Thursday, October 23, 2008

Bargains, Inspiration, Green Living ...

Check out my latest finds. This rain jacket is a patchwork / collage style of those designer plastic bags you get when you shop in stores. I love it. It cost me $5 at St Vincent de Pauls in Porirua. It has a calico inner and is well constructed with a zip, hoodie and cool bright pull strings. It's lightweight so perfect for the beach and my kids will have no problems spotting me in a crowd. I would love to know it's history and it's maker. This fits in with my idea of clever upcycling, clever textiles and visually it has all my favourite things: text, stitch, mixed media, and is so purposeful. It crunches and crackles like plastic bags do. For a monochrome girl who only ever wears black this is outside my usual palette but what the hey. I live in a wet and windy city. It will look fab with my floral gumboots.
Front view ...

Back view ... I just noticed the big "Virgin" sign on the back, that's funny.
How appropriate, this red girl is windblown and looks neat with the red and black stitching.
A detail on the sleeve. Quirky guy. I love that it has grog advertisements on it as well.
I also found this amazing handknitted pure wool baby blanket. Sorry my photos are poor quality. I was just bemoaning the fact that I don't have knitty nana's and then I found this in the same op-shop for $4 along with 4 x pure wool Merino baby blankets. SCORE!!

Detail of blankets lovely lacey knitted design. And it is so soft.

I saw this and loved the quirky little illustrations. It was only 50c. I used to love reading these annuals when I was a kid. We would pick up bags of these and Buster / Whizzer and Chips comics from galas and op-shops and spend our weekends perusing them in bed. I will cut them up and make labels and cards for Xmas with all my stash of cardboard I picked up from the paper factory in Upper Hutt. Time to start using some of those things and reduce those stashes.

I never could understand fabricaholics ... until today that is. Look at my yummy Japanese printed fabric.

I am really excited about this. I found a great tutorial and am always so inspired by bloggers like Melissa at TinyHappy and her handmade baby things. So I broke my own rule and went and purchased some of this Japanese printed fabric from the quilting section at Spotlight. I usually like to use secondhand things but these mushrooms will look cute made up into baby things. A little on the pricey side at $24.95pm but I only got 1/2 mtr of the mushroom fabric (100% cotton, won't shrink). I love green. I love the mushrooms. I love the vintage aspect. And when I think about it, I think I love these whimsical things because they are nostalgic of my childhood. Funny considering the book I found in the op shop today and making that connection just now. I will have a go at making Knuckles some bibs and cloth shoes and maybe some patches on those found wool merino blankets I got today. The leafy print was just too cute so I got me some of that too. At $14.95pm (I think), I got 1/2 mtr of that as well. Today and tomorrow at Spotlight the clearance fabrics were all $2pm, so I got 2mtrs of brown corduoroy as well for the soles of his little shoes and maybe some matching pants with leaf patches on the knees. And a little t-shirt with a mushroom appliqued on it. Hahaha, ambitious for one with so little sewing machine knowledge. But now i have said it, so I am under duress to complete it. Maybe that can be my long weekend project if this rain doesn't let up.

Speaking of leaves ... I crack myself up. I just got rid of one bunch of leaves (see last post) and then I found these up at Gear Homestead when I visited the fibrecraft guild today. I love their long shapes and the red. I love red and green colours together. Dumbie me, keep going to these amazing groups that are doing amazing crafty things and I forget my camera. So many talented artists and crafters, and friendly too. I get a bit nervous when I go along to these groups on my own. Like a first day at school. "Will they like me? Will I like them?"

So far I am the only Maori woman I have spotted at these kinds of groups and while I am sure others exist, it is often the first hump I have to get over. Nobody has ever been racist to me but there is the fact that I am different. But, then we talk and share our love of making and creating and my inhibitions fall away as we all get excited and our passion for what we do comes to the forefront.

The women today were very welcoming. It took a bit of effort for me to get there after an abysmal day yesterday but I did and am so glad I went. The women were friendly and for a textile crafty girl like myself, the hub of a creative atmosphere was very conducive to my current situation. There were weavers, spinners, carding wool staples, knitting, needlefelting and I missed some of the others because I got there late. I will try and get some photos next time.

Those red leaves I found on at Gear Homestead (windfall not picked off the tree by the way) will find their way into my dye pot along with some of the vintage silk remnants I picked up from Asia Gallery.

"Shibori" is a book I love too and keep getting out of the library. The giant hank of pure silk thread is my special treat to myself. Kathy kindly brought it in for me today and at $23 I think it's a bargain. I love sewing with it, then seeing the way it takes up colour in the natural dye pots. Silk is like that, it grabs colour. So does wool.

I get tired and heavy and yesterday I spent the whole day just lying on my bed. Not because I wanted to mind you, because I would rather be getting on with some of my projects and working in my new tidy studio. I was supposed to attend a stitch-in with local embroiderers at the Mana Guild. Doh! I was so frustrated. I was physically and mentally unable to walk around, even sitting was uncomfortable. I felt like I had a giant bowling ball in me that I couldn't get comfortable. Even lying down, I took some Panadol which helped but not really. I don't feel like I have had a decent sleep for a while and I guess with seven weeks to go, it will only get more difficult. Wonderful husband got kids ready for school and dropped them off so I could just lie there. It is hard not to feel sorry for myself sometimes but reading helps to distract me. I am so over tv and we have had three consecutive nights being tv-free, computer and playstation games free. The kids have a better attitude and we all talk to one another a lot more. I really am loving peace and quiet these days which is such a change from my usual supercharged nature. The boys spend more time drawing, playing, laughing, reading and talking; hubby is quietly doing research for work on laptop and me, well, I am either reading or like tonight, blogging.

I found this magazine this week at the local supermarket. It's a good read. I keep wanting to make better decisions about our lifestyle and am stuck in the transition between a desire to live a more 'green' lifestyle and the convenience of modern day living.

Some things I battle with:

* I hate those chicken farms. I would rather buy organic chicken once a month for $20 each than eat those poor malformed scary things that are raised in such appalling conditions ...

BUT ... my family loves fried chicken, you know, like they sell in big buckets with fries and coleslaw and mashed potatos.

* I would rather we went back to simple living, sewing and knitting our own clothes and homewares from natural fibres like wool ... BUT ... most families like ours cannot afford the expensive $10 a pair pure wool merino socks when those superstores carry five pairs for $10.

* I hate all the extra packaging and make sure I take my green bags when I go shopping etc ... BUT ... every now and then I forget them, and suck, have to buy ten yellow plastic bags to go into the cupboard that is already stuffed full of the darn things.

* I hate that our business community is sending everything offshore to Asian countries to be manufactured. I am so disappointed to read that Sanitarium have taken their processing plants to Asia. I am starting to look at the labels closely now and will make every effort to buy NZ made. I would rather pay extra for things to be made here in NZ rather than some poor Chinese woman in terrible work conditions earning a few dollars a week to feed her family. It doesn't make sense that we as a country exploit people just to save a few dollars. BUT ... those are the places that make 5 pairs of synthetic socks for $10 because the pure wool NZ ones are too expensive.

* I hate bottles water ... BUT ... I always forget mine.

* I hate those cardboard trendy cups with plastic lids coffee comes in ... BUT ... ditto, like the water bottle, always forget to carry my own mug. (Did you know you can take your own cup in and they will make it in that for you!) By the way, big ups to those using FairTrade coffee etc.

* And don't get me started on those triangle plastic sandwich containers, you know, the clear ones.

* I want to use reusable cloth nappies ... BUT ... they are $25 each and my sewing skills just aren't up to making my own, and disposables are cleaner in that they draw the damp away and my boys never had nappy rash. They slept through the night without needing to be changed... BUT ... the amount of disposables (and wipes) used by each child in a lifetime is considerable and they don't break down in the landfills.

I like the idea of leaving a kinder footprint on this planet, to be a Kaitiaki or guardian of the lands that God has given us. BUT our times is not in synch with this. We burn up resources, keep making new consumer goods instead of repairing, recycling and creating quality goods to start with (like appliances that only have a five year life span if you're lucky).

I am stuck in the middle, but slowly Rich and I are working our way through our lifestyles and making as many conscientious decisions as we can manage.
Here are a couple more of my favourite reads. Good NZ magazines that are full of cool Kiwi's and their beautiful and inspiring homes. Real luxuries these magazines but just what I need as I wait out this baby and for summers warmer weather to set in.

Just wanted to include hubby's pic's. He went schmoozing in this pink Hummer limo last week with his company for lunch while I took the kids to culture practice.

So I have a lot of projects I want to be getting on with. Dyeing, felting, stitch, textile sculptures, baby clothes, journalling, and crafting for market stalls and online selling. First thing that's obvious is that I need a plan. I make something then find a new project and want to start something else. I always finish my projects but need longevity to make a real go of it. Need a business plan me thinks. So that a few hours a week are making some money and others are spent researching and experimenting. Next year I want to take some night classes doing sewing so I can get my finishing right, and jewellery making too. There are lots of cool forums too including a symposium in Australia with India. Plus summer school with India in January. And then there is the reality of a new person coming who will no doubt turn all my plans on my head again ... maybe. And this time I think if that happens, then maybe I will be a little more ready to learn the lessons involved in necessary change if required.


Denise S. said...

I just recently happened onto your blog and find it fascinating. I am from the landlocked West in the US. Residing in the great state of Wyoming so your stories and pictures just fascinate me. My DIL is due on December 21st so you 2 must not be too far apart

Lovelyn said...

I just found your blog and it's quite interesting. I love the idea of the plastic bag raincoat.

ArtPropelled said...

Amazing jacket! You certainly have a knack for finding the unusual...or the useful. I used to love my Jack and Jill annuals. Later I would get so excited at xmas time knowing I would be getting the latest Beano.

Rachelle, whenever I read a new post here I want to rush off and create something new. You are my Maori Muse.

Jackie said...

Just relax about the planet! You can't save it all bu yourself and you are making the effort. I just had a thought about the magazine that tells you how to be green green are they? Recycled paper? Eco friendly ink?
Its such a problem. I like the idea of natural dyes but I found out last week that they are less eco friendly than chemical dyes becasue the mordants are so toxic.
Ho hum.
Just look after yourself and that new life.

india flint said...

am so looking forward to my visit in January...cos I will meet Knuckles! and of course have a delightful chat with his lovely mother (preferably over a cup of tea...)