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.