Thursday, March 31, 2011


Today the sun dragged me away from my computer and a young knight away from vanquishing dragons. It could easily have been a crap day. I walked that line this morning with lack of sleep, a sinus headache, sore throat and my mind whirling with to-do lists and greater questions of where to go with this blog, with my creations, my workshops, my writing. You get the picture. The knight came in. Put a supporting hand on the small of my back and bid me turn around to look at him. I did. (after i listed that last pair of trousers, ahem) The knight said, 'Mama, the sun is shining and you are not. Lets get down to the beach and run free. You'll feel better' We sat, we ran. We ate, explored, built, lazed, talked and watched the sea crash crazy against the shore.

Darn kid was right, I felt MUCH better.

Just how does a three year old get to be so wise anyways?

PS: there is a set of rainbow gnomes just listed on Trademe. Honestgypsy is my tradername.

simple. paper. fun.

We had a few rainy days lately. Here's what we got up to. 1) Blowfish! I found Joel Henriques blog, MadebyJoel (the man is a genius) and had to try this myself. Immediately. So we did. Breakfast can always wait, y'know? A piece of paper, felt tip marker, a straw, cotton and either sellotape or glue...and you're off. The link above to Joel's blog gives you full instructions to make your own blowfish. You basically blow up their bottoms to make them scoot along. We ended up making two, Jed named them and we had races. Hilarious. Truly. Mr Potato Head's glasses are optional.
Paper fun project number two:

A paper mobile. I was inspired by a project in Lotta Jansdotter's book, Handmade Living. Jed was noodling around with his crayons at his work table and feeling antsy, i joined him. I figured lunch can always wait too. Mobile, in this case, is a fancy word for a bunch of brightly crayoned leaves sewn together in one long string.

It's hard one to capture in a photograph but the finished mobile is giving me great pleasure as it moves and grooves to the beats of the breeze coming in my window. Each 'leaf' moves independently. The shadows it casts are awesome too. They'd make a great, cheap and quick party decoration that kids could take home.

As i look around my home i realise my happinesses and joys are simple ones. Memories, photographs, thrifted china plates, homegrown fruit, the colours and textures of my vintage fabric pile, handmade beauty and smiles.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

seven days of blogging begins

So, every now and then, when i have a backlog of fun stuff, thoughts and peeks into our life to share with you, i declare a 'seven days of blogging' bonanza. This is day one. In the middle of my usual pre-market sewing frenzy Jed asked for a canoe for his rainbow gnomes. Up to my eyeballs in piles of things-to-do (where making gnome accessories did not feature), i allowed myself to be temporarily distracted. I chucked a grey woollen jumper in the machine on hot wash to felt it and dried it in full sun. I find this finishes off my cheaters felting process nicely.
I used a gnome to get my dimensions right and cut out a base and two sides. I checked all rainbow gnomes could fit and then hand sewed it together. Because felted wool doesnt need edging or finishing, i just trimmed the canoe edges at the end. It didn't take long at all and i suspect the novelty of the canoe bought me a little more peaceful crafting time.

A piece of blue velvet for the sea and they were off...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

gnome sweet gnome

Since we have been hanging more at our local Steiner school we have stumbled across some new (to us) crafting pleasures. I have Thomas and Petra Berger's darling book, The Gnome Craft book, out from the library at the moment. Inspired by all the rainbow of felt and unspun wool at the little store tucked into the corner of the Steiner carpark, Forest Folk...we have been making gnomes.
Not usually a screen person (very rare to find TV on around here), i have been handcrafting to the dulcet tones of Deadwood episodes...if you havent heard of it, it is a series about the pioneer goldrush cowboy days kinda like what Nick Cave might've come up with. Lets say, very realistic. Except for the almost Shakespearean language. Oh, with extreme cussing. So, um, these gnomes are rainbow with kinda pioneer sassy edge to them.

The first night i made them was a Saturday. I knew Jed would be up at 6.30am like always, even though he went to bed late. Before i went to bed I made a whole rainbow gnome world for him to wake up to. And you know...that was a two hour sleep-in folks!
Happy mama and happy little guy. Win, win.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

button bonanza

Looking for fabric and items to upcycle into this season's GrowMama market and online range we stumbled across a tin of buttons at the thrift store counter. We came away with the whole lot for $4. Glass buttons, handcarved wooden ones, ceramic buttons, handtooled leather buttons, green buttons (always my favourite)...somebody's lifetime of buttons. I like to think about the stories behind each set. Rifling through the tin was like discovering treasure. A small (but fierce) pirate did steal the button treasure later that same day.
My vintage button necklace was made by the lovely Becs of Freaky Friendz. You can find her and the rest of her handmade delights on the last Sunday of the month at Kraftbomb market in Auckland's Grey Lynn. Mind you visit me there too! I get many comments on this necklace and it has the added bonus of being a baby magnet...they love it. Also, spotted at Kraftbomb: Bec's vintage button rings and a woman selling vintage button earrings...everything a vintage button enthusiast has dreamed of.

An aside:
-Happy and hugely relieved to hear friends in Japan are safe.

-watching in horror Japan's earthquake and tsunami disaster unfold and now the nuclear power plants meltdown's on top. The long term effects from that radioactive leakage alone could wreak havoc, not just in Japan, but further afield too. So so sad and i hope we humans learn to seek less perilous ways to power our modern lives.
- Looking forward to seeing friends fleeing the aftermath of NZ's Christchurch earthquake.
- Feeling very sad and overwhelmed by it all. I think this confirms that i am human. There will a flurry of activisty and crafty type activity here. This is how i cope: Move (dance or long walks). Create (sew, make, bake). Gather. (friends and tribe). Speak up (do what i can to make a difference).

Thursday, March 10, 2011

late summer

Late summer. It's all about fruit. The last berries. And sushi for those hurried just-come-in-from-adventures dinner times. I have it all ready to go in the fridge and can assemble it in minutes...genius.

Sneaking in swims. Heritage variety grapes. Apples straight from the tree. Monarch butterflies hatching. Eagerly eyeing up the feijoa's. (Are they ready yet? Are they ready yet?!)

Enjoying the cooler nights. And friends in sunshine. Before we all start holing up for the wintry months.
Preparing for the rain and cold of the months to come: piles of merino fabric to turn into trousers and tops for jed and my market stall and online stores. To be embellished with vintage fabric of course. I've picked up some craft projects from thrift shops for those rainy days in very small house and have stashed them away. A weaving loom. A 70's felt crafting for kids box set.

I am inspired by Paxus's attempts at daily blogging. For the activists among you or those interested in transforming the world into a more sustainable (and certainly more interesting) place visit his blog, Passport to Complaining. Pax and i go many years back and he writes from Twin Oaks Community in Central Virginia, USA, where i used to live. See if you can spot the younger Anissa in his Feb 26th post.

And, to leave you with sheer joy...Jed and i move through our days singing this song:
Home. By Edwarde Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes.
I love it.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

handmade for Christchurch

The windowsill above Jed's nature/craft table.

I like how one of us will be seized by an idea and rush off to craft it into reality. There has been a bit of crafting for Christchurch happening lately. For friends and for a wonderful project called 'Handmade for Christchurch' (H4C for short) co-run by twenty crafty mama's who couldn't stand idly by.
(Being stretched financially i have been supporting those in need in Christchurch by donating my time to promote those projects that are raising money. It has been satisfying work.)

You donate handmade items by emailing photos and descriptions and H4C auctions them on All proceeds go to the Sallies or to Christchurch Women's Refuge. Fabulous idea.
Take a look at the loveliness on offer. These ladies are onto a good thing.
Watch out for GrowMama's offering:

GrowMama size medium swing tunic. Size medium. (to fit 2-4 years, as dress then as a top)Vintage marimekko stretch cotton fabric front and cotton gingham cross-over back.
The colours are spring green and pink on white background.

Newsflash 13th March: Click HERE to bid.

Excuse the creases, happens when you work at speed and quite possibly over-caffeinatedly.
Ah well, nothing a few moments with an iron can't remedy. Sigh!