Archive for October, 2009

Happy Halloween!

October 31, 2009

This is my first Halloween in Australia and while this evening we are spending watching psycho and eating candy, the day was spent at the beach.

I did my best to pull together a somewhat Halloween theme for my photos for the day. We dug about the rocks for the gross and the scary. I really wanted to find a crab…the SPIDERS of the sea…but alas they were too quick for me!

The Blob!



Liver and some Fava Beans….


Sea brains of some kind!

I thought of carving a pumpkin but the only ones I saw were at the grocery store for $25 so I passed on that idea. I made a sand pumpkin instead πŸ™‚


I hope you all have a haunting halloween! Enjoy the day!



October 30, 2009

I’ve come across a lovely Sydney based artist named Kate Banazi that works mostly in silk screen.

I LOVE silk screened art as it is one of the first times I really got involved in design and discovered how much i love it. It’s something I’d like to get into again once I have the money to invest in quality inks and screens.

Her prints are beautiful and dizzying combination of graphic, color and shape. There is so much fine texture overlapping they feel like they’re in motion.

I also like the way she combines photographic images with a vintage feel, with boldly colored graphic patterns.

It’s not as though I’ve found one I don’t like yet but I really love this one:

Sunscreen Screenprint

"Sunscreen Screenprint" by Kate Banazi

You can check out Kate Banazi’s work for sale on Etsy at Alyoisiusspyker’s Shop. She has additional work for sale on her website at Don’t forget to check out her blog too!

I’d like to send out a thank you to pretty*swell at She took the time to make a lovely post about my etsy store. Please take the time to stop by her blog and see what creative work she’s been up to!

Horray for Soopsee!

October 28, 2009

I’ve been looking for a way to better integrate my etsy store, flickr account, and my wordpress blog. Unfortunately, WordPress doesn’t allow advertising and incorporating my etsy store would count as such.

Soopsee to the rescue! I found Soopsee through the Etsy labs…the place were developers are thinking up ways to make Etsy work for you. Soopsee will host a website that will display your blog posts along side your etsy products, as well as link to flickr accounts, tweets, and where ever else your work can be found. Posts and products are automatically updated every half hour.

Soopsee is still in it’s beta phase and developments are still being made but it’s a great concept and I’m really excited about it. I’d also like to thank Ed, who is at the other end of the soopsee email and working very hard to make Soopsee a success. He’s been really helpful to me over the last day with all of my questions.

Little changes are coming, like the ability to change link titles. And I’d like the importing of my blog to be smoother…the photos skip around when they’ve moved from wordpress to my new site. You can be a part of the development of soopsee and help influence changes if you plan on using it here!

If you look at the tool bar of my blog on the right hand side you’ll notice a badge that says I’m on Soopsee. Clicking there will take you to the new site.

The new site address is easy peasy….!

I recommend you give soopsee a look. I’m excited about where it’s headed!

Have a Ball Wrecking

October 28, 2009

Craft blogger Future Girl at made a post recently on the Keri Smith book “This is not a Book”. Unfortunately because there was a contest involved with the post, commenting was disabled so I’ll have to share my Keri Smith love here!

I am actually quite glad that I came across Future Girl’s blog post because after a mad organization a few months ago my Keri Smith book, “Wreck this Journal,” was tucked into a shelf and forgotten about. Up until that point it was always in my bag with an array of pens to provide entertainment mostly during my long waits for late public transportation.

The book is one of many in a series by Keri Shaw that encourages Adults to be messy kids. Each page has a project or direction of some kind to destroy, think or create. There is a big thick adult coloring book, another for office distraction, the one that Future Girl posted on, “This is Not a Book,” as well as “Wreck this Journal.” Which is perfect for people who have always wanted a journal but didn’t quite have the words to fill them (me.)

Have a Ball Wrecking 1

Here is my copy. It has seen some wear and tear although I think I could do better. There are plenty of flickr groups that allow Keri Smith fans to display their destruction and mine is rather tame in comparison.

The beginning of the book comes with a warning: “During the process of this book you will get dirty. You may find yourself covered in paint, or any other number of foreign substances. You will get wet. You may be asked to do things you question. you may grieve for the perfect state that you found the book in. You may begin to see creative destruction everywhere. you may begin to live more recklessly.”

Each page is filled with instructions on how to destroy the book…some are entertaining, others bizarre. A few have been thoroughly satisfying, like breaking the spine of the book. It feels like an antique to hold it now and I am considering breaking the spines of all my other books. Another satisfying task was on page 47, (not chronologically, it’s just the number I decided to give it as that is one of the tasks) color the entire page. I chose to use pen for the challenge of it and it was an immense achievement that it only took one pen.

Have a Ball Wrecking 4Have a Ball Wrecking 3

I also really enjoyed the process of filling this page with circles. Every time I had a new pen I went back to the page and filled in the largest circles with the new color…although now that I look at it, it is incredibly organized :/

Have a Ball Wrecking 2

A lot of it is just silly fun to pass time like coloring the ends of the pages, eating bright candy and licking the page, writing or drawing with your left hand. Some tasks are more journal-like…recording events…except that they’ll ask you to record a meal by spilling and smearing on the pages. You rip some pages, throw some out, play paper golf, make airplanes. I haven’t brought myself to throw any out yet…I still like it too much. But that’s something I’ll have to get over!

Have a Ball Wrecking 5

It’s interesting how difficult it is for me to be messy with this book but it is certainly an excercise in creativity. For someone who sticks to the computer because its easier and cleaner to create the perfect circle, the perfect line; these tasks are an entirely different way to view art and creativity…and its a lot of fun πŸ™‚

I highly recommend Keri Smith books to anyone, even those that aren’t in the creative field. Everyone can use a distraction in the office or a mindless activity once in a while.

A “Day Off”

October 28, 2009

I needed a break from sewing while I wait (and hopefully not too long) for things with my store to kick up, so I spent the day organizing the front room of our apartment into a home office.

After sending out my first to packagesΒ  I celebrated with cake and a kool-aid popsicle which isn’t all that different from a regular day. But I really enjoyed packaging my first sales with ribbons and tags and taking them off to the post office (which is conveniently around the corner).

The front room is at the corner of the apartment and has heaps of light and big windows. The lighting is perfect for photographing my etsy goods.

Graham used the room as his office when he was finishing his PhD and now it gets very little attention. There’s a desk and plenty of shelf space to hold all of the ikea boxes I’ve stuffed with finished products and fabrics. At the end of the room is a little purple couch where I can sit and do my laptop work in the morning.

Home Office 1

The room has a lot of Graham’s photography he had framed and these posters that we picked out when I took him to NYC. We got them at a little movie shop along with a dvd of an old sci-fi flick called “TOBOR” about a robot that goes on a rampage. It’s fantasticly bad! My favorite is the “Vertigo” poster by Saul Bass. I love his style πŸ™‚

From the desk I have a top-notch view of the happenings on my street. For some reason people forget that people live in these buildings and they often sit on the wall outside the window and play out bizarrely personal bits of their lives right there on the curb. It’s like a soap opera in my window and even has reoccurring characters. While these curtains aren’t the prettiest, I can see out but they can’t see in πŸ™‚ I wonder if they notice that my sewing machine stops when they start speaking?


Home Office 2

In addition to cleaning out the front room and sending my first packages, I built an awful lot of furniture…and not that easy ikea flat pack either! The new drawers and tables were all for the bedroom, but one of the old set of drawers to be replaced I moved into the office. It’s not the prettiest thing and it’s missing a knob but I’d like to get crafty with it. I’ll let you know when I do! In the mean time it’s full of all of my sewing bits and bobs, and packing tags and string.

I think this means I’ll have to get back to sewing now that this new space is calling to me. I feel much more prepared to get back into it though.

While I’m doing that….pop on into and shop shop shop!

Fabric Envelopes

October 27, 2009

I’ve been surfing around the web trying to find out what the world of craft holds for Sydney. I discovered a great magazine here called Frankie that not only features music and fashion, but also has a huge connection to the craft and arts world. Unlike a lot of other craft related magazines, Frankie doesn’t target the “country craft”. Not to insult those involved, but this is more my style πŸ™‚

The Frankie website has also lead to a lot of great links to crafters in Australia, resources for supplies, and events I’d like to possibly get involved in.

One such link is Design*Sponge! In particular they have a great project for fabric envelopes.


Design*Sponge Envelope

Fabric Envelope from Design*Sponge

They’re beautiful for keepsakes and I have heaps of fabric scraps around that I can’t use to make more books. I’ve been tucking them away and hoping to find a use for them. I’d like to see how I could incorporate these envelopes into my packaging for my current items or others. I’d like to stamp it with a cute logo and customers could then recycle it into storage around their home.

The best bit is there is very little sewing involved. It’s held together with iron-fusible webbing.

Thanks for the beautiful DIY Design*Sponge!

Coloring Books up and Running!

October 26, 2009

Fun for Sale!

The coloring books are all sewn up and the first set of patterns is in the store for sale.

check them out at!

I’ve made quite a few patterns for this first batch and there are definitely more to come. Be aware that a few of the patterns are limited and you had better get them while you can!

The camera bags have been well received, and although there have been a few sales there are still plenty of choices available. Be sure to have a look!

In addition to the coloring books, I’ve decided to make a second version that allows adults to get in on the fun! I’ve already made a few in the process of sewing coloring books and they’ve sold to friends fresh from the sewing machines. I’m even using one to keep my business notes and ideas πŸ™‚

The new version of the coloring book will come in two different packages… The Writer’s Pack and the Artist’s Pack! The writer’s pack will feature pens, pencils and lined paper. The Artist’s pack will have sketch paper and drawing pencils. Due to the extras involved, the price will be a little higher than the kid’s coloring books to accommodate the cost.

I look forward to adding these to the store soon too!

Photo Picking 101

October 22, 2009

Megnificent Made will turn your photos into coloring book pages that easily tuck into their hand made fabric books. Parents will love seeing what creative mark their kids can put on their memories, and kids will love coloring in the people and places they know.

The book is hand made in bright, fun cotton fabrics and closes tight with velcro. They feature pockets to hold your children’s crayons and a fabric flap that will protect their artwork. The book has a sturdy cardboard backing sewn into the book so the kids can color in their lap on the go.

Each coloring book page measures 5×7 and is single sided so that their artwork can be easily framed. It’s a creative twist on framing your vacation photos!

With the purchase of each hand made fabric coloring book, you’ll receive crayons and 14 custom coloring pages. Before making your purchase, have a selection of 12 photos of family fun, vacation and memorable moments ready to send to

A set of 12 extra photos can be purchased for $4 without extra charge for shipping.

The book is easily refilled with more photo pages or even blank copy paper making it a long lasting carry along to keep your kids busy.


This post is to help guide customers in selecting photos for their coloring books. Any photo can be turned into a coloring book page, but following these tips will help you choose photos that turn out clearer and easier for kids to color.

The first key is to think of how simple coloring book pages are. Often they feature one or two characters drawn in simple outlines.

Choose photographs that have a definite focal point. Portraits work well. The main subject should fill the majority of the space in the photograph because backgrounds can be busy and distracting. Photos may be cropped to minimize background noise. Large groups of people are difficult as well. Many people in a portrait mean the faces will be smaller and the detail will not be as clear. Small faces are also more difficult for kids to color!


In this photo you can see that my niece is front and center and absorbs the majority of the space. Her features are all clearly visible because the size is large enough and yet there is plenty of space to color. Note that the leaves in the background translate to a very busy and abstract space…shaggy carpets, shaggy dogs, waves and other non-definite shaped objects have potential to result this way!

Be aware of the contrast (brightness and darkness) of your photos
If you send a photo with a dark background and a very light foreground, you may lose a lot of the detail in the lighter part of the image. To preserve detail in lighter areas of the image, there could be a loss of detail in darker areas.

For example; if you’re wearing all black in a photo, chances are that area will print as mostly black or gray ink because otherwise features may be lost in lighter areas of the image such as your face!

Steps will be taken in editing to avoid there being too much black space (space kids can’t color for themselves!) but it may not always be possible to avoid it all together.

Images may be cropped
In order to get a clean image, crops may be made on your photo. Nothing important like faces or people will be cut if it is an obvious focus. Cropping is a good way to make the focal point more obvious in the photo. It can cut out busy backgrounds and make clean drawing surfaces such as faces larger.

Places are interesting too!
Kids would love to color in the places they know. Grandma’s house, a family cottage, the beach, a backyard; are all place a kid can add their creativity to. They can draw in the people they love and the things they like to do there. Take a photo of your car empty in the drive way and let them color it in as it will be packed for a trip. And who will be coming in the car?
This is a photo used in the coloring book I gave to my niece. Her book featured photos from our summer vacation and this one in particular is of the big pink house we rented for the week. She had mentioned it was her favorite part of the trip and she loved coloring this one in. As you can see, the plants are very detailed and therefore result in a lot of dark ink in the coloring book page. The dark car also prints with a lot of black area. The photo still features a lot of coloring space however, and works well!

Any questions or concerns with the photos you have sent will be addressed in an email. If you follow these tips the creation of your coloring book should go seamlessly!

I suggest that you collect your photos before making your purchase in the Megnificent Made Etsy Store. Your purchase of a coloring book allows for 14 photographs at 5×7 for coloring, and for an extra $4 you can add another 12. The pages are refillable and you can order more at any time!

Grand Opening!

October 21, 2009

Grand Opening!

Megnificent Made is open for business!

The first selection of bags have been photographed and added to the Megnificent Made etsy store. There are about 21 camera bags posted and more to come. Please head over to the shop and take a look!
Thanks to everyone for their support and I look forward to developing my designs more. Keep checking back for the latest developments at Megnificent Made. The coloring books are next to come!

Mission Accomplished!

October 20, 2009

I did it! A touch late, but I did it!

The weekend turned out a bit busy, and I ended up having some short notice design work, but today I finished my first batch of camera bags. Here is a sneak peek of what you can expect to find in the etsy store this week! Tomorrow I’ll start taking my product photos and get these available to you.

Camera Bags Batch 1

In addition to finishing the bags, this afternoon I whipped up my last “practice” coloring book. I had ordered a pattern on etsy from jcasa, although I’ve decided to stick with my original. I will thank jcasa for some excellent tips on how to put it all together. I’ve since added to mine a layer of felt for rigidity. Jcasa‘s pattern featured a trifold setup, like a brochure, and used an elastic loop closure with a button. It also has pockets to hold pads of paper.

I decided my original set up worked best to hold folded coloring book pages with a strand of ribbon. I also like the flap to protect the pages from the crayons. The larger size, as my dad suggested, was easier for little kids to draw on, and also lends itself to being framed after being colored. I’m also keeping with the cardboard backing in the book that will make it easier to color in, but I’ve found a much cleaner way of inserting it and have stopped trying to sew around it.
Whale Book

I’ve also abandoned the button closure. I was worried that the loop and button was difficult for little kids to work, and might suffer wear and tear after lots of use. Velcro will also be easier on me for making stacks at a time. I like the creative touch the buttons add to the cover though, so if they see a return it will be more cosmetic and velcro will still function as the closure.

On this one I used velcro but didnt feel it needed a button…instead i made the flap wavy to match the nautical theme.
Wavy Tabs

also, if you can see them on this photo…there are blue lines drawn in to mark seams…they’ll disappear!


I’d also like to make the crayon pockets a little longer to hold them more securely.

All that said…I’m ready to roll!