Sometimes a little love is all it takes

This is my latest custom order for Bev, a revamp of two old/worn tub chairs.

after

before

Since putting out my bright colourful patchwork restorations in the shop, I often get asked questions about the making process.  I find this hard to describe, most of the design process happens in my head. Explaining each stage is difficult.

So this time, I took photos along the way to provide a little insight and inspiration!

The process

I love selecting the eclectic range of textiles. This is the fun part.

I juxtapose pattern and colour to achieve an overall harmonious balance.

Start with a few pieces of fabric you really want to include and build on that colour scheme. Chuck in a few random, vibrant pieces to make the collection really pop with excitement and intrigue.

I exclusively use reclaimed materials with a penchant for coffee sacks, flour bags, tea-towels and wool blankets. This gives it the charm and character you expect in a quirky patchwork.

studio-details

cutting-fabric

I will be completely honest, during the sewing process it can get very laborious. Each chair is unique and requires a pattern to be created first.

But if you have time, patience and are willing to wrangle your head round cutting a pattern – it is not that difficult to do. If you can sew straight lines on a sewing machine – you can do this!

The first step is to cut a pattern.

You may need to sit and study your chair for a while. Look for panels of fabric, seams and joins. You want to try to replicate these shapes. This will give your cover the best fit, molded for that chair.

For square block shaped chairs the simplest more accurate way is to measure each panel. For curves and sculpted chairs, I use a thin transparent piece of fabric. This grips to the chair (or you can use a few pins). Using a pencil I trace out the shape of each existing chair panel.

stages-b

Then you make a patchwork piece roughly the size of each panel. Using your fabric pattern, cut out the exact shape (allowing for seams).

cutting

pins

Each patchwork panel is made separately. Figuring out how each of these panels fits together is like doing a giant jigsaw puzzle. It can help to pin each panel to the chair to figure out which panel it will connect to.

stages-d

stages

stages-c

Each patchwork panel piece is stitched together to form a cover that can slip over the old chair cover.

I say slip, but in reality to obtain a nice taunt look means the pattern needs to be precise.

To fit the final ‘patchwork’ cover over the chair it is usually a tight fit.

Go slow, work the cover over the chair gently.

cover

Trust me it is easier to tighten a cover then it is to loosen, so er on the larger generous fit to begin with. You can always bring a seam in another centimetre.

A bit of unpicking and redesigning is inevitable with these sort of projects. To get the perfect fit, alterations usually need to be made. So you might be fitting and refitting that cover a number of times until you have it right.

The last step is stapling the cover under the base of the chair.

staple-gun

measuring-size
arm-rest-details-her
After

her

chair-seat-details

back-of-her

It is a time intensive process but once you fire that last staple – the final reveal makes the hard work melt away.

Patchwork chairs are bold  beautiful statement pieces and will no doubt be the subject of many a conversation.

side-of-him

back-of-him

chair-leg

The best part is you can save an otherwise worn/old/damaged chair from being thrown away.

x Isabella

From Glazier To Glass Artistry – fusing passion with experience

Last month I finally got around to visiting what has to be the cutest glass studio ever.  This slice of rainbow glass heaven is nestled in a pretty valley, just up the road from our shop, in the Granite Belt region of Australia.

Prior to opening his dream studio, Brian spent the last 30 years working as a glazier in the city. One day on a whim he purchased a plane ticket to Japan to take a much over due holiday. He loved the place so much that he flew home, packed up his life and moved to Japan to live. Brian comes from a family of glaziers, his grandfather was a lead lighter and glazier in England, and his father and brother also glaziers. Brian had spent most of his life working with the practicality of glass.  Japan lit a spark in him, a yearning for something more creative. So upon returning to Australia he left the city life, bought a property here in the country, and opened Glass Shokunin Studio.

 

Little Valley

Shokunin-16

Shokunin-15

I first met Brian earlier this year when he popped into our Bridget Bunchy Recycled Gallery Shop. We have a few of his amazing dichroic glass earrings and pendants in our shop. I love them, they look like mini galaxies.

His glass studio is only a few kilometres away, back up the New England Highway heading towards Stanthorpe. I am pretty excited that another artist has moved to the village and opened a shop.

I am taken by his story and the bold move he made from owning his own successful glazier company to striking out on his own yet again. The difference is this time he is following his passion for colourful glass artistry.

Shokunin-4

Glass-Bowl

Shokunin-7

Shokunin-13

Shokunin-14

Shokunin-17

Shokunin-24

With years of experience working with plain functional glass, Brian now works exclusively making gorgeous divine glass art – vessels, sculptures, jewellery, garden art and accessories. His pieces focus mainly on glass fusing and flame work using all colours of the rainbow.

What I loved the most about Glass Shokunin Studio is all the little sculptural pieces of glass that hang in the bush or mounted on logs as you meander down the driveway to the studio. His property is immaculately tiny, and everywhere you look glass features in the sweetest of ways.

Shokunin-20

Shokunin-21

Shokunin-26

Shokunin-27

Shokunin-29

Shokunin-31

Brian’s wife took a basket making course on their recent visit back to Japan and is now adding her exquisite woven baskets to the studio.

Baskets-1

Baskets-2

Originally Brian bought his rural property to be a weekend escape from city life. But he fell in love with the pace of country life  Despite leaving a steady income to live the ups and downs as an artist, Brian has never looked back.

I applaud his courage, love his art and hope you enjoy this little sneak peek into his studio and this wonderful pocket of the world I live in.

You will see his sign on the highway (25355 New England Highway) and if the little open sign is hanging down the bottom, head on down. He has no set hours, but will see you coming and open up his studio for a welcoming tour. It is worth it!

Shokunin-25Shokunin-28Shokunin-1Shokunin-18

For more details check out these links

Instagram – Glass Shokunin Studio
Website

Tree Jumpers That Warm Your Heart

Sunny-Queensland

Here is a bit of yarn bombing eye candy to cheer up the winter greys from our stroll down the main street of Warwick, this week. Warwick is about half an hours drive from our shop, in south east Queensland.

Once a year as part of the towns annual Jumpers and Jazz in July festival, the main street transforms into a living outdoor art gallery. These adorable handmade tree jumpers bring so much brightness to a cold winter.

I just love this quirky yarn bombing festival and I hope these flamboyant colourful designs wrapped around trees, warm your heart and inspire your soul.

The festival this year runs until the 31st July 2016, so if you are in the area, you still have a chance to see these gorgeous master pieces.

LeavesTown-Hall

Courtyard-YarnBomb

Geometric

I-heart-to-Yarn

Yarn-Bombing-Trail-2

Snakes-Ladders

Yarn-Bombing-Trail

Jumpers-and-Jazz

Dreamcatcher

JJJa

A happy hippie day out

A break from routine with a day trip out of home territory is good for the soul. It is a solid three hour drive one way, but every so often we get the urge to explore the colourful and somewhat magical world that is the Northern Rivers hinterland (NSW).

During our campervan adventure days in 2012, the two of us spent a whole winter immersing ourselves in the Northern Rivers market circuit. We loved it and have developed a strong affinity to the region. I love the lush fertile rolling hills, vibrant arts community and alternative culture. There is something enchanting about the tangled rainforests, bubbling creeks, honesty boxes, the villages and telecommunication black holes. When we need a good dose of hippie love – this is where we go.

The whole area is a smorgasbord for the senses – every visit we find fascinating places and new haunts. But we love our trodden path –  a concise circuit of our favourite spots.

These spots are not any great secret – heck the place is teaming with self exploring bohemians, but it makes for a good day trip. Here is a snapshot of our recent visit.

Map-of-Day-Trip

Leave Before Dawn

It started around 4am at our place in The Summit (Qld). Driving into the breaking day is exhilarating. Our adorable twin two year olds happily slept for most of the drive. A buzz with caffeine and early morning cheer, the two of us chat away the long stretches of highway.

First Stop- Breakfast @ Sphinx Cafe, Mt Burrell

This place never disappoints. The homemade baked beans are a stand out and we never leave feeling bloated, just warm, content and full. Wholesome, homegrown, home made rustic meals. Set on rambling grounds adjacent to a creek, there is a sandpit for the girls and a lovely alfresco dining area.  The cafe is avid supporters of local musicians and artists so there is always a cool mix of pieces for sale in the cafe.

Sphinx-Rock-Cafe-Breakfast

Sphinx-Rock-Cafe-SandPit

Sphinx-Rock-Cafe

Sphinx-Rock-Community-Garden2nd Stop: The Old Nimbin Butter Factory

This space has really changed over the years and now hosts Nimbin Candles, Phoenix Rising Cafe, Bringabong and an entertainment venue.

The earthy, grungy rawness of the place is inviting and the simplicity relaxing. Removed from the main town centre you immediately fall into a different rhythm. While the girls explore the garden, stage and courtyard, we enjoy a cup of Australian grown Arabica coffee. Phoenix Rising Cafe serves up sustainable nourishing food. I watched the Chef pop out to the vegetable patch that sprawls down the banks to the Mulgum Creek, to collect a fresh harvest for the cafe.

For our road trip hamper basket we bought locally grown plunger coffee (Australian Bundja Mountain Top Estate in Nimbin) and organic chai tea (Chaipotion Gypsy Tea Alchemy).

We went to Nimbin Candles. The place is an enduring local icon, albiet a bit random and dripping with wax. We stocked up on tall taper candles. These give off a superior light in black-outs during storm season back home.

Phoenix-Rising-Cafe

Puddle-Fun

Phoenix-Rising-Cafe-Riverbank

Nimbin-Candles

Nimbin-Candles-Dipped

3rd Stop: Nimbin Main Street

Once the day is well underway, Nimbin township is always pumping.  In days gone by we have thoroughly explored this eccentric town. These days a short stroll down the main drag is enough to soak up the pumping sounds, crazy outfits and over saturated hippie culture. Nimbin is a very interesting place, filled with even more interesting people. We hit our usual spots:-

  1. OzCat Clothing – A fair trade Byron Bay/Kathmandu partnership. I rarely buy new clothes but I bought a poncho, tie-dyed dress and long cotton socks – all of which I LOVE.
  2. Nimbin Emporium – To grab picnic supplies and locally grown produce.
  3. Nimbin Environmental Centre – A small shop that is packed with tag lines and protesting paraphernalia. I admire the passion of the place. Political things aside it has lots of little gems like locally dried lemon myrtle leaves or hand-rolled Australian incense.
  4. Nimbin Apothecary – I could spend ages in this tiny single door shop. I love the plain bottled essential oils and vast collections of aromatherapy and natural herbal products. Last time I bought a jar of hemp healing lip balm which is excellent! I leave this shop wanting to wear a daisy chain in my hair and inspired to grow more herbs in my garden at home.
  5. Nimbin Street Stalls – most days you will find a few random vendors setting up a table of wares out the front of the other shops. Perhaps a backpacker selling handcrafted macrame jewellery to help their camper van fuel fund, or local honey and pottery.

Nimbin-Flags

4th Stop: Koonorigan Road

Not a stop as such, but a great drive with superb views. A few kilometres past Coffee Camp  we cut along Koonorigan Road to get to The Channon. It is a narrow road that winds up the mountain and runs along the ridge.  Busting out of the valley often shrouded in mist and low cloud, you are greeted with rich green views across rolling hills of rainforest, macadamia  farms and coffee plantations.

We pass farms with giant rooted fig trees and dodge pot holes thankfully artistically marked by local graffiti vigilante ” RoadArt.”

Koonorigan-Road

5th Stop: The Channon Showgrounds

This place is a winner. Good clean toilets, drinking water on tap, kids playground, picnic areas, fireplaces and the most beautiful trees that show off the splendours of the season (be it spring blooms or autumn colour). The park is well used and loved by visitors and locals alike. This is the location for the monthly local craft market that we attended as stallholders a number of times.

We love this park. It is special to us. It was our home and hang out when we first set out on our own business venture. Many great ideas started here.

The-Channon

The-Channon-Playground

6th Stop: The Channon Honesty Box

Years ago we discovered this honesty box stall on The Channon Road, approximately 200 metres down from the intersection with Dunoon Road. I have written about it here before. Standing the test of time, this stall is still going strong. You can get preserves, fruit, vegetables, herbs and plants. All grown spray-free on the property. Grab the chilli jam if it is there  (yum!) and toot your horn as you leave so the lady knows you left money. This stall is the highlight of our visit, you never know what will be in stock.

Spray-Free-Farm-Produce

Final Stop: Casino Op-Shops

We hit this point mid afternoon.  I could easily spend the rest of the day in the op-shops of Lismore and Casino. However, the girls still take an afternoon nap, so for our sanity, this is the best time to drive home.

I can’t leave without visiting at least one op-shop, so we stopped at an very inconspicuous op-shop in Casino, down a side alley street. Everything was super cheap , yes you can still buy things here for 20 cents. The op-shop is run by the loveliest ladies. With one daughter asleep and the other running around finding toys in the op-shop, I ended the trip with a great haul of fabric, blankets, pottery and clothes. After a quick nappy change on the side of the road we headed home.

We detoured past Lismore on this trip. Lismore needs a half day to itself. The city is laden with awesome food, artful eye candy and an extensive op-shop trail. Next time!

Lismore-Street-Art

We got home as the sun was setting across the vineyards. It is a long day of driving. Once the girls were in bed, we unpacked the days bounty and spread a bit of the hippie love around our home. Little token memories of the day, sweet reminders of a different way of living.

Road-Trip-Bounty

Road-Trip-Goodies

Homebody