16 August 2013

I've moved to a new site!

I've moved!
I'm thrilled to introduce to you a brand new website and blog just for Crayon Chick!

I've been in a spin all week talking about domains, hosting, wordpress, widgets, themes, plugins, media buttons - oh la la, it's a long way from crocheting all day!

It sadly means it's time to say au revoir to blogger and this will be my last post here.
But never fear, all the things I love and inspire will still be shared on the new site!

So hop over and have a look.
You'll need to update your readers and bookmarks

You can even subscribe by email (Mum, that's a hint for you!)
It still looks pretty much the same, but it's got better buttons and doodads. And I'll be there!

See you on the other side!

09 August 2013

Inspired by ... mossy sticks

Inspired by ... mossy sticks

Way back in the olden days before Instagram and Pinterest, I would lose so many hours wandering through Flickr.

I could have called this collage - Things I liked at 1.30am - because that was the time I found myself following one mossy stick picture after another.  And don't ask me why I was looking for mossy sticks.  It just happens.  And this is exactly what I used to do, pre Instagram and Pinterest, stay up all hours of the night trawling through Flickr.  

What am I saying, I still stay up all hours looking at pictures!  Nothing changes.

I do like a stick though.  I especially love a mossy stick and doesn't the smokey blue-green lichen go so beautifully with the dusty and faded pinks.  

I wish you lots of inspiration this weekend.

07 August 2013

What this meditation really needs is an eye pillow

Each week at yoga we end our class with a meditation and each week at yoga while I'm meditating I think to myself "An eye pillow would be nice right now, I must make more eye pillows".  Which is not what I'm supposed to be doing while meditating, I'm not supposed to be thinking of anything.  I should be quiet and peaceful - but wouldn't an eye pillow be very nice right now!

Well I've done it.  I've set up the Janome and I have a lovely new batch of eye pillows ready to go.  Hoorah!  I'll list them in the Crayon Chick Shop, and if you follow me on Facebook (@crayonchick) you'll know when they're ready!

Meanwhile - namaste!

02 August 2013

And then I found this artist in Santa Cruz ...

How's this for the perfect bit of inspiration for a Friday afternoon, I've just come across this amazing work by American artist Lisa Hochstein.  I love collage and these pieces are made with salvaged paper which is a practise close to my own heart.  Yes, I'm talking about my ever growing tower of magazines I can't bare to throw out, for inspiration you understand, waiting for my own collage mojo to return.

All the images on this post are from her website:  lisahochstein.com

"For decades I considered myself primarily a painter with a secondary body of work in collage. In recent years  this balance has reversed, though I find that my approach to collage is highly influenced by years of painting."
There's something quite architectural as well as painterly in these pieces which I find really appealing.  All that structure and colour is so satisfying.  Something to do with Things Laid Out Neatly, I suspect.

I don't know how I found this site.  You know how it is, one minute I was on twitter and a few hop skips and jumps later and I'm here.  Go figure.  Yay internet!

31 July 2013

Now I can say I've pickled olives!

We live in a lovely inner Melbourne suburb with lots of old neighbours who have lived in their houses for 50+ years.  A lot of them are Italian and Greek and have the best stories to tell about when they came to Australia as young brides.  And it's quite other-worldly some days as I sit on my front porch with my crochet and elevenses and watch lovely nanna's in aprons shuffle to each others houses, usually with baskets of back yard grown produce.  I could be anywhere in the world, in any decade.  It makes me feel light and joyful, it's a wonderful feeling.

A walk down any bluestone lane will give easy access to fruit trees spilling over fences, laden with freijoa, lemons, figs and olives.  Everyone has a veggie patch and I've even had potatoes dug up and handed over for dinner.

And the latest gift was a basket full of freshly picked olives.

Now, I've eaten my body weight in olives, I love them, but I've never been part of the olive's journey from tree to marinated glory ready to eat.  Turns out it's quite the palaver!

What's a girl to do?  Well she immediately runs to the her kitchen guardian angels -  Stephanie Alexander's Cook's Companion and Maggie Beer's Maggie's Harvest, of course.  And a bit of Google for good measure.

I was a little overwhelmed, especially when Maggie herself says it's laborious and messy and after 20 years of pickling olives she still has good years and bad.
The first step was to soak the olives in a bucket of water for 40 days.  FORTY DAYS!  Changing the water every second day.  I did this.  Then a couple of days buried in rock salt.  The kitchen then morphed into a science lab for a day as I sterilized jars and made a brine solution.  They are now stored in my pantry, waiting for another 45 days before I know if it was all worth it or not.

I can't wait!  Imagine, 40 days in a bucket ... who was the first person to realise this was what the olive needed before you could eat them?  It was amazing to watch them change from bright perky freshly picked fruit to bronzed softened and smelling like olives from a shop.

It saddens me to know I'm slowly losing my lovely old neighbours.  I wonder what's happening to the old veggie gardens.  I'm glad I've had the past 11 years getting to know them and learning some old ways.

And now I can say I've pickled olives!

27 July 2013

A day at the NGV

Last weekend I treated myself to a trip into the city to visit the National Gallery of Victoria ... it was a spur of the moment thing to do, just because.  I don't know why I don't do it more often, it's just a short tram ride and even on the coldest, wettest and most miserable day of winter it was simply wonderful.  Just the tonic I needed.

I wandered through gallery after gallery, up and down stairs exploring all the different levels, loving the quietness and calmness of it all and finished with a rich strong coffee sitting as close as I could by the fire in a nearby cafe.

I used to work in a very corporate job in a very corporate building right next to the NGV and it was my little escape when the day was getting on top of me, to take a lunch break wandering around the artwork.  It was a nice reminder there was more to life than the database/deadline/drama of the 9 to 5 drudgery I was in.

It's nice to have a little escape.
John Olsen, John Brack, Fred Williams, Sidney Nolan.
("5 o'clock, Collins St" is one of my favourites - look at all those Don Draper-dressed ad men!)

Ralph Balson, Grace Crowley
Marvellous Modernism!

24 July 2013

When getting sorted sneaks up on you

Getting sorted is not usually something I plan, it's something I find myself in the middle of.  I never plan it.  I naturally lay things out in a neat and orderly fashion, if you follow me in Instagram you'd be witness to this.  I also have a great delight with sites like Things Organised Neatly ... of course!  That's where I found this gorgeous collection of red toys, don't you love it!

I've spent the morning procrastinating - I intended to start on a work order which involved clearing a space for my graphic tablet and one thing led to another and next thing you know all my admin paperwork is up to date, my tax is ready, and my desk is how it should be - uncluttered, neatly stacked and under control!  Shame I haven't started that work order though *ahem* ....

Who ever knew that I would chose my tax as a preferred thing to do over an order!

I just got on a roll and when everything is sorted and neat I feel so much in control and ready to efficiently Get Things Done!

I would never get my tax done if my desk was as lovely as this - who would want to sit anywhere else in the house!  And, you should check out the blog where I found the image, La maison d'Anna, I'm mad for the celebration of orange she's put together! C'est magnifique!

Bright yellow storage boxes from Present & Correct

Now my computer desk is sorted I'm in the mood to sort out my a very out of control, crowded and cluttered work room.  I have a new Motex label maker from Lark (eeeee!) ready for the task.  I'm just going to cruise around Pinterest for a bit, in the interest of organisational inspiration, and  - oh yeah, finish that work order I was supposed to have started! *face palms herself*

22 July 2013

How to make working for yourself work for you

Look at her.  It was freezing cold when I took these photos.  She was sitting outside on the deck looking in.  It's cold, you duffer, come inside!

"But I've got this really good spot ... ooo, what was that, I'll just check that out first ...."  She's easily distracted.

I see so much of myself in her.  I think we've been working together for too long!

One of the things I've figured out working for yourself from home is that it's a pretty lonely gig.  If you need company, if you go stir-crazy being in the house for too long on your own, then this isn't for you.

If you like your lovely sitting room to look nice and not like a warehouse then this isn't for you.  Although your cat will appreciate the added sleeping spots.
If you're easily distracted, low on self-discipline and disorganised then it's going to be a struggle to stay motivated.

And if you're stuck on the processes and always chasing your admin tail then staying inspired and creative is going to be something you 'used to do'.

I've had a few chats lately about blogging.  About why I blog.  I read a blog the other day that posed the question 'what was the point'.  It's important, I wanted to yell back, but couldn't find the words to say why.  I was chatting with my yoga instructor this morning about working for yourself and it's been on my mind all day.

What I've figured out ...... I don't feel as isolated when I blog.  I'm sure there are people like me, wondering how other people do it on their own.  I do it by instinct and sharing it here with pictures and links is one way to show it.  There's nothing educated, informed or academic about how I run Crayon Chick.  If it feels good then I do it.  If it inspires me then I'll share it.

If my week was totally uneventful with nothing more exciting than the cat watching me then that's ok.  It's reality.

Sometimes I'm wary about the picture perfect blogs.  They can muck about with my head and make me feel self-conscious and inadequate about my voice.

Who knew this was going to turn into such an insight!  I guess thinking about what my blog is about  made me want to put it down in words.  And I've been hanging about doing this for quite a few years now and I'm by no means an expert but I seem to have found a way that works.

I hope it helps you if you're a bit lost wondering how other people do it.  Hang in there.  For what it's worth, this is how I do it.

Thanks for sticking with me.

15 July 2013

There's this chap in the UK ...

Look what I found - inspiration plus!  This fabulous collage is from my new favourite site called Cut It Out.  Isn't that a clever pun?! All the images in this post are from this amazing site and it makes my eyes sparkle.

There's this chap in the UK, his name is Martin O'Neil and he's the Cut It Out guy.  I happened to stumble on his work via Pinterest.  I immediately checked out his website, his blog and followed him on Facebook.  As you do!

Martin O’Neill is a UK based artist and illustrator who creates unique hand made collages for a diverse range of International clients encompassing advertising, design, editorial and book publishing, as well as regular contributions to the UK and US press.

And the timing of this is truly spooky because I was just chatting with my botanical artist friend this morning about my craving to get back to drawing and collaging and making images - the old fashioned way in a visual diary.  My life before I started to crochet in my sleep for Crayon Chick!  I can't describe it any other way other than a craving.  An urge, a desire of the strongest order to put pencil to paper.  It's a need.  A scratch that must be itched.

So in an effort to exercise my drawing muscle I plan to make a quick study everyday.  Just like my art school days.  I plan to keep one visual diary for quick collages and another dedicated to sketches.  Look at these diaries, aren't they amazing!

I started last night, grabbing the first pencil I reached and turned to a blank page in my current list making book and off I went.  It was a disaster!

I did my sketch while waiting for dinner to cook - a new recipe for lamb shanks - which was also a disaster.

I had a crisis of confidence on all fronts and felt a failure!  I could cope with the dinner being miserable, I'm no cook and am used to dodgy dinners, but drawing is The Thing That I Do.  I can't fail in that!  Once the tears stopped I realised it was all for the good, it made me stop and see how important it is for me to draw.
So there's my plan.  I'm back in training.  I'm going to raid that stash of magazines hoarded for the specific purpose of collage and inspiration.  I'm going back to basics and filling a whole book with blind contour drawings.

I'm going to draw again.

10 July 2013

That was Brisbane

It took a yoga class, a day off and many coffees before I felt remotely recovered from an AWESOME weekend in Brisbane for Finders Keepers.

It was 25C!

And sunny!

And packed with fabulous people and I was so chuffed each time I met an Instagram peep!  Thanks for saying hello.  It really makes my day.  Getting out and about and meeting people and showing my work is a definite highlight for me.  I love it.  And I love a chat!  Thanks for making it so enjoyable.

Now it's back to the work front.  I've got plans for some wintery online loving in the shop so keep an eye out for updates.  You can stay on your snuggly couch in your snuggly slippers and a steamy cup of tea by your side - I'm sure online shopping was invented for cold dark winter nights!

Did you know you can follow Crayon Chick on Facebook?  Hop over now and Like us so you don't miss out.

Easy!  See you there.

04 July 2013

Packing and tagging and sorting and stacking and watching Le Tour

I'm in a last minute frenzy of preparations for a trip to sunny Brisbane (did you hear me Queensland, I said sunny - don't disappoint!) for this weekend's Finders Keepers.

I've been building stacks of stock.  I love seeing it all come together.  Not so much the time it takes to tag them all.  I always under-estimate how long that takes.  Always.
And true to form the whole house has been taken over with suitcases and boxes on all the benches, the table disappearing days ago, every surface over-run with bags and packages and pens and string and stickers and things jettisoned because I can't make them fit in the suitcases!

All under the watchful eye of my fluffy constant companion from her new favourite spot - my carry-on bag.  She's getting suspicious that something is up.  She doesn't like me going away.  No chance of a stowaway my little friend, it's usually a struggle to fit my toothbrush by the time I'm done.

It's bitter/sweet timing the Tour de France has started.  I love watching the french countryside as the peloton tootles through lavender fields and gorgeous little villages, but it does tend to mean late nights.  Which is great for added productivity, but hopeless for getting anything done the next day.  I'm so tired.  Already.

And it's only stage 5!  I must be getting older.

So I'd better get back to it, these last minute things aren't going to finish themselves.
Another cup of tea in my Les Vaches du Tour mug and I'll be right for the next round.
See you in Brisbane!

27 June 2013

A distraction in grey

Maybe because it's winter - and doing a great job at being wintery, just saying - I'm drawn to a lot of snuggly neutral greys lately and have made a Pinterest board called Colour Crush - Grey.  

I had a recent hurumph at not being able to paste Pinterest pins here.  I'm still confused.  I have found a Widget Builder Page on Pinterest and thought I'd give it a try.  If nothing else, it might lead you to a nice little clicking session on the internet - which is not a bad way to wile away some time when it's too cold to do what you should be doing!

21 June 2013

Goodbye Google Reader

Are you ready, do you have a plan ... Google Reader is about to leave us.

I love reading blogs.  And I have quite an eclectic collection to read and I'm always inspired.  And bewildered by how such a simple task of sitting down with a cuppa to have 'just a quick look' can take hours!  How does that happen?  One minute I'm with my tea and toast and the next minute the morning radio programme has finished and I can hear the postman making his deliveries and I'm still reading blogs!

I've decided to move to Bloglovin'.  And so far I'm lovin' it!  Especially because it's so easy to leave comments, so easy to follow, has a great iphone app, sends me an email every day with the latest posts and has introduced me to heaps of fabulous new blogs I never would have found otherwise.  I'm going to have to start getting up pre-dawn to squeeze all this extra blog reading time into my life.

And it was the easiest thing ever to import all my feeds.  2 clicks.  If that.

How do you keep up, do you have a regular day/time for blog reading or do you just randomly jump online when you're procrastinating get the chance?

Follow on Bloglovin

15 June 2013

Have you met Temple & Webster

Such a big weekend at Chez Crayon! Today is the start of Temple & Webster's Hand-Made Market event.

Who are Temple & Webster?  It's a members-only online shopping club dedicated to beautiful items for the home - well, hu-llow Crayon Chick!  All you need to do it register and you get the most amazing sales posted right to your inbox.  I've been a member since the end of last year when I was first approached by Temple & Webster to run an event with them.  It was quite overwhelming!  I was so honoured to be recognised and included.

I have spent every spare minute of the past 6 months creating stock for this.  When I did the numbers over the Christmas break I was flabbergasted to realise it was about 500 hours worth of work to create!  I tell you, think long and hard before making your hobby your business.  I've never worked harder in my life!

But now it's here and I thought I'd be able to start relaxing but I realise I'm actually holding my breath, which is going to make this a very long week if I keep that up.  The sale runs until 24 June.

And in the spirit of 'it never rains but pours' ... my crochet jute pot is in today's Herald Sun Home lift out!

Guess I won't be putting the hook down just yet!

13 June 2013

Online reading not really getting out of hand

Beautiful images from The Quinessential Magazine

I've embraced online reading with a passion.  And it's giving me good cause to justify wanting an iPad! Of course I've got a list a mile long of favourite blogs.  And of course it's going to be quite the palaver when Google reader goes nigh nighs in 3 weeks time!  I follow all my absolute favourites on Bloglovin'  (you can follow this blog on Bloglovin' - I've popped the button over there on the right!)  It's pretty cool, you get emails with thumbnail peeks and links to the posts blogged that day.

And you already know about my favourite app on my phone - Borrow Box where I can get all my audio books and e-books from the library straight onto my iPhone!

Now, I'm adding quite a few online magazines to my list.  And my most recent discovery is called The Quintessential Magazine.  I found it via Temple and Webster's blog.  And it's gorgeous!  It's all rustic and old and vintage-y and timber-y and my kind of thing, really.

The only trick is keeping a track of time.  I need a stop watch with a very loud alarm to signal the end of 'free reading time'.  Or better still, a timer and an ejector seat so at the end of my 'free reading time' the chair will literally catapult me back into doing what I should be doing.

Which is what I should be doing now - something else.

Back on the clock for this chick, there's a hook calling my name - see you later!
 On the desk this morning .... and Instagrammed, of course!

11 June 2013

Why did Pinterest change?

Image from Roses and Rust, found on Pinterest.

It's a tricky business this Getting Things Done when a Tuesday feels like a Monday.  How can I be on the back foot already? Oh the effort!  So to kick start my faux Monday I though a little peek at Pinterest would fire up the productivity.

Alors, what's this?  Changes!  Not so much inspiration but frustration!   Pinterest, what have you done? Something's changed!  Gah!  Where's the button I click to copy all the image info and source and links?  How am I going to share on my blog?   Changes drive me nuts, generally speaking, and I'm not happy about this one.

So now I have that off my chest I'm ready to snuggle up on my couch surrounded by cosy snuggliness and get cracking with some crochet.  Which is what I should have been doing in the first place.  Just thinking about what I need to do next has me wondering why I'm sitting in the cold drafty front room on the computer getting cranky at Pinterest instead of the snuggly cosy couch.

I'll definitely need a pot of tea to help me settle into it.

Happy faux Monday to you, hope you stay snuggly and productive and un-frustrated with change!

Image from Roses and Rust, found on Pinterest.

07 June 2013

Snow trips and long weekend crochet-a-thon

Judging by the lack of teeth, I'd say this was around 1972.  Although they could well have frozen off somewhere, I'm such a natural cold weather person - NOT!

When I was young, Mum and Dad would pack us kids up in the car for a day trip to the snow each year.

The trip would start at 4.30am and the effort was all with Mum and Dad, we sleepily dragged ourselves into the backseat of the station wagon to continue sleeping until some hours later where we would wake to find ourselves parked outside an Anzac Memorial in a garden in the middle of a small country town halfway between our home and the snow fields.

You know the gardens, every small town has one in the middle of the main street, and it's always got an Anzac Memorial in the middle surrounded by rose bushes.  And public toilets.  It was time to wake up.  This was our breakfast stop.  And time to start layering ourselves in jumpers and scarves and beanies and gloves and parkas.

It was always a thrill to be on the look out for the first signs of snow.  Mum always saw it first, glowing white on the mountains in the distance.  As we got closer we were so excited by the sludgy brown mucky bits of snow on the sides of the road.  We so weren't snow people!

We had our feet in plastic bags inside our gum boots.  We made snow balls.  We gasped for breath and thought we were on the top of the world.  We played in the snow, sliding down hillsides on garbage bags as make-do toboggans.  One of us was destined to always ricochet into a nearby creek.  Our gum boots always filled up with snow.  We would have a picnic lunch in one of those pine log cabins built for bushwalkers.  It would have an open fire and the wettest of socks would be placed nearby to dry.  They usually didn't.  But by this time we'd had tomato soup from a flask and lots of sandwiches and were ready for more snow.
Tingling from the cold and in our dry clothes.  Yes, it was 1977 and you are looking at genuine flares!

Dad would drive us away from the snow fields and into the Kosciusko National Park, to find some fresh snow away from the crowds.  We would look for animal footprints in the snow, and build snowmen.  Then it was time to change in the back seat of the car into a set of dry clothes.  We would be rubbed down with towels until our skin tingled and after one last photo in front of our snowmen we would pile back into the car for the journey home.

I'm not much of a snow girl.  I hate the cold!  But my childhood memories of the snow are so sweet and I just love Mum and Dad for making it happen.

This is a long weekend holiday in Melbourne.  Along with it being the Queen's Birthday holiday, I think it's also the official start to the snow season.  It certainly feels like it should be the start of the snow season - I'm so cold today!

I won't be planning any snowy day trips, instead I will be launching into a Long Weekend Crochet-a-thon.  And having lots of tea.  I've already spent this morning on a trial run!

I hope you are doing something to embrace the season, even if you're like me and don't care much for the cold.  It is fun to snuggle up under snuggly gear and it certainly looks good from inside a cosy cafe!

04 June 2013

Finders Keepers wrap and an Inside Out nod!

So I was at Finders Keepers in Sydney on the weekend .... !
It was fabulous!  I stayed with my best friend, I met so many friends of the blog/facebook/instragram kind!  I was pretty much overwhelmed with the beautiful stuff that was there and the new venue (Australian Technology Park) was outstanding.

And, my favourite bit, was meeting Lee Tran Lam of Inside Out.  I was a bit star-struck when I figured that one out!  She posted a photo of Crayon Chick goodness on her Instagram - and you know how much of a crush I have on Instagram.  I was thrilled!

Here's her picture.

Inside Out is my all-time favourite magazine.  It was a thrill to have Crayon Chick products selected as Editor's Choice in January, and it was a thrill to be listed in the Finders Keepers Highlights post on their blog today.

(blushing again)

Here's my moment in the Inside Out sun in January!

A stash of my hoarded (obsessively) collected Inside Out magazines as pristine as the day I bought them!