Thursday, August 28, 2008

The generosity of bloggers

Sometimes the generosity of bloggers astounds me. This week I received the most wonderful parcel in the mail from Jess (from Button Beauty), filled with goodies. Not just any old goodies either - but thoughtful, considered gifts, that were just so perfect. And all because the winner of Jess' giveaway had found her via my blog. How is that for generous!!! And as an example of her thoughtfulness, Jess had remembered from a previous post of mine that I loved nasturtiums, especially the way water beads on their leaves, so she included some nasturtium seeds!!! She also gave me three gorgeous pieces of fabric, the most beautifully soft and well made cotton bamboo face washer (it really has to be touched to understand just how soft it is), some lovely fabric covered buttons, and the best vintage sewing book ever. In fact, I spent quite some time showing my husband some of the classic pictures in this, and reading out various parts to him (such as 'I had no idea there were so many types of sleeves, or that there is a sleeve design called 'the leg of mutton'...he he he...).

In fact, the book is such a cracker, that I just have to share some of it here. For example, how cool is this little sewing corner. The holders on the wall are actually straw hats!!!!

My husband says he would be quite happy for me to whip up this cheerleader outfit for myself...ahem...don't think so!!!

Although he wasn't so enthusiastic about me kitting myself out in this nightie :P

There are just so many great pics in this sewing book, and so much great fashion. I LOVE the shirt on the girl on the left, and how cool is her hat!

And lastly, as this IS a sewing book for 'teens', of course it includes the obligatory 'checklist' so you can work out exactly where your wardrobe is lacking, and what items you need to sew for yourself (click on the image for a closer look at what your wardrobe might be missing). Hmmmmm, looks like I need to start sewing myself some 'pants and jeans, from knock-about casual to party-timers....' Guess I'd better get cracking!!!

Thanks again Jess, it really was such a lovely package to receive :)
Cheers, Bec X

Oh, and as an edit to this, I almost forgot to add, that while I was having my bloggy break, I also received a Brilliante Weblog Award from Jess, which I somehow completely missed (which really goes to prove my unworthiness I guess). But can I also say once again Thank-you Jess!!!! And I am hereby passing this award onto anyone who suffers from 'Blogging Guilt' over tags or awards that they have received that they either accidently missed, or haven't gotten around to posting about yet.....please say I'm not the only one????

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Nice stuff (or - the longest post in the history of long posts....)

I figured after the last rather serious post it was time for some frivolous niceness :) I'm also due for a big bloggy catch-up after my break, so I've decided to roll everything together into one big sweet doughy lump of deliciousness.

Lets start with some eye candy!

I've been having a little bit of a spend-up lately. Firstly, I saw some gorgeous vintage button hair clips on Stacey's blog - Sheep's Clothing, and I had to high-tail it to her shop lest I miss out on these beauties. But don't worry folks, I see she has added more clippy deliciousness in other yummy colours to her shop, in case you are as tempted as I was when I first saw them!

Now clearly I have a hair clip addiction, which needs to be fed, so these delightful little items came in the mail early this week. Em and Bel (of EmBelISH) are members of the BrisStyle Street Team I belong to, and as you may have heard, we had a little sale recently. So how could I not buy these beautiful clips.

Especially as they came with the free little owly brooch, and beautifully gift-wrapped. These girls also have a new blog, so check it out to get the latest on their creative endeavors.

And please excuse the crummy hair model, but I thought Stacey, Em and Bel would all like to see how their clips look when being worn - pretty damn cute if you ask me (if you look past the messy hair).

I really should brush my hair before I tie it up next time I decide to do photos....sorry about that...

And getting away from my feral noggin, here's some pics of some much nicer heads :)

These original art ACEOs from Tracey (of Hey Harriet) are just stunning, and are another BrisStyle Sale buy. I've had my eye on the 'All My Little Words' art card for ages now, but then I just couldn't resist the 'Yellow Wall Boy' card either, and the Giraffe was given as a freebie. How lucky is that! Oh, and Tracy is the founder of 'Shadow Shot Sunday' which she hosts on her gorgeous blog, so if you want to check out some cool shadow photography, click on over and enjoy :)

OK, so clearly lots of buying going on. But I've also been kinda productive as well. I've been having a go at doing some boy's wallets, because after looking for handmade things for my son when it was his birthday, I realised there is a real lack of nice things for boys in the handmade world. So to try and balance the scales just a little in my shop, I've created these two little rascals:

The Phizz-z-z-z Boys 'Cash and Cards' wallet - made with reclaimed vintage seersucker fabric and new fabric scraps, with a big recycled button on the velcro flap closure. Pockets for cards and a long pocket for cash, but no spots for coins. My husband assures me that no male ever carries change in his wallet - makes it too bulky to put in the back pocket apparently :P

Can anyone else verify this?

I must admit, I have known many boys who keeps big jars full of coins in their room. I guess this is what happens when there is no place to put coins? (By the way, this wallet is called 'Tootle' and is for the train enthusiast - note the train tracks - and this one has a button closure rather than velcro...thought I'd try a a couple of different closure types and see what was most popular. Going to do an elastic one too as soon as I can get out and get some in black).

Anyway, back to the jar of coins in the bedroom. Forced savings? Maybe these boys are onto a winner. Especially as my husband just bought a heap of parts for his mountain bike after counting up all his gold coins and discovering he had over $400 there!!!!!!

OK, now I did warn you that this was to be a big post didn't I? Well good, because I'm not finished yet. Gee, maybe this post should have sub-headings....if so, I think this one will be called "Awards that were given to me by very nice people to whom I have been very slack about posting here"

Firstly, the lovely Ali from Charlie and Grace gave me the Arty Pico award - quite some time ago I'm ashamed to say, and the very talented Rachel from Cornflower Blue Studio awarded me the Brilliante Award as well - again some time ago. I'm so sorry ladies that I was so slack in getting onto these - they just happened to come at a particularly hectic time and I did mean to get to them and pass them onto others....but it's been such a while now that I'd feel a bit of a fool passing them on. So I might just say that anyone who gets to the bottom of this massive post deserves their very own award, which I will hereby name the "Either very polite or very high tolerance for waffle" Award.

And so I will leave you with one last piece of unspectacular info. Just as I was going on my bloggy break I was tagged by The Tiny Little Girl (if you haven't seen the work of this very talented crafter, your really should check it out - she has a very gorgeous Etsy Shop too!). The tag was for 6 unspectacular quirks about yourself. So in closing, here they are, and feel free to post your own 6 unspectacular quirks too - just leave a comment and I will have lots of fun checking them out. Ok, so here they are:

1. I never finish a hot drink - I always have to leave a little bit in the bottom of the cup. I don't know why.
2. I never eat all my crusts - I always leave a little bit that I just don't want to eat. Again, don't know why.
3. I can do all the actions to pretty much all of the Wiggles songs, and can sing all the words. And I really enjoy doing it.
4. I'm now working on learning all the High 5 moves (they're a little more complicated than the Wiggles ones :P)
5. I LOVE bad 80s dancing (yep, both doing it and watching it). The 'Angry Dancing' scene from Flight of the Conchords where they do the Footloose/Flashdance scene is just hilarious - you've GOT to watch this!!

6. I have decided to start replacing all my ugly wire coathangers with old-fashioned crochet-covered ones. For some reason this idea really appeals to me. Op Shops, here I come :)

Wow, that was really a mixed bag. But I think I'm all caught up now. Next post will be much shorter. I promise :)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Chocolate - the biggest vice of all????

I need to admit here and now that my single biggest vice is chocolate. I LOVE it, and I love that I love it. And I know that it can be bad for the waistline, bad for the skin...blah blah blah....but I had never really thought of it as being bad for my karma. Let me explain...

I recently heard the tail end of a radio show that talked about general exploitation in the cocoa industry, and there was mention that the cheap brands of chocolate were the worst offenders. It was at that point I started only buying Green and Black's chocolate for my own scoffing (and a nice reason to justify the expense of a nicer chocolate than Cadburys), but I still bought Freddo Frogs for the kids as special treats, and didn't think much more of it.

Then yesterday I read a post from one of my favourite blogs - Great Stories. It is one of the few non-crafty blogs I love to read regularly. And the post has been playing on my mind. Over and over actually. It is both a review of the book Bitter Chocolate: Investigating the Dark Side of The World’s Most Seductive Sweet by Carol Off, a former war correspondent. It's also a discussion of the power of a story to change your habits – or at least your mindset – as a consumer. Well I think we could add to that the power of a blog to change habits and mindsets too, as you will see.

While reading Paula's post, I discovered that the exploitation I'd heard only briefly about on the radio actually involves child slavery and human trafficking....and the idea that my kids' chocolate covered grins can come at the expense of the lives of children across the world, makes me feel sick. I've spent the last two days trying to find out what I can do, and what I can actually eat without feeling nauseous from guilt. And the Dont Trade Lives website says that boycotting your favourite chocolate won't help either - it will just hurt poor farming families. So what to do???? It's been doing my head in. So anyway, I've decided this is what I can do:

1. I have signed the online petition which will send a message to the Australian chocolate industry that I want them to make a genuine attempt to tackle the root causes of child labour in cocoa production.

2. I will purchase organic and/or fair trade chocolate wherever possible, but will let my kids still have the occasional cheapo chocolate (ie. Freddo Frogs) and hope I am somehow walking that middle ground between not wholeheartedly supporting a disgusting industry, but not hurting innocent farmers either.

So Paula, when you read this, I guess I am answering your question of whether a story can change you habits as a consumer. Yes indeed - even a story about a story can do it. And this is where my habits change....thank-you.

*pic above by Jeff Carlson

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Winners are grinners :)

Well I hope so anyway! This time I decided to go all 'high tech' with the giveaway draw, and used a Random Number Generator. After taking a whole 30 secs to do this (including the time it took to google search a random number generator site) I can't believe that last time I actually used a printer to print out all the comments, cut them up, then got Lee to pull a piece of paper from my apron pocket...although at least using an apron pocket meant I got a nice photo of the winner being drawn. Unlike this time. Here instead we'll just have a picture of one of the birthday cakes I made over my two week bloggy break.

And now a drum roll please...

....the winner of the crafty giveaway bonanza, including the apron, the sewing/knitting/crochet patterns, the vintage sheet fat quarters, and the handmade goodies is...

Alexandra from Potty Mouth Mama

COME ON DOWN!!!! Actually, no, just send me an email (my email link is in my blogger profile - sorry I know there is some way to embed the link here as I read it on Leni and Rose a while ago, but I really need to go to bed now so I'm being lazy). Alexandra, if you include your address I will get all your goodies packaged up and posted out to you on Monday :)

Thanks so much to everyone who left a comment. Your feedback has been very much appreciated, and has helped me to direct my focus a bit, as I was feeling a bit all over the place with what I was doing. Thank-you thank-you thank-you!!!!!!

So my bloggy break was swell - but as Tank Girl said "now the swelling's gone down", so I'm back and raring to scoot around blogland again. Although it will have to wait until tomorrow as my eyes are hanging out of my head now. I'll leave you with a few things I got done whilst having my little break. It was nice to do less 'talking' and more 'doing' for a while.

1. Freckles reversible handbag, 2. Freckles - blue side, 3. Witch Snippit - brown side, 4. Witch Snippit - tablecloth side, 5. Jiffy Wood - blue side, 6. Jiffy Wood - tablecloth side, 7. Buttercup Field - tweed side, 8. Buttercup Field - tablecloth side, 9. Peggy - Little Lady Bag

See you all soon!


Friday, August 8, 2008

We interrupt this bloggy break....

***For a quick community service announcement.....***


From Saturday 9th August to Sunday 17th August, the talented BrisStylettes are offering some Show-Stopping Specials!!

Everyone loves a Show as much as they love a Sale, so the BrisStyle team have put together some special promotional deals to coincide with the Annual Brisbane Show - the 'Ekka'.

BrisStyle members are a diverse group of artisans all with their own unique style. We make a range of lovely goodies: Jewellery, Bags, Children and Baby clothing and accessories, Art prints and originals, Retro/recycled treasures, Dolls and Softies ... And they’re all on sale!!

Visit the stores below to take advantage of the 'Etsy Ekka Extravaganza Sale' and grab some great deals:

jellygnite - 15% off all items in store + free art card / aceo with every order over $15 (excl postage)

HotFudge - 15% off all items in store

EmBelIsh – Free Owl Brooch & Gift Wrapping with purchase

TwinkleStarArt – Free children's 'gift card' with all purchases. Purchase two or more art prints, receive an additional art print, of your choice, for free.

Sharlzndollz – 10% off all items in store

Shazzabeth – 10% off all items in store + free postage on orders over $100

Elizasart – 10% off all items in store + free postage on orders over $100

MooreTaste – 15% off all items in store + a free pair of gemstone earrings on purchases over $100 after discounts

Beckybean (that's me!!!) – Free gift pack (bookmark, felt hairclip & postcard) with any bag purchase

ruby2gogo - Retro Brisbane gift cards with all purchases. Show Bag with purchases over $40

rubyredstudios – Retro Brisbane gift cards with all purchases. Show Bag with purchases over $40

Hey Harriet – Free postage on all purchases

Hair Doos - 10% off all items in store + free postage on orders over $100

Be sure to keep up to date with what's happening with BrisStyle on our blog:

***We will now return you to your normal programming***

PS. The giveaway is still open - feel free to enter if you haven't yet done so, and thank-you thank-you thank-you to all who have left comments and feedback for me. They have been a great help to me and are very much appreciated :)