here –

We hope you can join us at Stash Re-Hash – yarn fondling will be free!

Monday, October 26, 2009

GST procrastination

I wonder if anyone else loathes doing their GST as much as I do. Mine must be done tonight and given that a) it is 11.13pm and I'm just about to start and b) I love doing it as much as I love cleaning the toilet or doing personality tests, I need to cheer myself up a bit first.

So firstly I cruise TradeMe and save mental properties to my watchlist and imagine my new exciting life in my very own bowling club, members grandstand or event centre. Sigh.

Secondly I list all my dream fabrics and imagine the joy if some turn up for sale at Stash reHash. (See, those properties may be cool, but with most it would be a case of "Either those curtains go or I do".) Sigh.

One such dream fabric is pictured above. London Toile by Timorous Beasties is a contemporary Toile de Jouy style design representing dodgy London scenes. What would a Christchurch Toile look like? Oh, I'd better not go there.

Ok, enough muckinaround. Get to work. Then go to bed. And dream fabricy dreams.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Meet the stall-holders - Briar from Rethreads

Briar says:

For rethreads, this is a great opportunity to focus on the future of the business and sort out anything that doesn't fit. I've been finding all sorts of tools and materials in nooks and crannies of the studio, items connected to ideas long since discarded, or given to me with the best of intentions.

This stuff needs to go! I'll have a basket marked 'free' for the duration of Stash rehash, and will be replenishing it as the afternoon wears on. I'm really looking forward to finding homes for some of my formerly treasured little notions, some picured here. Wooden spools, feathers (including three rooser 'bibs'), ethnic embroidery and weaving, iron on patches, decorative elastic, lace, and a selection of little tools no longer needed.

Find Briar's label rethreads on Felt.

If you need some inspiration for how to use those feathers, then look at what just turned up on Etsy Stalker: Feathers from head to toe!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Frocks on Bikes

I'm sure that many of you, like me, are excited about the Frocks on Bikes events happening in Christchurch this coming Saturday (October 24th, 2-5pm, Victoria Square). I'm sure you have already lined up a lovely frock to wear, polished your saddlebags and dusted your basket in anticipation. That just leaves one aesthetically displeasing aspect of the whole affair to be dealing with: the helmet.

I have no objection to wearing a helmet apart from the fact that all the ones I've ever seen for sale are so jolly ugly. They look sporty and I don't tend to like the look of sporty things.

So imagine my delight when I happened upon this photo by Mel Clark of the thing of beauty pictured above. I smiled, I coveted and I was inspired to knit when I saw this picture of Xanthe Harrison in her stunning Pony Club Helmet. Xanthe's idea was brought to fruition with yarn and pattern from South Seas Knitting. You can read the original post on the Slip Slip knit blog here. Xanthe won the best dressed in show award at the Ponsonby Frocks on Bikes parade in Auckland.

So quick, get knitting and hopefully we'll see something as gorgeous as this on Saturday. Given my knitting skills, mine should be just about finished in time for next year's events.

Monday, October 19, 2009

I'm cured! Oh no I'm not....

Only this morning while out in Realworldland distributing Stash reHash flyers and collecting donations, I was merrily boasting about how this whole process has cured me of my fabric addiction.

And then the unthinkable happened. Well actually it is thinkable because this is what I constantly hope/dream/pray will happen and fantasise about when I can't get to sleep at night. Today I collected a box of donations and it includes fabric by one of my all-time favourite designers.

The Australian designer Florence Broadhurst was by all accounts as mad as a meat axe. Good-mad though, not bad-mad. She was primarily a wallpaper designer, though whether she actually did any designing herself is unclear. Regardless of whether she did or not, she was still one styley chick, led an incredible life and her company produced beautiful work. Recently her designs have been reprinted from the original screens onto fabrics, wallpaper and a great range of products by Signature Prints in Australia.

If you don't know her work and would like to find out more, Christchurch City Libraries hold two biographies of her, including the one pictured above. Christchurch's very own wonderful Alice in Videoland also holds a great documentary about her life called Unfolding Florence: The many lives of Florence Broadhurst.

Now I'm off to put my hoping/dreaming/praying powers to work on a rather more pressing matter in this household.... Hopefully that will be just as successful.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Lace, lace and more lace

Today I received several bag loads of donated lace offcuts from a bridalwear manufacturer. Some are just tiny pieces and some lengths are garment, or at least bodice, sized.

A few of these gorgeous little morsels still have their original price-tags attached. They originally cost more per metre than I would get if I sold my family's car! They'll set you back somewhat less at Stash reHash.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Women are always right

Many years ago, when I was having trouble remembering which side the buttonholes went on women's clothing, I was taught to simply remember that "Women are always right".

If you need some gorgeous buttons to poke through your buttonholes, then look at what I have just been sorting out for the Arthritis NZ stall. The other day a lovely woman donated a huge, mixed-up bag of vintage buttons. With the wonders of a teacher-only day and child slave-labour they are now all sorted and carded and ready for you to snap them up.

I suspect they'll go like hot-cakes. Am I right or am I right?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A most exciting garage sale. Don’t keep it a secret!

Emma who ran the fabulous Everything Vintage Market is having a Huge Vintage Garage Sale. Emma has gorgeous things and tons of dishy fabrics. If you can't wait for Stash reHash or can't make it, then I suggest you head to:

26 Retreat Road, Avonside, Christchurch,
from 8am Saturday 17th October,

Vintage Fabric
Heaps of Craft Items
Lampshades, Frames, etc
Vintage & Retro Homewares
Retro Clothes

Super cheap… must go! Moving back to Australia sale of the century…

All the items pictured above are things Emma has sold recently. Oh la la!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Arthritis New Zealand donations - Wow!

Some of you may have seen this photo of Stash reHash stall-holder Prue in The Mail recently sorting through her fabrics. It accompanied an article about Stash reHash asking for donations of fabrics, notions, yarn, haberdashery etc for Arthritis New Zealand's stall.

The response has been amazing so a huge thanks to everyone who has donated goods. Many of the people who have donated goods are themselves affected by arthritis and have benefitted from the excellent services provided by Arthritis New Zealand.

If you would like more information about Arthritis New Zealand, please see their website. There is even a support group for parents of children affected by arthritis.

One of my favourite movie lines is in Jaws where the chap deadpans, "I think we're going to need a bigger boat". Well judging from the volume of donations we've received for Stash reHash, "I think we're going to need a bigger table if not a bigger hall!"

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Interiors fabric sale at Decorum in Lyttelton

If you are after dishy interiors fabrics at amazing prices and can't wait to see what turns up at Stash reHash, then I suggest you head to Decorum at 5A Oxford Street in Lyttelton. Decorum is a gorgeous wee shop selling antiques and textiles and they are currently having a fabric sale. They are open Thur-Sun, 10-5 or by appointment. The sale ends on Sunday 11th October.

While I was there I also spied readymade cushions in my favourite textile design to come out of New Zealand in the past couple of years. The design pictured above is part of Sheree Davis' "Urban Intrusion" series and it depicts houses peeking out through the bush-clad hills of Wellington's urban landscape.

I love this design because it is so obviously a New Zealand image but it is in no way kitschy or kiwianaish. It is cool and contemporary and depicts a place I love probably more than is healthy for someone who lives in Christchurch. Ah Wellington, where you can get your recommended number of daily steps just getting from your house to your letterbox. Where if you don't sweep your patio for a fortnight it will regenerate into native bush. Where it rains horizontally, where your frock's hem will spend lots of time flapping about your ears and where my hair immediately pings into a curly do to rival Susan Boyle's.

So happy shopping at Decorum but please leave a couple of those cushions for me.

Monday, October 5, 2009

One person's annoying unfinished project is another person's treasure

Lots of Stash reHash stall-holders have mentioned they'll be selling unfinished projects: either their own or ones they have inherited from other people. Some of these date back decades and include half-finished tapestries, half-knitted jerseys, patchwork projects and cut-out garments complete with pattern. Hopefully we'll find them new homes at the market and they'll be completed and loved as much as my best-ever unfinished project purchase.

I bought the coat pictured above for a couple of dollars in an op-shop in Lower Hutt nearly fifteen years ago. It was only partially made and pinned to the front of it was a large plastic bag containing a homemade paper pattern, all the required extra fabric pieces and instructions handwritten in very shaky handwriting. I tried the coat on and instantly fell in love. It reminded me of a Romeo Gigli coat I'd recently tried on in London and loved but been unable to afford. My smartypants friend/shopping companion was not impressed. She kept humming the Dr Who theme tune and quoting Julian Clary ("True or False: Corduroy is a mistake?") but I was undeterred. I bought it, finished it and have loved wearing it ever since.

Now a spooky thing happened when I was just out in the garden photographing this coat. A Yellow Admiral butterfly landed on it! I was so pleased and surprised that I fell over backwards, missed the photo opportunity and nearly squashed all the freshly planted Bok Choy. I'm not one for "signs" but if you read what I wrote for the Featured Seller spot on Felt this week, you'll understand why I was so excited. Rightio, I'm off outside to plant nettles.