Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Home Sweet Open Home



WARNING:  Property Investors and Landlords please leave now, click-as-you-can.  Nothing to see here.  Away you go.  Shoo!

You see, I'm finally there.  This weekend is our first open home and I am determined to find loving new owners for our dream-home.  By the weekend I'll hopefully be out of denial and ready to welcome visitors.  If you know someone looking for a new home who you think would like this style of house, then please pass it on.

Details are:
  • Trademe listing here.
  • 1950s Pascoe and Hall (designed by Humphrey Hall) modernist home.
  • Timeless, unique and fabulously functional design.
  • 3 bedrooms, 2 living, plus study.
  • Superbly sunny and private.
  • 932 sq m section planted in natives and with an extensive vegetable garden.
  • Double garage with internal access and auto garage door.
  • One bathroom and large separate laundry.
  • Micro-park across the road, Christchurch/Westminster Park 1 minute walk away and St Albans Park 5 mins walk away.
  • 35 mins walk to my old job in town in sensible shoes or 40 mins walk in dishy shoes.  Took 10 mins to cycle there before I sold my bike.
  • Warrington St shops, Shirley Road shopping centre, Edgeware shops and The Palms all in easy walking distance.
  • 43 Aylesford St which we say is in Mairehau, our neighbours on one side say is in Shirley and neighbours on the other side say is in St Albans (Sarah Palin would say "I can see Merivale from my house!).
We have absolutely loved living in this home and hope to find new owners who will too.  Now I need to go cheer myself up in the company of my friend Bunnahabhain and stitch myself an Open Home sign.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The "To do" list and the "Not to do" list

Because I am very easily distracted, I have always been a list person.  My favourite list was the one I made when Ken Oath! and I moved into the first home we bought together.  It was a long and sensible list with things like "Underfloor insulation, sand bathroom floor, investigate drive-on access, paint spare bedroom, fix bathroom window latch, get gas heater serviced, fix dodgy step, build vegetable garden" etc etc.  At the bottom of my list, in a different coloured pen, in Ken Oath!'s hand-writing it says, "Have babies!"  So we did that then of course finally ticked everything else of the list five years later - about twenty minutes before boarding the plane to move to Christchurch.

For the last few months I have been working through a hallway-long To Do list in preparation for putting our Christchurch house on the market.  Last week it was down to fridge-freezer-long and now it is only freezer-long.

Given that I generally do all my own stunts (i.e. a do-it-yourselfer), this means that a) the skin on my hands now resembles the left-over Christmas Day roast potatoes you find in the oven when you return home from your holiday on January 6th, b)  while my hands have been busy, my mind has been doing some serious wandering.

Lately it has been wandering to my "Not to do" list.  Does anyone else have one of these?  These are things that for one reason or another I hope to never do in my lifetime. Below are a few of them. Blogging used to be on that list until someone far cleverer than me suggested it would be just the ticket for Stash reHash, so who knows which of the listed joys I will actually get to experience one day.

1.  Vote Act. My family are under strict instructions to get me psychiatrically assessed if this ever happens.
2.  Be an All Black. Too shouty for me.
3.  Sledge (that rude thing cricketers do). It is simply terribly bad manners and I don't care that you are wearing a sports uniform.
4.  Wear a sports uniform.
5.  Make my children do outdoor winter sports in Christchurch. So unspeakably grim.  Surely people will look back in a hundred years time and consider making children run around outside, in shorts, on a 4 degree sleeting day a form of child abuse.
6.  Moonhop to the North Pole/unicycle across the Sahara/flutterboard across the Pacific Ocean or participate in any other "extreme adventure".  When "extreme adventurers" come on Nine-to-Noon I have to pop a CD on lest I should start shouting at the radio.  I wouldn't want to cause anyone else to shout.
7.  Get my mugshot on the "Wanted" pages of the newspaper. Upsetting for my mother.
8.  Drive a Hummer.  They are for people who are in wars.  And saddos.
9.  Grow a beard. Or even a moustache.
10.  Paint a room beige.  If I had the job naming all the paint colours,  I'd call all the beiges things like "Surely you can do better than this" or "Warning - contains highly offensive non-colour". Then I'd probably need to get another job.
11.  Wear batwing sleeves.  And no, not because I wore them last time around.  I just find them nasty.  Last time they were "in" I ignored them and hoped they'd go away and it worked for nearly two decades. I wagged the day at Fashion School when they taught batwing sleeves in pattern-making class as I hoped I'd never need to use it.  The one time I was required to make a batwing sleeve pattern was in the early nineties when I was working for someone who is now one of New Zealand's top designers.  Thankfully her technique for "designing" was to go overseas on shopping trips and bring back two of anything she fancied.  Then she'd hang one up in the workroom and fling the other one at a pattern-maker's head while shrieking "Unpick!" - never once realising that any good pattern-maker can copy a garment without having to unpick it.
12. Wear a peplum.  On me: Ew.
13.  Wear a jumpsuit. On me: Ew, ew.
14.  Wear godets.  On anyone: Ew, ew, ew.

Best I stop now as I've probably offended everyone at least twice. Plus this is starting to sound like a Listener column which I used to quite enjoy, but now think should be renamed "Stuff I hate" (could one of my Wellington poker+vodka friends please invite the offending writer out as I'm sure she's actually a very nice sort who just needs to get out more). Bit like me. So I'm going out now.  To Bunnings.

The photos at the top are of fabrics that were my backup plan when I came to realise that "Make wardrobe doors" was not going to get ticked off my To Do list.  When I rebuilt my bedroom I couldn't face shelling out dosh for giant white melamine wardrobe doors as that just seemed like a missed opportunity.  I'd always wanted a photo mural there, or to jumbo-enlarge my favourite woodland scene paint-by-numbers picture and paint it onto plywood in just brown and white tones with the woodgrain left as the background. Sigh.  Then I discoved Erin Michael's prints for Moda above and decided to make huge fabric panels like fake wardrobe doors. Well that fabric is harder to find than a Hummer-driver-I'd-like-to-have-a-cup-of-tea-with, so I'll be leaving....air.  But naturally I'll be selling it to the new owners as ... an opportunity!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Three great stash-busting ideas

Now that I have no stash and no time to make anything more interesting than a folded pile of clean laundry, I keep hearing about lovely events for makers.  For a compulsive and usually prolific maker like me, this is a form of torture.  So rather than just sit here getting bitter, twisted and frustrated by my inability to participate, I'm going to write about them here in the hope that someone out there participates and I can live vicariously through you.

1. Wild Tea Cosies Competition

I have spies in Nelson.  One of them a) loves the wonderful Nelson independent bookstore Page and Blackmore Booksellers, and b) told me about a Wild Tea Cosies Competition they are running. Here is how it works:

Crafters and creators get your fingers clicking. Make a tea cosy to win the book Really Wild Tea Cosies by Loani Prior
Entries close Tuesday 28th May. All entries will be displayed in our window and the winner will be drawn 1st June.

And yes the competition is open to people from outside Nelson.  Take or send your entries to:

Page and Blackmore Booksellers Ltd,
254 Trafalgar Street
Nelson 7010

If you would like to have your tea cosy returned, then enclose a prepaid and pre-addressed post bag.  28th May is not far away, so hop to it, click-as-you-can!

2. "It’s a Tree" collaborative community project

It's a Tree is a project by OutdoorKnit, sponsored by The New Dowse, Craft2.0 and Knitsch yarns. The idea is this:

there are a few very tall lamp posts outside the New Dowse in Lower Hutt, and OutdoorKnit decided it would be a pretty fun idea to turn them into something different...trees!
What OutdoorKnit needs is lots of knitted, crochet or even sewn flowers, leaves and native birds to cover these 'trees'. The best medium for this is acrylic - it wears better when the weather gets a bit grotty.

For more info see:
The OutdoorKnit blog and the Craft2.0 blog.

The picture above is of some of the flowers and leaves in progress and the picture below is, well, something else pretty, jolly, special.

If you are in any doubt about how rewarding, enjoyable and successful such collaborative projects can be, then check out this Knitted Wedding.  A few years ago, textile artist Freddie Robins curated the exhibition Ceremony (Pump House Gallery, Battersea Park, London) which culminated in the Knitted Wedding of Freddie and artist, Ben Coode-Adams.  To read more about it, see Elvis Robertson's great account of it on her Lovely Textiles blog here, or browse through the photo albums here and here.  I've never really got weddings, but that, I get.

3.  Floral Frocked Floosies

Now don't run away.  Just as "hood" no longer just means "odd, infrequently-used, hat-like appendix hanging off the back of a garment", so "floosy" apparently no longer just means "the lady I thought must have missed the No 46 bus up Manchester St and so offered to drive home one wet and windy night on my first week living on Christchurch while on my way home from the library." (Sigh. We still see each other sometimes and smile and wave.)  No, to see what a modern-day floosy gets up to, see the picture at the very top of this post.

If you have had even the quickest trundle around the crafty bits of Interwebland, you will have gathered that it is a very caring and sharing place. There are dozens of blogs and websites giving tutorials, patterns and crafting tips for free.  Sometimes I look at these sites these and wonder "Who has the time to put all this stuff out there? And why? And what do you get out of it?", but mostly I just think "What a kind lady. Nice tip. Thank you very much".

Sometimes though, when you are attempting a new crafty project, nothing beats being in a real room, with other real crafters, with a nice real person who knows more than you do and is willing to help you.   Like the Realworldland version of those online tutorials. Now add cake.  I know!  Who could resist!  Well that is what Floral Frocked Floosies is.

Floral Frocked Floosies is a Christchurch crafting group co-ordinated by Justine from Redflax.  They get together every fortnight or so on a Monday at 7ish.  The group decides what they want to learn to sew and Justine teaches it - apparently with sometimes hilarious results.  There are two different groups - one just for pottering and finishing stuff etc, and one more structured with a set lesson - like cushions, hottie covers, bags, skirts etc.  You can find out more at their Facebook page.

So people, go forth, have fun, and if you do participate, then I'd love to see the results.  Right.  Best go get the washing in.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Destashing - miscellaneous useful stuff

Do you ever see a Trademe seller and, by the composite of their listings, make up your mind what sort of person they are?  Do you ever save a Trademe seller as a favourite just to see if the item you guess they'll list next, they actually do list next? Oh, is that just me....

I've just listed some miscellaneous useful stuff on Trademe.  When I went back to cyber-stalk my own listings to see if anyone had looked at them (Must stop now.), I realised that I had become that cliché! My listings tell a story and spookily that story is true. 

Yes it is true that I like to get home on my bike, flop down in the garden (actually on a bench-seat I made myself from a plan in a book but the photo didn't match) under my sun umbrella (so as to not get a tan), pop on a pair of mad vintage sunglasses, grab a funny old non-fiction book and say to TheShortFolk "play amongst yourselves!", then relax while they push each other into things on their go-kart, while indoors the cat scratches holes in a once-collectible rug and the vintage tablecloth sits forlornly on the dining table while no-one cooks the dinner. 

And looking at my own composite, perhaps my retro-is-a-bad-word friend is right and it is time to reinvent myself.  With all those $1s I'll be collecting in a week's time!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Thank you, thank you, thank you

I had an absolutely wonderful time on Sunday at the second Stash reHash fabric market and I hope you did too. I hope your stash is topped up with new treasures and that you are inspired to make beautiful things. If anyone was ever in doubt about the resurgence of crafts and the existence of the hand-made movement in Christchurch, then yesterday was proof of how strong it is amongst women and men (yes, I was wrong) of all ages.

I must admit that I felt like an alcoholic running a pub, but I managed to stick to my plan and not buy a single thing. Now that my fabric stash has completely disappeared I feel a bit like a sailor without a boat, but I have no time to dwell on that as today I have to do my GST! Aargh! No time for muckingaround again this month, but I can see the future and it involves a reward...

But enough of the silly similes; I have some serious thanking to do.

Thank you to:
• the 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 the gorgeous but gigantic monster we created for the first market had been eating steroids,
• the lovely new people I met along the way who volunteered their time to help at the working bee and at the market,
• all the people who helped spread the word about the event through the press, via Twitter and Facebook, in shops, on blogs and out in Realworldland,
• and of course to all you many, many shoppers. I doubt there has ever been a more patient queue or a friendlier, more enthusiastic bunch of shoppers.

But again mostly thanks to my fabulous friends and family. Many people asked me if I planned to run this event in my soon-to-be-hometown in Western Australia. The answer has to be no because this event only works because here I have such a great network of friends and supporters who help me at every stage of the organisation.

The other big questions of the day were variations on “Will Stash reHash happen again? / Who is going to run it next time? / When will the next one be? / How do I find out if and when the next one will be? / How do I have a stall at the next market?”

At this stage I can’t answer those questions. Discussions need to be had – preferably in wine bars. If definite plans are made before I leave, I’ll let you know on this blog.

Otherwise here is my tip for the best place to find out about any crafty event. In Christchurch we are lucky enough to have Craft Royalty in the form of Lucy from Felt. Her Felt blog is the best place to find out about all things crafty - both in Christchurch and around the country.  I've already got wind of a few upcoming events I'll be very sad to miss, so keep an eye on that blog and make sure you don't miss them too.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Blokes, dogs and children

Recently I received an email from a woman who is coming from out of town to shop at Stash reHash on Sunday.  She is concerned that her husband, children and dog will do the old "Are you done yet?  Are you done yet?" and cramp her fabric shopping style.  Not being familiar with St Albans, she asked for some ideas of where to send them so she can shop in peace.

Good move.  I'm going to make a gross generalisation here, but in my experience (most) blokes, dogs and small children don't really get fabric markets.  If you are in the same position as this shopper then here are my top tips for where to send them.

Abberley Park.  This beautiful garden park is just a few minutes walk away (down Edgeware Road, cross Springfield Road  and you'll see the entrance in Abberley Crescent).  It has Secret Gardens, often has swarms of butterflies, enough room to kick a ball around, two playgrounds suitable for young children and bridges for playing Pooh Sticks.

St Albans Park.  This is a bit further away between Madras St and Barbadoes St down the Warrington St end.  Loads of different play equipment arranged in a circuit around the perimeter of sports fields plus a skateboard park, basketball hoop, flying fox.

If the weather is foul then you are spoilt for choice in Christchurch with The Christchurch Art Gallery, Canterbury Museum and Science Alive (not much chop for dogs though) just a few minutes drive away from the market.

But if you really want them out of your hair for a good long time, and your Shortfolk are taller than 1.3m tall (oh, not the dog!), then tell them to drive out to Spencerville and go to one of my all-time favourite places near Christchurch: Adrenaline Forest.  This is just the coolest place.  My lucky Shortfolk went there yesterday.

And my apologies to all the men who do get fabric markets.  Go you!

Pictured above is the rose-covered fabric of a frock which sat in my stash for years.  Before that it had sat in my friend's stash for many years before she gave it to me.  It has finally been altered and now has pride of place in my wardrobe.  The same friend took my children to Adrenaline Forest yesterday, had them for a sleep-over last night (thankyou, thankyou, thankyou) and is hopefully still sane.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

New, new, new designer fabrics

If you follow this blog, have spotted me out in Realworldland or have kept me company in my home, you'll know that my personal taste tends towards the retro, or as a disapproving friend calls it, "The R-word".

But all tastes will be catered for at Sunday's market.  Remember that there are dozens of individual stall-holders at Stash reHash selling their treasures.  Stall-holders' descriptions of their wares include shabby chic, true vintage, vintage-inspired, Asian, Japanese, contemporary and designer.

Plus three stall-holders are online retailers of new designer fabrics.  If you aren't already familiar with their wares then this is your chance to see them in real life.  And if you're not usually an online shopper, then this is a great opportunity to meet the great sellers behind these businesses so you can make future online purchases in confidence.

If you fancy checking them out before the market, then hop over and visit:

Annie from Fabrication (picture at the top is Wishing Flowers - Fuschia and below is Antler Damask - Celadon),

Lyndy from Stitchbird Fabrics (picture below is Ducks in a row),

and Melinda who sells as Littlebutton1 on Trademe (picture below is Timber apple mist).

Come and visit them on Sunday and indulge your love of beautiful new designer fabrics because as Melinda puts it, "She who dies with the most fabric wins!"

Monday, April 12, 2010

Coffee, cake, cupcakes and more

Fabric shopping can be a very tough, energy-sapping business so you'll need to keep your strength up.  Outside the market on Sunday you'll find the Retro Espresso coffee caravan for your coffee fix and my friends from the St Albans School PTA selling food including their world-famous-in-St-Albans baking. 

Then if after you've shopped and eaten and drank to your heart's content you still feel like a little something else, well how about buying a business!  Even that gorgeous coffee caravan is for sale!  Read more about it on its Trademe listing here.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

How to cure a fabricaholic

I am usually a pretty verbose person. I have just returned from the Arthritis NZ working bee and I am lost for words so here are some pictures.

10am arrive to find a huge room that looks like the picture above.  And this,

and this.

Quickly realise that this is no place for children so escort mine across the road to Science Alive where they spend the day happily doing this (now that is a child with well-managed juvenile arthritis!),

and this.

Get back to the working bee and find lots of amazing helpers sorting the donations.  And what did we find? Everything!  Trust me when I say that whatever fabric, notion, haberdashery item or miscellaneous crafty thing you are looking for, then it will be on Arthritis NZ's stall. We went mining and we found gold. More things than I can list or describe here.  Incredible, amazing, beautiful and inspiring things. And I'm not joking when I say that it will be arriving to the market in a truck.  Each helper had different favourites and items they put in the many boxes we labelled "Treasures".  Here are a few of my mine.

And that is just from one box.  There are this many more.

Many thanks to all the people who have donated these amazing goods and many thanks to all the helpers who came to sort it all out.  Now to make this all worthwhile we need shoppers next Sunday.  Thousands of shoppers.  Tell your friends, your sisters, your workmates and your Mum. Please. And I wasn't joking about that trailer.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Arthritis New Zealand working bee - Helpers required

I'm not scared of fabric.  I'm also not scared of hard work.  However when I delivered some donated goods to Arthritis NZ and saw just how amazing the response to their request for donations has been, I quickly realised what a huge job it will be to sort and prepare their goods for sale.  This is an "all hands on deck" situation!

Arthritis NZ are having a working bee on
Sunday, April 11th, starting at 10am
and finishing, well, sometime before 11am on Sunday 18th April.  Just kidding.  Finishing mid-afternoon. If you are able to come along and help even for an hour or so at any stage during that time, then that would be fabulous.  Please email me on stashrehash@clear.net.nz and I'll give you all the details of where to come and what to bring.

Pictured above is one corner of Arthritis NZ's stall at the last Stash reHash market in November last year just minutes before the hall doors opened.  What you can't see is the room behind their stall filled with many, many more boxes of fabric.  They constantly replenished their stall throughout the market.  Given that they have even more goods this time, they'll be doing the same again. 

So if turning up exactly on opening time, dealing with crowds or queueing isn't your cup of tea, then come to the market a wee bit later in the day.  At the last market there were great fill-a-bag deals from 1pm on Arthritis NZ's stall.  I met several very happy late-comers who had avoided the crush, had a relaxed shop and left with enormous armloads of fabric set to become playtents, curtains, whole-cloth quilts and bunting and all purchased at absolute bargain prices.  I wrote BYO shopping bag in some ads, but if you have a big job planned then BYO wheelbarrow. Or maybe trailer.