April 16, 2014

The 5 way Files - 5 ways with Eggs this Easter

Don't just dunk an egg in dye this Easter. Think outside the square and take your eggs one step further with these different decorating techniques. All of the designs are relatively easy and inexpensive to create. I love the uniqueness of these 5, they will definitely be on the to-do-list this long weekend.

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Happy Easter xx

April 13, 2014

The 5 way files - 5 non chocolate ways with the Easter Bunny

Easter shouldn't be just about chocolate and loads of sugar. If you're a little stuck on what to do for decorative effect and to have fun with Easter related themes this year check out these Bunny inspired decorations.  I love the uniqueness of these 5, I think they're good enough for the whole year (well maybe not the Macarons, they'll only last 5 minutes!)



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Happy Easter xx

April 02, 2014

Pay it Forward - Hibiscus


At Pay It Forward we are pleased to have a plethora of talented indie designer's calling the co-operative their own. Each month we aim to introduce to you a 'Designer of the month', for the month of April this designer is Kirstee of Hibiscus. So grab a coffee because it's time to get better acquainted...

What is the story behind 'Hibiscus'? The naming itself is a nod to my time overseas, spending glorious years nestled in a sub tropical paradise. Every morning, without much fail, I would pick a hibiscus flower for my hair on my way to work, so naming my business after my own sweet memories seem apt, given that this, my own little business, was created from dreams of past reminiscence, just by me.

How did the brand come to be? Hibiscus was dreamt in my imagination back in 2005, a year after I welcomed our first child into the world. It has taken on a number of different faces since, including a substantial break following the Christchurch earthquakes (where all my stock was stuck in our red stickered Mt Pleasant home, unable to be salvaged for a time). The Hibiscus which lies before you now was created after our second child was born, and after our world had stopped rocking, in 2013, and has taken on a life of it’s own during the last twelve months.

Your brand is synonymous with upcycling. What do you enjoy most about working with and restoring previously loved pieces? Without a doubt, it has to be the transformation from beast to beauty. I also get a huge sense of achievement knowing I have deliberately saved one more piece of unused furniture from the scrap heap and imminent landfill.

I like to think I’m saving the planet one piece of wood and vintage book at a time! My ‘get up and go’ stems from the immense pleasure I gain from sanding a piece of many times painted furniture, and seeing what beauty of forgotten wood might lay beneath.

I am often sprung posting pictures of before and after sanding adventures, it keeps the history part real for me, and I hope it enables my customers to appreciate the pieces in their real and true form.

I try to keep as much natural, bare wood, in some capacity, in as many pieces as possible, though do admit defeat in original wood too damaged to remain bare. This is when I haul out the fabric and turn it into something almost majestical...

Do you have any interesting stories about where you've discovered pieces that you've worked with? I spend a lot of time garage saling and op shopping! There have been amazing finds of disused Russian lifeboat oars and mid century side tables which have gone on to live again in the form of children’s play kitchen’s and tide clocks. I often wonder what these pieces have seen in their lifetime, and get a load of pleasure knowing I have given them life to see a whole lot more...

You are one of the founding Pay It Forward artisans, what have you enjoyed most about this creative journey? Most definitely the gathering together. Gathering of people who become one brain, resources which become the co-operative and running as a whole, and the friendships which ensue.

What are the advantages to being in a co-operative like this? The saying goes “Many hands make light work." In Pay It Forward’s case, many hands make for more than just light work, it also represents the gathering of a community of like minded, kindred crafting spirits working together for one common goal - bringing New Zealand the best of local, handcrafted amazingness!


I know you've collaborated with a couple of the other founding artisans - recently Crazybird with the cover of Hazed and at markets with Miss Mavis, what do you enjoy most about having the opportunity to work with other designers. Knowing there are others out there who have a ‘lightbulb project moment’ at some wildly un-human hour, which they must start immediately... and again, the pooling of resources and talents to show my best work to it’s full potential. This is highly evident at markets where I collaborate with Sam from Miss Mavis. Furniture is jolly hard to present on it’s own to make it look useable and homely, so the addition of a couple of stunning cushions will never go astray!

Your still relatively new to this 'scene', what hurdles have you found along your journey? With earthquakes, shifting house (and business) copious amounts of times aside, not a lot I'm pleased to say! I have been warmly welcomed into the world of indie design in Christchurch, with many dreams being realised very quickly in the forms of market acceptance’s, repeat clients, appearing in and on the cover of Hazed Magazine, and being a part of the Pay It Forward Co Operative. The above are just some of the opportunities I have jumped for, and landed the proverbial feather for Hibiscus’s cap.


And, where do you see your journey taking you in the future? I’m currently conquering the universe. I’ll let you know how that goes for me!

What is the best piece of creative advice you've ever been given? Be true to you. Hold the values within, high on the outside. I’ve also learned the same rule is true for my knickers when attempting to be an entrepreneur/stay at home Mama Super Hero.

What does the term 'Indie Design' mean to you? Individuality. Close to home locality. It’s a revolution. Get amongst it. I dare you!

So pop on it to Pay It Forward and discover more work by the fabulous Hibiscus, but not just that we also have tons of fabulous work by many other talented designers for you to discover!! 

45 Nancy Ave
Mairehau 

March 27, 2014

CRAFT LAB - Applying for markets and design stores

Over the last eighteen months I have found myself on occasion attempting to assess the suitability of local crafts for markets and events. Which, trust me here, is never an easy task with so many talented craftspeople about. 

What I've learnt is that although two people may have equal workmanship in terms of the quality of their product one person tends to stand out more due to the 'saleability' of their brand. So I thought tonight I'd share what I think are some good tips to help you to step up your 'saleability'. 

Today I have a couple of tips I have learnt along the way when it comes to developing your craft business and getting accepted...




*Remember when you apply to craft fairs/markets/stores they WILL click through to your Facebook page/blog/website, make sure your online world is a fair representation of your brand and you use quality photos to showcase your work. When it comes to photos, less can all to often be more.

*If your pieces have a story to tell, work out how you can share it. For example Crazybird Designs create pieces using Kauri sourced from demolished Christchurch Homes, this increases the appeal and saleability of her work.

*All to often an emerging ‘brand’ is scattered, try focussing on ONE product you know that you can create exceptionally well, and let that do the talking initially. Then gradually as your brand awareness deepens look to introduce other product to.


For example – You start making cushions… work on the quality/the materials/the photography/the branding, then develop the colour-ways, develop the patterns, add embellishments etc etc. When you have substantial sales of the cushions under your belt, then and only then, consider extending to a complimentary product. By expanding too soon, you run the risk of loosing the quality across ALL of your work.

What are your thoughts on the subject? What tips do you have?



Crazy Bird selling her fabulous Kauri pieces
Photos by Utterly in Love and taken at the Christmas Encraftment

March 21, 2014

Pay It Forward - Madi Bleu

The other week when it was my turn to man the shop I took a few photos of some of the fabulous goodies available to purchase at Pay It Forward! 

I feel a special affinity to the pieces made by the lovely Amanda of Madi Bleu, I recently purchased a piece to put in the studio when it's finally ready... Can't wait to show that project off.

So I thought it about time to share with you her fabulous wares! 










If you see something you like here - you can buy via private message on our Pay It Forward Facebook page xx

March 18, 2014

Writing

Before I started Hazed, I'll be honest I had a lot more time on my hands to create, for me my creativity is all to often engineered via a computer screen, by way of beautiful blog posts, creating websites or simply writing.

Another passion of mine is reading, and again, one I haven't been making much time for lately - mostly because when I do the stories tend to encompass me, meaning I pick up a book only to put it down once it is completely finished. Regardless of how ever many hours this may land me! Which, with as much as I have on my plate can prove to be quite troublesome when it results in few hours of sleep and an inability to function completely.

I've taken to reading solely teen fiction and only buying one book at a time to try and combat this, although after reading Divergent recently I went to Whitcoulls the following to buy the second book in Roth's series thus breaking my own rule! Oops! But it was worth it!

Which brings me to the point of this post - I recently purchased an iPad - yeah, I know, go brag elsewhere. And have found myself starting to use Evernote after I realised how great it is for sharing your work across your devices, and so I've been researching more and more for my Craft Lab tutorials that I hope to launch in the next twelve months and the subsequent book I hope to create to further empower indie designers in New Zealand.

But also, and perhaps even more so, finding myself distracted by a character I started to create several years ago I've never had a passion for creative writing, never thought myself particularily good at it, but here I stand with the beginnings of a manuscript about the story of Fleur - a Sex and The City meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer character - and thinking perhaps I could further envigorate this outlet of creativity once more? 

I'll leave you with a snippet so you can see just how far my journey stills needs to meander before it will reach it's point of perfection!!

"Despite the fact that like any modern woman I have had a number of different careers. One of my favourite moments in time was when I was living in Paris in the late 1940's and was working evening's as a seamstress alongside Christian Dior. I helped to create the infamous 'New Look' in 1947. Back then our creations were designed for sustainability in a post-war climate when it was difficult and expensive to obtain beautiful fabrics, and more important to create silhouettes and designs that would make women feel beautiful again after years of war and hardship.  

Today it is the opposite we are surrounded by beautiful and cheap fabrics and so many styles of clothes made quickly and effectively to meet our every whim and need in the fashion world. Sadly though in our haste to have fast fashion we have lost the quality, we wear clothes that were hastily put together using cheaper alternatives, plastic instead of metals, synthentics instead of naturally grown materials.The younger generation have no comprehension about what beautifully constructed clothes look and feel like. They have no understanding that clothes can look just as beautiful on the inside as they do on the outside. They don't comprehend how corsetry can make a dress fit their bodies better or even know what a grossgrain waistband is. 

This is the perspective of my new line to interpret all of the best elements in women's fashion that I have known over the last four hundred years and regenerate these ideas with a modern twist and interpretation for Generation Y. My label is all a representation of me, the best elements that I have seen in women's fashion across the centuries blended together, even the name of my label is a representation of me, "Sang-Blanc" the name of my label represents me all the purity and morality that is represented and interpreted with the colour white versus the punishment, finality and horror represented by blood and immortality.

As I step out of the car I evaluate my choice in attire for the day, I'd gone for a stereotypically vampish look, a gorgeous short black dress flaunting my cleavage with over the knee black leather boots, to make the outfit suitable for work I'd added gorgeous lace-imprinted stockings and a Burberry Trench over the top. A woman should always feel attractive no matter what the purpose of her outing. 

The building I'd chosen to base my business in was stunning, it was an heritage listed building recently refurbished internally in an ultra modern style. My main studio is in the basement so I can be away from the midday sun, on the ground floor we have a beautiful boutique store where customers can come and get couture gowns personally designed for them mostly wedding and debutante gowns. As well as a the recent addition of 'Off-The-Rack' designs (which are my current favourites). 

Above we have the hub of activity where all the seamstresses and designers work split over three levels, on the fourth level we have just launched a sales team who are responsible for generating excitement and publicity for the brand (they have been in charge of the media frenzy surrounding the show), then finally on the top floor we have the Management Team. The design of the mezzanine section of the building means that everyone from the seamstresses on the first floor to the management team on the top level all look through a five story glass wall and out onto the Brisbane River, it is absolutely stunning, especially at dawn when you can see the sun rising over the city!"

March 17, 2014

Craft Love Festival - The Super Camper





Sometimes, but not always we have to look further afield to feel inspiration within ourselves - I often utilise Pinterest as a source of inspiration - picking ideas of things I somewhat like and spinning them into ideas of my own that I love too much. 

When I came across this gorgeous Travelling Wares caravan by Kara Rosenlund, I knew it would be one of those inspiring pieces that would and could potentially recreate many an idea in many a mind. 

I love all of the different possibilities it opens up for it's use in markets and events up and down the countryside. 



Who is this Kara Rosenlund? Who is this wonder stylist? You'll have to pop on over to her website to find out more - full of many a gorgeous image and many more fabulous ideas! All of these fabulous images were found on this equally fabulous website.