In with the old!

Tulip textile design by William MorrisI recently started studying Graphic Design and am absolutely loving it! For one of our first assignments we had to research a stack of historical art movements. The one that got me interested was the Arts and Crafts Movement [1850 – 1900]. The name of it is quite deceiving as it has nothing to do with knitting and embroidery in the craftiest sense of the word. Instead this art movement saw some extremely talented artists gathering to form artist guilds and societies to encourage top quality design and to support each other’s creative journeys. How nice! They worked together with a common goal of glorifying God through their creative practice.

Floral design by William MorrisI particularly love the work of William Morris (1834 – 1896), the father of this movement. He was an artist, printer, bookbinder, designer, poet, writer and craftsman. (No wonder I like his work!) He created the most amazing decorative floral designs!

William Morris designApparently he said: “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” I love it! That is pretty much the motto I like to go by when it comes to creating a home!

It seems this movement combined a whole lot of things I love! I can’t believe I did not recognise the beauty of the works from that era before…

Cray illustration by William Morris

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No princess throne in my house!

My last project brought up a few questions about my motives and philosophies around parenting. I had won an old princess-themed kids chair from a Recycled Kris-Kringle game, intending to re-upholstering it to match our lounge. In the mean time Belle started using the chair – and loved it!

One night, when she had gone to bed I set to work taking it apart to make it new. But I felt a tad guilty for changing it to my taste and style. Would it break her heart to find the chair changed? Did she love it for its size or its pink-princess look? (She is only 17 months – surely she does not have very clearly defined princess-prejudices?!) So I turned my dilemma to my facebook friends, and got some interesting replies:

A few design and interior-decorating type friends urged me to cover it asap. A few recommended I use the original cover to make something for her dolls – like a little cushion or quilt cover, but cover the chair with something nicer.

An interesting comment which really got me thinking was: “don’t get me started on Disney princesses and the socialisation of little girls…this way, Belle will have a beautiful, stylish “grown-up” chair, which makes her part of the company!” I agree. While I want my little girl to always feel loved, respected and beautiful, I guess it is also important for her to know that in this life she won’t be able to always have everything her way.

Belle did a double take the next day when she saw her chair (without any covering at that stage), but kept going. Later in the day she came and enquired after it in her toddler-way, and I let her play on it. She tried it out and was happy. Phew!

When princess Belle woke from her beauty sleep a few days later, she found a newly covered little couch instead of a throne… She tried it out and seemed pretty happy with it. Her and the cat now have constant battles over whose chair it is, and I don’t hate the thing for spoiling my lounge decor.

The upholstery might not be perfect, but I figure: My lounge – my style. One day she can decorate her lounge in her style (which I am sure won’t be princess-themed anyway as I am trying to teach her to have her own unique style and taste – not the commercial rubbish that gets thrown our way in the media!

Lounge (in every sense of the word)

 

Lounge (laʊndʒ) a living room in a private house

I love creating a home. Making a space where people can feel loved – a place to belong.

We don’t yet own our own house (maybe one day…) So when we moved into our apartment a couple of years ago, I started an ongoing decorating adventure to turn a modern clean-cut, no-character, apartment in concrete-ville, into a cosy and inviting home… A good friend of mine calls our style Modern-Prairie. I think it’s Quirky-Crafty with a touch of Vintage. Whatever it’s called, its me.

Our lounge room has one grey-brown feature wall. I created a series of small collage artworks to scatter all over it, framed a drawing I had created earlier with an awesome rustic frame, and added a few other oddments into a unique little gallery. Over time this wall has grown, evolved and been added to: white letters for each of our first names, fabric decals, a scrapbook creation made by my aunt for our little girl’s first birthday, a little porcelain painting from Africa… I love our ever-evolving lounge room gallery.

Lounge (laʊndʒ) a sofa or couch

The first project I did when I was given a Singer Heavy Duty sewing machine by my hubby for my 30th, was to re-upholster our lounge room cushions.

I pulled apart the existing cushions, but kept the back and zipper-sections (which are from the same fabric as the sofas), and replaced the fronts with a variety of quirky fabrics sourced mainly from Kelani Fabrics. The result: a completely new-looking lounge set for a fraction of the cost, and done exactly to my taste!

Lounge (laʊndʒ) to sit, lie, walk, or stand in a relaxed manner

Over the past few weeks I have been on a journey of rest. Might sound strange since I am still a busy mum, housewife, crafter, blogger, etsy-shop owner and wife. But I have become increasingly aware of the importance of being still and re-focussing on that which is really important – waiting patiently in the midst of uncertainty.

I have this great little day-planner notepad from Kikki K, which I use to plan out my day. I now make a point of scheduling in a few minutes to rest/pray/think/re-focus/re-energise each day when my little person is having her nap… So most afternoons you’ll find me on our lounge listening to music, journaling , reflecting, and well, lounging – A rare commodity I allow myself for a few minutes each day.

Lounge (laʊndʒ) A place where I am right at home – with my man, my daughter, my cat, myself, and my God.

My upcycled bedding project


A few weeks ago I attended a Green Villages upcycling workshop, run by Julie Patterson from Cloth Fabric. Julie took us through a process where we were each given a brown paper bag full of fabric scraps. We had to take out one piece at a time and systematically start sewing the pieces together. After an hour we were finally allowed to start making some more aesthetic choices and then start embellishing our squares with buttons, ribbon and the like.
I was hugely inspired! When I got home I convinced my hubby that I wanted to cut up our bedding (which was a little worse for wear after 4 years), and turn it into new bedding! So I removed the middle front section of the duvet cover and patched together various scraps of fabric and old buttons to create a new middle section (while still using the back, top and bottom in pale green from the original.)
I used the same gaudy neon thread that I had landed at the workshop. This is not a colour I would usually choose, but am so glad I did, as it happens to be the colour of the season!
I have never done patchwork before and I wouldn’t call this creation patchwork either… It really is just a patchy-duvet cover! My only expense for this project was one reel of neon pink thread for $1!
I made a duvet cover, redecorated 2 pillow cases, and a scatter cushion. (Above the bed you’ll also see bunting that I made at last year’s Christmas workshop with Julie too.)
So there you have it: I have redecorated our bedroom for $1 … and have even incorporated this season’s trendy terrible neon pink/salmon too!
I’m so excited!