Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Welcome home...from Madi bleu!

Welcome to my new home. It's a 1930s bungalow, still with original stained glass door...

Which opens to reveal a 'grand' entrance hallway (well, it's grand for someone who's never had a hallway before!). Welcoming in our visitors in pride of place is....

Courtesy of the fabulous Madi Bleu (NZ artist Amanda), we've proudly hung a personalised family portrait of me, hubbie, Maddie and Lorilou and our wee dog Oscar.

I've loved Amanda's textile and upcycled collages made from fabric, zippers, buttons, vintage scraps and other loved items for a long time now, and blogged about her before on babybites. In fact it was her creations gracing a fabulous striped wallpaper wall that first inspired me to try designer wallpaper in my own house.

So when she notified on her facebook fan page that she would be taking orders for 'family portraits' I jumped at the chance. All I had to do was send in a photo...and wait for a 2011 moment in time to be immortalised into a special Madi Bleu for a forever keepsake. Thanks so much Amanda, you are hugely talented!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Loving...pretty shops no 2

Last week Greta wrote a lovely post on this blog about her favourite pretty shops..we didn't converse about her post before she wrote it, as I have been quite ill for a couple of weeks and out of 'blog action'. But if we had, I definitely would have suggested she add Floozie NZ Design store in Silverdale, Auckland.

It's a gorgeous mix of vintage home decor, children's toys, women's accessories...and just - good old fashioned knick knacks. You know the kind of store where you could buy a million things? I think the next time I go, it will be with a set budget burning a hole in my pocket...which just MUST be spent.

I've borrowed a couple of pictures off Floozie's facebook page...I hope she won 't mind...but I just have to encourage you hop over and have a look!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Loving... pretty shops

Yellow Brick Road

Have you ever daydreamed about having a cute little tea shop, or a gorgeous boutique selling pretty clothes, jewellery and gifts? I definitely have and it is a bittersweet feeling to find out someone else has already done it, but I love discovering them! I am always grateful for a little treat or some window-shopping (linking up with Paisley Jade's 'Things I'm Loving').

The Tea Lady (pic by Kute Kiwi)

I had been meaning to visit The Tea Lady ever since I heard about it - Birkenhead isn't far away and the website is super-cute... I don't drink real tea but love fruit teas and there were lots to choose from. My sister and I took my mum and my auntie, and after playing musical tables (there are only about 5 tables, thank you so much familiar-looking-lovely-lady who swapped tables twice to accommodate others!) we had tea and a big fluffy scone each. The vintage decorating includes polka dots, florals and retro toys, the perfect girly outing (thanks to Kim @ Kute Kiwi for the photo, her tea party-friendly blog is here).

I found Yellow Brick Road online a few months ago and couldn't figure out where in Parnell it was... it is worth the effort to find (and not that tricky really, just past the gelato shop) and so, so pretty. I haven't actually bought anything yet but am very tempted by these pads and a lot of the jewellery. The clothes are lovely too (see more on their blog).

Little Craft Store

Are there any other pretty shops (in Auckland or anywhere else) that you would recommend? Next on my list is The Little Craft Store, although I don't think I will be able to restrain myself from spending there...

Note: Not a sponsored post, just things I like    :)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Aarrgh-some Pirate Party


We were lucky enough to go to an amazing pirate party last weekend, some friends went all out for birthday #4. After a pirate ship table was spotted on pinterest, Dad was asked to rig something up - but he built a wooden ship around his desk instead! It was incredible.


Dad also happens to be a painter, how cute is this?


My daughter is pirate-obsessed so she loved everything, including pin-the-parrot-on-the-pirate.

The cupcakes were yummy and the 'Sea Water' was shark lollies in jelly (like Aimee's 'Fishpond jelly' here) .

A wooden treasure chest had also been constructed, with take-home treasure for everyone at the end of  a photo-clue treasure hunt.

(My exhausted babies at the end of a very busy party - couture pirate vest by Nana!)

(Note: The pirate ship attachments are actually for sale on TradeMe this week if you can see a pirate party in your future...)

Other party posts:

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

New House: Room 3

So the lily pad family has moved into our new house, and the interior decorating is coming along at full speed. Room One - the lounge, is all complete apart from my own art work I'm working on, and hanging of the navy patterned wallpaper. Room Two - the girls combined room - is all complete and looks exactly like the mood board! They love it and putting them in together has made them firm little play friends too.

Room Three - is the combined kitchen and family room area. This is the area that 'sold' me the house when we came to look it at. I could picture us using this room all day, every day - and that's exactly how life is unfolding in the three weeks we have been here.
The kitchen is a light white/cream colour, with louvre servery windows above the stove and coffee nook that open out onto a breakfast bar on the deck. We use this mostly for coffee and cake so far, BBQs will come in the summer! The dining/family area wraps around the kitchen, and leads to same 'outside room' as the breakfast bar - a fully covered deck area - which lets in the sun and keeps out the rain.

The look I wanted was a holiday /weekender/ cafe style. So I've gone with a relaxed feel that mixes and matches furniture types of white lacquer and beech wood and red metal, and I really love the look of it. I've proudly purchased a couple of New Zealand artists' prints from Endemic World and Etsy in a food and drink related theme - Bron Alexander's "Daily Grind", Dear Colleen's "When Life gives you lemons, drink gin and tonic" - and my own New Zealand-themed cavases and applique cushions sit alongside. (Yes, I've yet to buy a frame for my family tree I completed on Friday. I will probably also purchase a joke 'keep calm' print about curries.)

Outside, we've gone with black wicker couches like a cruisy cafe. The sun shines in all day and friends have commented that sitting out on the deck outside feels like you've gone on holiday. I just love it! As well as the moodboard, I thought this time you might like to see the real deal.

What's next? Room 4 is our bedroom, which is changing all the time! Might have to wait a while for that one!!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Lily Pads are ''coming up like Roses....''

I’ve big news this post. Today I'm announcing that I’m stepping back from making the Lily Pad Pram Liner range and have bought in a wonderful new business partner to take over the reins.
Lisa from Estella Rose Designs has a stunning range of handmade products for mums and kids in gorgeous fabrics that match my signature lily pad style – vintage, damask, floral, spots… you name it, it’s all about pattern and style for mums.

In fact we’ve already collaborated before, on a range of matching nappy bags and lily pad pram liners – check out the photos above. I first met Lisa at Crafternoon Tea and the Devonport Craft Market a year ago, and we instantly hit it off. Since then we’ve bounced ideas, potential designs, pattern choices and colour ranges off each other and supported each other along the way.
So why the change? Well recently I went back to work after my husband was made redundant and he stayed at home while looking for a new role. You do what you have to do for your family at the time. Then since he returned to work I've discovered I'm liking the balance, and we've been able on two (or one and a half) incomes to move into a much larger, gorgeous, renovated bungalow on a big section, close to the beach– it’s a dream come true for us as our family grows.
Anyone who knows me knows that I’m still passionate about sewing, painting, crafting and designing – and I have every intention of continuing this blog, continuing my craft projects, still writing for babybites online magazine – and I have at least two more design ideas in my head that DEFINITELY need to come out before Christmas.

But I simply don’t have the energy to work three quarter full time, and fulfil weekly/monthly retail orders for Lily Pad Pram Liners, let alone grow the business further, as well as snatch some time to play with my kids. For me the choice was obvious, in the weekends and my days off, I want to play with my kids. My five year old is learning to read and I’m loving every second of being part of that experience.
Cue the wonderful Lisa, who is passionate about growing her business into a fully-fledged, full time career, and she intends to build the business from home around her children. Her nappy bags, handbags, nappy wallets and textile jewellery range has gone from strength to strength and she has dozens of retailers around New Zealand (find out more about her here ).

Lisa has it in her blood, with her Mum a professional tailor-ess who’s owned her own design businesses all her adult life. She has a wonderful support network, retail experience, and the fire in her belly!! Watch this space as Lisa continues to grow the Lily Pad Pram Liners and their market niche – firstly at:

The Auckland Gift Fair – 21-23 August

The Auckland Parent and Child Show, 30 Sept – 2 October

I’m absolutely delighted and wish Lisa all the best - and here’s hoping for world domination for Lily Pad Pram Liners!!!
I’d be grateful if you could hop over and like her facebook page here to show your support.

Meanwhile, for future news on my crazy crafty projects and ramblings, keep reading my blog. I’d just like to thank everyone for their support over the past year as Lily Pad Pram Liners has taken off, especially Keri S; Greta; Nat Fox; Bex L and Rachel; Rae and Jo; Jodi M - and my lovely family. Especially my Mum and Gav. I’ll always love and respect you for all those nights you’ve helped me with cutting out patterns and helping me prepare for markets and retail orders.
Mphww!!! xx

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Silhouette families - Post Number two!

Last week Greta posted about her gorgeous silhouette art works she'd made of her children - I just loved them to pieces.

I was going to copy her and make some of my own...but at my work at the moment, I'm learning how to use computer graphics programmes to 'clear cut' images - which means removing the background around an image of a person or object, to make it look a bit more arty on your website.

So I wondered about trying to combine the two, and with the help of Google found two tutorials that explain how to a) clear cut and b) turn into a silhouette!

At home I use (a free downloadable version of paint that is one step up, and more like photoshop) so these instructions here and here worked a treat. I would really recommend downloading if you are into graphics and creating art on the computer.

Once I had taken the photos to get the image for the silhouettes (like Greta, I took individual photos of our family against white backgrounds) I then imported the pictures into and followed the instructions. Then I googled 'family tree silhouette image' and found a couple of trees I liked the look of (make sure to choose images as big as you can, not clip art size - or they come out too pixelated), and started layering up the images on top of each other in, to create the over-all effect.

Print it on a computer and away you go!

Next I might do it again, but 'inverse' the lines into white, and print on a bright coloured piece of paper.

But I'm not sure which tree I like better - perhaps the coloured one will fit in best in the family room.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Our Creative Spaces - Kristine's wonders!

I can't claim any of this as my creative space this week, but I really wanted to share with you one of our loyal blog and facebook follower's creative efforts on her behalf.

A few weeks ago I ran a competition to give away several 'grab bags' of Lily Pad Designs scrap fabrics, and asked people to come back and tell me what they made.

The lovely Kristine sent me these photos of what she'd created with her 'pink' based bag of lily pad pram liner scraps. The bunting was a project for her little girl's room, and she added in a third fabric of her own choice to make it go further (nice co-ordinating vintage look Kristine, great choice!).

Then she followed a free dowloadable pattern for a toy turtle from one of my favourite blogs, Make It, Love It - isn't it just gorgeous!

Kristine tells me that until now, she hadn't done any sewing since making aprons at school years ago but having the scraps given to her has sparked up a new creative interest. I'm so pleased, as these bits were just pining away in my cupboard and I love how they have been reused and re-designed. I think it's wonderful that she's getting back into it, and these are fantastic!

Well done Kristine!

To see lots of other people's creative spaces this week, head over to every Thursday.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Mad Men *sigh*

I had almost come to terms with Mad Men not being back on TV until 2012, but lately I have been bombarded with reminders of this amazing series - if you have not seen it yet find some DVDs asap!

(Left - My kitchen calendar)

First thing this morning, my daily Etsy Finds email, subject 'Mad Style'... "Taking inspiration from the extraordinary set and costume direction of the TV series Mad Men, today's Etsy Finds is a spread designed for your martini-sipping, lipstick-wearing, executive lifestyle". More MM inspired treasuries here.

And then on the gorgeous blog, these mid-century inspired paints, so pretty!

Last week I stumbled across this new range of clothes by Mad Men's costume designer (available in the US at Banana Republic).

And I saw these on pinterest...

Why do I love Mad Men so much? Not only because it is gorgeous, but also clever and funny and sad... do you miss Mad Men too?

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