Friday, August 27, 2010


This weekend I will have owned Bunny, my dog, for exactly a year. She was a totally spontaneous purchase, made on the spur of the moment. Over the last few years I've dealt with some really difficult circumstances and life has often felt really sad. So one day I decided that I needed to do something to bring joy back into my life and made a completely unplanned trip to the SPCA to look at dogs!

I've never really been a dog person so once I got there I felt a little scared walking round the dog enclosure. I wanted a small dog and felt that with my lack of dog experience, I needed an older, more settled dog. Well, there weren't many dogs that fit those criteria. I quite liked a corgi but it HATED cats. I knew a dog was going to be a shock for our elderly cat - Tinsel, so I passed on that one. That left Bunny, a medium sized staffy/terrier cross. She was ten years old and had been given to the SPCA because her elderly owner had gone into a rest home. I felt so sad for her.... one constant companion for ten years then suddenly they're gone. She looked elderly herself and was quite overweight. But she LOVED cats so that was promising.

Pretty Bunny. Look at those eyelashes!

I decided to have a closer look at her. They brought her out and I fell in love with her! Just like that! She was so friendly and seemed to like me. I took her for a little walk and I was sold. I just needed to bring Holly in the next day to see if they got along. Oh my gosh.... I was getting a dog! I texted Holly and Beth "I'm getting a dog!" They were both "What?" I'd had lunch with Beth the day before and I hadn't been getting a dog then.... I'd seen Holly in the morning and I hadn't been getting a dog then.... my reason - I fell in love! We picked up Bunny, the next day, on Holly's birthday. More a present for me!

Christmas Bunny

Her name has caused a few funny moments....
In the SPCA shop while buying a mountain of dog paraphernalia I called Bunny over to me.
A boy said "That's a dog not a bunny"
"I know she's a dog. Her name is Bunny."
"But she's not a bunny, she's a dog!"
"I know."
I carry on shopping. He turns to his brother and says in a disgusted voice, "Ooooh! I told her, that's a dog not a bunny."

or in general conversation....
"Bunny? You have a bunny?"
"No, not a bunny, a dog called Bunny!"
"I got her from the SPCA already named."

Or at the vets.... 
The vet comes in, looks at the computer, looks at Bunny, looks back at the computer, looks back at the dog, scrolls down on the computer, finally looks at me and says, "So how is Alfred today?"
"Alfred, noooo. My dog is called Bunny"

Beach Bunny

Bunny is delightful and very lovable. She's full of fun and is very affectionate. Her brindle appearance can be deceiving, making her look tougher than she really is. She's really a bit of a softie and is a sucker for anyone who will scratch her tummy! She has a sweet nature. She LOVES babies and children and is very gentle with them.

And a year on this is pretty much how she spends most of her days.... chilling out in her favourite chair. She does love Tinsel. Tinsel however is not so fond of her and it's taken almost the whole year for her to sit in the lounge with her. Bunny loves going for walks with me and is now trim and not overweight at all! I love coming home to her. She is always so happy to see me, greeting me with squeaks, barks and an out of control tail. She is great company, loves me unconditionally and is one of the best things that has ever happened to me!

Love you Bunny! xx

Support the SPCA Cupcake Day on Monday 30 August 

Saturday, August 21, 2010

paper art

I love art that involves typefaces, text, printing, books and paper. I have two limited edition prints from Sydney graphic designers me and amber. I love how they combine text with simple screenprinted images. The text and images enhance each other, working together to engage you in the art work as a whole. 
I am also captivated by the work of Melbourne book sculptor Nicholas Jones. He transforms books into beautiful, intricate art works.
This art form is as much about process as it is about the form - these books were conceived, born, loved, stored, discarded, found anew, studied, cut, folded and reborn. Through the act of stacking, folding, cutting, tearing, sewing the books, which I use, transmute, to produce objects or installations that throw new light on the book as an everyday commodity. These seemingly iconoclastic acts are employed to accentuate the beauty and tactility of the pages. 
Maya and Sam from Hideyo Designs in Tasmania, create origami sculptures that they fold and build from salvaged paper (usually old books from tip shops and op shops) and handmade paper. As each sculpture is made from certain pages from a particular old book, they become unique, one-off pieces.
So with all this amazing paper art inspiration, I've been constructing some paper art works of my own (although they are not on the intricate scale of Nicholas Jones or Hideyo Designs). When embarking on a new project or learning a new skill I embrace the mantra "start simple!" That way you attempt something that is achievable without being discouraged because it's too difficult. So I started with a simple diamond shape.
I had some small New Testaments that were the perfect size for folding into a diamond shape. My girls got them from Gideons when they started high school and as they cleared away the clutter of childhood, they passed them onto me. 

To construct a basic diamond shape, here are the steps I followed....
1) Take your book or bible and carefully remove the cover. Leave the paper and glue intact on the spine, this holds your paper sculpture together, then fold the pages into the middle into a triangle shape.
2) As you fold it forms naturally into a diamond shape.
3) Keep folding, it takes a while! It's quite therapeutic to while away an evening folding pages!  Use a gluestick to glue the two end pieces together to secure the finished shape.
 4) It also looks great hanging. You need to firmly glue the ribbon down the centre of the spine before glueing the end pieces together. (I used a hot glue gun to attach the ribbon.)

Gorgeous, don't you think? They are so satisfying to make. Once you've mastered a basic shape like the diamond you can experiment with more complex shapes. I am now attempting a slightly more complex shape. I am also going to try folding the pages inside the cover of the book. The possiblities are endless!

Monday, August 16, 2010

auckland zinefest

Last Saturday I got to be part of Auckland Zinefest, supporting Beth as she launched the second issue of her zine Craft - D. And just in case you're wondering "what's a zine?" here's a definition - a zine (an abbreviation of the word fanzine, or magazine; pronounced "zeen") is most commonly a small circulation publication of original or borrowed texts and images. More broadly, the term encompasses any self-published work of special interest usually reproduced via photocopier.
St Kevin's arcade was full of people exhibiting their original, self-published texts and people keen to read them. It was an awesome experience going round all the stalls, talking to people about their inspiration and what their zines were about.... so much innovation and creativity.

Here are some of my favourites.... sweet little zines using illustration and photography to tell quirky stories, examining familiar things and portraying them in new and different ways, exploring interesting ideas in music and art.... 
This butterfly made from religious texts challenges the ideas that we hold about the value and meaning of sacred texts as they are recreated and reborn into new forms. Exquisite!

And Beth's beautiful zine, Craft - D Issue 2....
.... jampacked with interesting ideas, inspiration, reviews, collections, how tos and a really great read! I'm not biased! Others thought so too.... Beth had to leave Zinefest early so I got to talk to lots of people about what her zine was about and to see their responses to it. They loved it.... especially when they found out that each zine had a selection of things Beth has collected over the years - photos, cafe postcards, Shortland St cards and stickers. She sold almost all of her limited edition print run of 50 but you can download it from her blog craft-d. By the way, Beth's zine came third in the "Zine of the Fest" awards. Yay! So proud!

Zine definition courtesy of Beth Peters

Thursday, August 12, 2010


My most recent crafting obsession is applique. I've long admired Rachel King's beautifully handcrafted homewares and the clothing that she has appliqued for her children. So when she agreed to share the "how tos" of this craft at Craft Nerds, I was excited!

To start your applique project you will need fabric for your design and backing fabric or a t shirt or a tea towel, etc, iron on vilene (Bondaweb*), embroidery cotton and the basics - pencil, needles, scissors.

Then follow these simple steps....
1) choose a shape/design to applique (remember simple to start with!)

2) draw on the paperside of the Bondaweb - if you are doing numbers, letters.... draw your design in reverse

3) iron the design onto the wrong side of the fabric - rough side down

4) cut the design out and peel off backing paper

5) iron onto your background material

6) to finish and reinforce your design, blanket stitch round the edges (machine stitching looks great too!)

And here is my finished design....
....which I am making into a cushion. It was so much fun to make!

Applique is a simple and effective way to transform a plain piece of fabric, clothing, tablecloths, tea towels, cushions, quilts..... The more you do, the more complex your designs can become. Go on, have a go.... You'll love it!!

*You can pick up the Bondaweb at Spotlight. It also goes by the name of Vliesofix, Vlieseline, Vilene..... It can be confusing. I asked the ladies at Spotlight for help several times before I found it!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

the big book buy

Here I am dressed up as Max from Where the Wild Things Are. I love Max! He was our key image for promoting the Big Book Buy. Why Max? Well Where the Wild things Are won the prestigious Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished picture book in 1964, over 40 years ago.... and if you talk to a group of adults about children’s books they loved growing up, many will say Where the Wild Things Are.... and it’s still beloved by children today!
The Big Book Buy is an initiative at St Paul's where we aim to build up the resources of books and bibles in Children's Church. We hoped to serve up a feast of delicious new books to feed the hearts and minds of our kids - future thinkers, leaders and teachers and to provide parenting resources to empower and equip our parents and families. Our vision was also to share the love with a small church in Kaitaia (with very few resources) by giving them a selection of books and bibles too. We invited people to “buy-in” to our vision by sponsoring books for Children's Church.

So we hosted a delicious family lunch, where people could relax with their families before choosing a book....
The kids dressed up as their favourite book characters....
Bingo the Clown entertained the kids. He had them captivated with tricks, balloon animals and swords....
It was great to see the kids really excited about the books.... choosing the ones they wanted to get for Children's Church.... getting their parents to help them write a special message on the book plates.... sticking them in "their" books.... and putting them in the book boxes.
It was a wonderful occasion with a real sense of celebration, giving and love. It was an overwhelming success! Reading to children is one of the most powerful things we can do, it leaves a life long impact... we can't wait to open up these lovely books to read to our children.
Remember "a house without books is like a room without windows." Horace Mann 
Photos of children dressed as book characters by Stacy McIvor
All other photos by Beth Peters

Friday, August 6, 2010

auckland art & craft fair

This press release caught my eye.....
The Auckland Art & Craft Fair is a one of a kind, special event happening for the very first time on 24th July 2010. Designed to showcase a selection of New Zealand's best independent and contemporary Designers, Artists & Crafters selling their products direct to the public for one day only. At the Fair you will find products with an emphasis on quality, craftsmanship, creativity and style. You can purchase direct from the seller, knowing that you are supporting our local talent and you will be taking home a special piece that has soul.
Ever appreciative of the chance to enjoy the handmade, I went along with Beth & Mike to check it out. I loved the location in the Auckland Art Gallery lounge with it's Cut Collective murals on the walls.... but it was crazy!! People were squished everywhere. We started at one end but couldn't move or see any of the stalls so we thought we were going the wrong way...... so we started at the other end.... and no, still stuck!! Eventually we got in and had a closer look at the amazing selection of art, craft and design on display. Oh, so much to see! Two designer/artists that caught my eye were Sensitive Boyfriend and Devon Smith.....
Drus Dryden (sensitive boyfriend's alter ego) says, "I hang out on the intersection of sensitive and whimsical, and see what comes along. I'm a conceptual designer, so the idea is more interesting than the actual thing. So far I've made cookies, pillow cases, scarves, t-shirts, badges, ceramics, rubber stamps . . . you name it." His designs are fun, clever and quirky. They are also beautifully made and presented. His stall was laid out a bit differently, with postcard images of his designs displayed. It made it graphically interesting, you were drawn in for a closer look. My favourites? The eye catching pink knitted Winter condoms, the Giving Up Smoking gloves, the amusing Psycho chopping board with obligatory knife and the Stain by Numbers tea towel....
I managed to score the last one! I love the key at the bottom - 1. Bleach splatter 2. Spilled milk 3. Mushroom sauce 4. Chicken gravy 5. Hazelnut gelato......
Devon Smith's art works, prints and jewellery are stunningly drawn and crafted. I had spied her work at Swonderful in Wellington so it was great to see it again. Her images are original, detailed, delicate and sensitive but with an edge!
So beautiful.... my very own miniature original painting to wear. I love the packaging with it's ribbon and "D" wax seal.

Other purchases worthy of mention are......
.....a lovely lavender bird from Birdspoke
....and this gorgeous crucifix from the Ferrit. All purchased with specially printed market money designed by Devon Smith. I would show you but I spent it all!!


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