24 November 2011

8 Beautiful Handmade Advent Calendars

1. White on White advent calendar fromTuuni
2. Advent calendar banner from Gray Sparrow
3. Magic advent calendar from Petit Pot
4. Cream and red pocket advent from Look Happy
5. Reindeer parade banner from Ahoi Meise
6. Tea advent calendar from Red Red Completely Red
7. Amsterdam advent calendar by Noveau Designs
8. Advent calendar from Pilosale

19 November 2011

8 Sweet Christmas Gifts for Kids

1. Pink cake pops from Popular Treats
2. Duck organic cotton cushion from Greener Grass Design
3. Maiden & Bird pencil case from O-Check
4. Orange car designed by Patrick Colello
5. European children's wooden scooters from Three Potato Four
6. Tweeter Marmalade cot set from Printink
7. Trolley car tin toy from the Tin Toy Arcade
8. Felt cookies with bead sprinkles from Lollie Blossom

15 November 2011

Beautiful Diaries for 2012...

Is it just me, or does everyone get excited at the thought of buying a new diary? All those blank pages to fill! A new year ahead, full of possibilities! And, best of all, you get to use your best handwriting and your special nice pens....

Here's my picks for the new year's best diaries:

Weekly planner from Little Otsu

Illustrated Diary from Minasmoke


Undated Diary from O-Check

And my personal favourite (of which I have bought many over the years) - the Master Plan from Milestone Press. A perfect A5 package, week to an opening, with enough space for all the family's activities, and best of all it runs for a year and a half, so you can buy your new diary in September and start using it straight away :)


Need more choice? You can't go past a Moleskine, complete with a turquoise leather cover.

13 November 2011

Handmade gifts for the family oddballs

My sister in law likes tea. Earl Grey, specifically. Not so much your average cup of Bushells. Deb likes to pack a little stash of teabags wherever she goes in case of emergencies (that is, emergencies of the English Breakfast variety). 

So I thought I'd make her a little tea pouch to keep in her bag. 

A bit of grey wool, some velcro, a scrap of bias tape left over from a doily garland and a little bit of stamped twill tape, and I had a cute little pouch that holds about 6 tea bags.

Hey Deb - if you're reading this - surprise!

My mum is also a huge fan of tea, and considering she's off travelling for nearly 6 months of the year, she's also one to pack her own stash of home comforts. When I asked her roughly how many tea bags she'd take on an average trip, she replied 'a couple of handfuls of teabags, a tube of vegemite, and some press-seal plastic bags to put biscuits in. That's all we ever take.' Like that's a perfectly normal assortment of things to pack for a holiday.

So, after getting over my disgust in realising that vegemite comes in a tube, which just seems wrong, I spent half an hour that evening trying to work out how to make a little carry-all wallet for those three essentials. 

It was tricky - three very different shapes and sizes aren't so easy to work into a neat little package.

But I think it turned out quite nicely. I used some sweet co-ordinating travel-themed quilting cotton that I'd bought a while ago with mum in mind.

Some stamped twill labels for the vegemite, twill tape and bikkie bags, and another for the velcro closure tab, and mum's survival kit was finished.

Are you planning to make some handmade gifts this Christmas? (Planning being the key word... actually getting time to do so is another matter!)

04 November 2011

Paper love: Japanese Katazome-shi

Katazome-shi means, literally, stencil-dyed papers (also referred to as Wazome). Based on traditional kimono-printing techniques, these beautifully patterned papers were developed in the 20th century. Producing these special papers is extremely time-consuming and a true art.

Katagami, the Japanese art of making paper stencils, is utilized to cut the pattern from persimmon-dyed kozo (a plant used to make Japanese tissue). The paper is hand cut with a combination of knives and punches and the resulting patterns are often extremely intricate and consequently quite fragile. To stabilize the stencils and prevent them from tearing, a fine silk mesh is attached to the back. The stencil is placed over a sheet of washi (which I always thought was rice paper, but Wikipedia tells me is any traditionally made plant-based paper) and a paste resist is brushed through the stencil to define the pattern.

Wherever the paste sticks to the paper, it will resist, or prevent, any colour that is subsequently applied. Multiple alignments of the stencil are made with different colours of pigment applied at each stage. The pigments are allowed to dry thoroughly and the paste is washed off, allowing the beauty and craftsmanship to be revealed.

This labour-intensive process results in a paper that has timeless appeal, long-lasting vibrant colour and the unmistakable look of a print truly made by hand.

There's a wee bit of Katazome-shi in this little paper pack in the RaineCloud store. Whats your favourite specialty paper? 

Info via The Paper Place. Image credits 1 2 3 (via here), 4

03 November 2011

Nanna style: 3 lovely gift ideas for Christmas

Vintage doily garlands - ready to ship in mint stripe, blues and pinks or green and chocolate.

Or, if you get in very soon with an order, I can make you a customised garland in time for Christmas.



This lovely set of four vintage hand cross-stitched napkins - so neatly worked with love and care. Available here.


And finally, a little frou-frou flowery inspiration kit with Nanna written all over it - the Peach & Plum vintage paper craft kit is available here.

The Christmas countdown is officially on (51 sleeps to go, to be exact)!