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BIG changes, Art 4 Refugees and The Bulli Show

My internet connection has been a little unreliable of late so I thought I’d play around with word’s publisher layout to create a pretty newsletter for my followers. I’m really looking forward to the opening night of Art for Refugees on Friday.

 

THE BULLI SHOW

Recently I entered The Bulli Show, something I had never done before. I entered a piece jewellery, a double page of scrap-booking and two mixed media art works. Having your work judged in a show is different to selling in a gallery as it is a competition. Your work is assessed and judged by an expert in a show, in an exhibition the only judge is the red dot and the hearts and wallets of the public, there are no rankings.

As I entered the pavilion I was excited to see if I had won anything, but also interested to see the quality of the other entries, which was exceptionally high. There is so much talent in the Illawarra!

I was so pleased with receiving two “Highly Commended” certificates for my mixed media works, including the orange one above, I squealed with delight. (Something that may not be proper show etiquette). I then saw around the corner that my jewellery had a big blue ribbon attached to it. There is also a pic on my Instagram of the mixed media work “Spring Flower” that I did the afternoon of submission deadline!

My decision to enter a scrap-booking piece was sparked by visiting the Berry Show earlier in the year and seeing that I could probably do better with the skills and experience I had from making ATCs and art journals for Swap-Bot swaps. Most scrappers I know of do pages for their kids. I don’t have kids. I thought that scrapping my 30th birthday last year was a good idea. I used elements from some of the cards that friends and family had given me, photos of the celebrations, stamping, inks, glitter and coloured chalks on matching backing papers to create a cohesive collage.

 

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Etsy Success Sydney with Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson

I started the day as an usher-ette smiling and greeting fellow delegates, speakers, media people and a face I recognised from Playschool as they got off the elevator at the top floor of the Museum of Contemporary Art. (That was me in the purple dress, lace tights and metallic blue Dr Martins). The view from the Harbourside room was ah-mazing: a panorama of the Harbour Bridge to the left and the Opera House to the right. Even though it was drizzling and overcast it was still quite impressive. (I’ve put the photos of the view and the speakers up on the Mountain Moon and Sea Facebook page as they were taken on my mobile phone).

Meeting the faces behind the Etsy teams and shops.

I must say that the staff at the event were really friendly and helpful, they even delivered a coffee to me when they realised I was on crowd control duties and couldn’t wait for it to be made. All the presenters brought their A-game! Chad Dickerson, CEO at Etsy, was a great opener, speaking on Finding Your Courage. He shared his own life experiences in small business and answered a lot of questions.

Chad Dickerson is a really dynamic speaker, a hard working person and a giving person as he was so willing to share his knowledge and life experience with all of us. He spoke about not giving up, connecting with and supporting your community, and taking advice from everyone but to only apply what works for you. This, in particular, really struck a chord with me as he emphasised how important it is to listen to your truest self.

“Sometimes you just need someone to believe in you and support you.”

Chad Dickerson, CEO, Etsy.com

I know that my life has blossomed and grown because of the support and encouragement I’ve received from family and friends. I will never forget the encouragement of Grace Kingston, who invited me to be a part of my first group exhibition. Grace encouraged me to join in a life drawing class she was hosting and this sparked my interest and helped me to develop my creative and artistic skills. That initial positive experience, of exhibiting work and selling my work has changed my life and created a career path for me.

During question time I found my courage to stand up, with mic in hand, to ask Chad Dickerson a few questions. My first question was : What helps make an Etsy store that lasts? Chad responded by emphasising how important it is to be passionate, have good photos and market your Etsy shop through social media like PinterestTwitter and Facebook.

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Etsy Decor

My second question was: What has helped him through the most challenging times in his life?  His response was to stay focussed and have faith that it will get better. Wise words.

After the formal programme concluded we were all treated to a magical, light-filled wonderland inside, with an amazingly VIVID city skyline. I took some cool photos and some shaky video footage during the cocktail networking session on my Nikon Coolpix L120. (Not an expensive or fancy camera but it is handy for stock photography and taking HD movies). I’ve found the courage to try new things, explore new (for me) technologies and to share my truest self with the world, because life is too short to be afraid. With this in mind, I present to you my first EVER video production. Hopefully there will be more in future as it’s a whole lot of fun!

The Etsy Success Sydney forum was one of the most inspiring and educational days I’ve had in my adult life. I enjoyed being a part it, volunteering and helping everyone find where they needed to go. I’ve already started to apply what I learned. I’ve stopped resisting Pinterest and Twitter as I can see that if I embrace them and use them selectively that they are great ways to connect with the people I want to reach and the communities that I want to be a part of.

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Mood lighting during the cocktail reception. I really want one of these trees!

Sexy Ethical Underthings

I love the idea of sustainable clothing, right down to the bare necessities. Unfortunately what I had seen previously in eco-undies what lacking a little in bow-chick-wow-wow factor. For my own future reference, and for my readers, I’ve put together some of the more saucy eco-underwear options.

Zakee Thong

Zakee Thong from Ascension Online

Let’s start with the flirty and fun, but practical enough for everyday wear. The Zakee Thong from Ascuntion Eco Fashion ticks a lot of boxes as it is made from fair trade materials, 50 pence (they are from the UK) from each pair go to the world’s first child-labour free cotton seed program and they are “dyed using healthy non-azo dyes & creating the lowest carbon footprint possible.”  They are also very reasonably priced at 10 pounds (on sale right now for 4.50 pounds). Unfortunately it’s the international shipping that’s the killer at 15 pounds (and carbon impact associated with this).

My suggestion to combat this is to buy a few things from their site all at once, such as the matching boob tube, some comfy hipster shorts, or one of their fabulous dresses that are all on sale right now too! The Ascuntion website doesn’t just stock women’s clothes, it stocks shoes, accessories, sunnies as well as stuff for men, babies and kids as well as a personal care range. 

Alternatively there is a limited Pants to Poverty range available in Australia at Little Green Bag. This website also stocks some lovely bamboo and silk underwear by Eco-Boudoir like the Soft Bra or the ruffle-back knickers. Check out the intimates section for these lovelies. Little Green Bag is better for dress shopping than underwear shopping but it’s a good local one to know about.

Etiko have a good variety of the Pants to Poverty range including the Moulin Rouche collection. Their men’s selection if Pants to Poverty also is quite funky (in a good way).

Magenta Moulin Rouche

Etiko has a limited range of other clothing but a decent range of intelligent Tees (“Love Revolution” ,”Racist Brain” and Etiko’s own “Wear No Evil” are my faves) as well as great range of No Sweat sneakers in styles you’ll recognise and love for both adults and kids.

I discovered WhoMadeYourPants? via Refugees United Australia‘s blog. According to their website “All our pants are made from upcycled traditional synthetic lingerie materials, fabrics that would otherwise have been discarded at the end of a season but are in perfectly good order.” Now these are some seriously sexy underthings!

Something Blue by Who Made Your Pants?

I also love that they do some great gift packs, like “The Working Week” which is a set of 5 gorgeous black knickers with the promise of no VPL! Personally though, if you want to spoil me rotten get me the “The Divine Kid In A Candy Shop” and remember when ordering they’re in UK sizes! (That makes me a 12 UK). Sorry guys, nothing for you to wear here but I’m sure your lady would be happy with their wares as they are tested for “forgetaboutability” – that means the ability to forget that you’re wearing them.

For our next sexy selection you’ll need a browser to translate the page, or a decent grasp of French (or just make sure you click on the Union Jack on the home page). The sizing chart is readable if you look at the diagrams and measure yourself. (Or know your UK/US size). Shown below is the Triangle Bra and the Organic Boxers with Pleat Details which come in an impressive range of contemporary bright colours.

Triangle bra
The most amazing thing about the items from Do You by g8 is that they are made from white pine trees!! The seductive designs are not limited to lingerie, they also make swim-wear, kimonos and gowns, dresses and hoisery – all made from plant fibre that comes from tree pruning. Even better is that it all apparently feels like a combination of cashmere and silk. Here’s a photo of the Men’s Organic Boxers from their men’s range, which also includes socks. (Model is for display only and does not come with the underwear).

Urban Fox have some knock-out undies too. Pity their website doesn’t have much info about their ethical credentials. Great that you’re made in the USA as that means you are probably paying at least award wage. Also love that there is a little diversity in the models you’ve used, and that they’re all lovely curvy ladies. There is a little more info on your Facebook Page, but I think that if you are shopping online the info about the fabrics and methods of production should be right there next to the items, especially if you are marketing yourself as an eco-company.

St Louis boy legs by Urban Fox
Lacey Set by Urban Fox

As I said, lovely items ladies, just a little more info at point of sale would be better.

When it comes to sexy underwear red is a classic. The Red Thong by Pact is a modern classic. Made from 95% organic cotton and 5% elastane it has ethical credentials as well as a young sporty sex appeal.

Red Thong by Pact

Pact’s thongs come in other colours and prints including purple, navy, bright blue, black, yellow and nude.
Our next stop off is at Devil May Wear, a lovely Etsy shop which now has a bricks and mortar (or perhaps concrete and steel) store in NY. The lovely knickers below are stitched out of bamboo jersey with blue lace details.

Red and Blue Lace Soy Blend Bloomers from Devil May Wear

Other than some lovely bum-coverings my favourite items in the shop are the bamboo leggings, I would love a turqouise pair with black lace and have added them to my favourites.

While on Etsy there are SO many options for ethical undies but these by Clare Bare are quite some of the cutest:

Rosette Bloomers in Baby Blue by Clare Bare on Etsy

Also on Etsy is InterTwinedDesigns, where you can get either one (About $22 US) or a three pack (About $60US) of Soy-Luscious boy-short undies. InterTwinedDesigns also do a great range of activewear and I now have another, different, pair of leggings on my favourites from them.

Soy Luscious Boy Short Underwear

Soy Luscious Boy Short Underwear - InterTwinedDesigns on Etsy

Now here is one that has a the wow-factor that will mean your significant other, (or evening companion), will be thinking about ravishing you, and not the providence of your undies. But in case you were wondering here’s what Tricki Vikki says:

I use bamboo/spandex jersey knit for my panties and bras because it’s so soft and bamboo grows easily without pesticides or fungicides. Bamboo undies are lightweight, supple and feel just like a second skin. They’re also naturally antibacterial, wick moisture away from the body, and are “thermoregulating” meaning they keep you closer to your comfortable body temperature in both hot and cold environments.

Enough words? You wanna see the sexy now? Ok…

Valentine Eco-Undies Set - TrickyVikki on Etsy

Lacey Hipster by TickyVikki on Etsy

More organic cotton jersey sexy bum from Chikkippie on Etsy.

Organic Cotton Daisy Hot Shorts

Ok this is getting to be a really long post now so I’ll try to wrap it up with another gorgeous, feminine and retro-fabulous set from Madonna Bain EcoIntimates on Etsy. The Cropped Cami is shown here with the Elizabeth High-Waisted Knickers, both from the “In the Boudoir” collection, and both now firmly on my favourites list!

Cropped Cami in Organic Cotton and Silk by EcoIntimates on Etsy

Budget Re-use Home Office Storage Solutions

I came across this great slide show full of ideas by Better Homes and Gardens for budget and re-use Home Office Storage Solutions while perusing Atypical Type A . I can see a row of shower caddies above my desk to hold bits and bobs for projects I’m working on as well as a toothbrush and tumbler holder mounted to the studio easel my Dad built for me. (I really must post photos of that!).

Shower Caddie Storage

Canned Pen Storage

I can see me converting some diced tomato cans into pen and scissors storage. Maybe covering them with some coordinating reclaimed fabric to funk it up a little. The converted bread box charging station has a lot of appeal. Especially when I think there may be a lovely wooden bread box in the garage somewhere. 🙂

Bread Bin Charging Station

Cookie Tray Magnetic Board

Who ever thought of using a cookie tray as a megnetic memo board is a genius! I also may have to raid the wrecking yard for some suspension springs to organise my letters. I really like the idea of using fabric sand bags as bookends. Possibly because I’m a creative girl who loves colour and I love the idea of being able to change the bookends when I change up the colours of the room. I’d love to be one of those people who can Martha Stewart up a seasonal change every 3-6 months but the reality it that I have more important things to do.

Spring as a Letter Holder

Sand Bag Book Ends

There are lots of other idea over on Better Homes and Gardens for storage ideas using items most people already have like pegs, cupcake trays and tupper containers.

Tupper Piggy Banks

Summer Ebay Bargains From Brands You Already Love

I must admit I am a huge fan of the four-letter S-word. Nothing grabs my attention like a red background with the word SALE in big white letters. Today I got the four-letter word in the form of an email from Ebay, which is great as it’s been either too hot and muggy, or too wet, to want to step foot out the door. There is something about shopping online that makes me less likely to buy impulsively. Perhaps it’s because we make emotional connections through our sense of touch, or perhaps it’s because you can’t try things on and see yourself wearing it. Whatever the reason I’m glad it’s there as there are some great bargains to be had in Ebay-world right now. I thought I’d practice my skills using Word’s publisher layout by making you all a great magazine-style spread of what I found. Please let me know what you think!

If you want to see a BIG shiny PDF version click on Summer Ebay Bargains Brands FEB 2012.

May your feet be dry and your house be cool!

Carved Book Landscapes by Guy Laramee

More inspiration this week, while I sort things out after the madness of Christmas and an interstate road trip for my brother’s 21st in Melbourne. More photos from that another day. (Promise!).

I have seen many interpretations of carved books over the years but these Carved Book Landscapes by Guy Laramee are something different altogether.

There is so much attention to detail that makes them stand out. I can see this being a great example of how having patience, putting in time and effort and striving for excellence can really set you apart as an artist or craftsperson.

The one pictured above also shows how thinking a little bit outside the box, pushing boundaries and taking risks can really pay off. All good lessons for me to take on board in creating products for Mountain Moon and Sea and approaching ways of doing business.

 I’ve always loved, and still love, the idea of taking something that has little use or value in it’s current form, like an out-dated text book, and transforming it into some beautiful and meaningful. I hope to take this idea and apply it by using the fabric offcuts I have from a tailor shop and making them into fabric bracelets and other wearable art pieces. The fabric I have sourced would have ended up in landfill if I had not rescued it. It is good to do something good for the planet, but it also gives me the warm and fuzzies too. 🙂

A Rainbow Palette

My siblings got me something really special for my 30th birthday in October, a gorgeous blue designer wallet, you know the kind you see on the red carpet. I’ve noticed since then that I am drawn to blue, a lot. I noticed at my first market stall that most of the items I had for sale had either blue or blue-green tones. I realised that not everyone has the same favourite colours so one of my many challenges for 2012 is to create things in all colours, even those I may not love (like gold and orange). Here’s a link to the gorgeous wallet – in gold. (Because the Jay blue has sold out). House of Baulch — OYO WALLET.

First Market Stall at Beat N Bites in Wollongong's Osborne Park

I am trying to source supplies in all colours to support the rainbow palette I want to draw on for the future Mountain Moon And Sea range. I say source because I really do want to focus on more ethically produced products. This is what is in my heart and if I’m not following my heart then my creativity dries up and there is nothing there for me, or for you.

I always feel something special when I see a rainbow in the sky, but a double rainbow is doubly special! May it bring us all good luck for the rest of the year!