Friday, April 20, 2012

Shabby Chic Origins, Styles & General Chat

What is Shabby Chic?
DEFINITION: Shabby chic is a form of interior design where furniture and furnishings are either chosen for their appearance of age and signs of wear and tear or where new items are distressed to achieve the appearance of an antique. At the same time, a soft, opulent, yet cottage-style decor, often with a feminine feel is emphasised to differentiate it from genuine period decor. ORIGIN OF SHABBY CHIC: The term was coined by The World of Interiors magazine in the 1980s and became extremely popular in the US in the '90s with a certain eclectic surge of decorating styles with paints and effects, notably in metropolitan cultural centres on the West Coast of America, such as LA and San Francisco, with heavy influences from Mediterranean cultures such as Provence, Tuscany and Greece. Shabby chic is also a general term which can be used to refer to a person who is stylish rather than fashionable, where their style reflects quality as opposed to newness HISTORY: The style started in Great Britain and evokes the type of decoration found in large country houses where there are worn and faded old chintz sofas and curtains, old paintwork and unassuming 'good' taste. The end result of shabby chic is to achieve an elegant overall effect, as opposed to the sentimentally cute Pop-Victorian. Recycling old furniture and fabrics is an important aspect of the look and was especially popular with modern Bohemians and artisans that made up a sidelined counter-culture movement during the 1980s when expensive quality decor became very fashionable with the upper middle classes. The original shabby chic interiors were usually considered in themselves works of art. The early forms of shabby chic were rather grand but the style has evolved taking inspiration from many forms of decoration. These range from 18th century Swedish painted decoration, the French Chateau as well as the American Shakers where simplicity and plainness was essential. DESCRIPTION: Shabby chic items are often heavily painted through the years, with many layers showing through obviously time-worn areas. The style is imitated in faux painting using glaze or by painting then rubbing and sanding away the top coat to show the wood or base coats. Fabrics tend to be cottons and linens, with linen being particularly popular, inspired by old French linens. Whites and worn or bleached out pastels are favorite colours. Fabric is often stained with tea to give it the look of old fabric. Bleached and faded are terms often applied to the style. It is not meant for old chipped furniture. The essence of today's shabby chic style is vintage and antique furniture with the original aged paint, or painted white (or another soft pastel color) and distressed at the corners by sanding. Antique pieces such as pie safes and jelly cupboards are popular in shabby chic d├ęcor.[2] Popular decor items are pillows made of vintage barkcloth fabric, vintage linens, chenille bedspreads, vintage chandeliers, and anything with roses on it. It is a soft, relaxed feminine romantic way of decorating that looks comfortable and inviting. Also called cottage style. (From Wikipedia)
SHABBY CHIC...you either love the style or hate it...right? Not so simple. I never liked the style of Shabby Chic for a long time. It just didn't grab me. It kind of felt scruffy or dirty because it was not new or something. However, over the years as I have got older, the style has started to grow on me. Perhaps as I am ageing, I can appreciate the aged look more lol! What I now find appealing is the softer, feminine look of it. There is a fragility to it at times that I do like. I don't like all Shabby Chic, in fact I am pretty particular and only like a few select items. The fresher, whites with pastel pinks, blues and greens get me going more than the aged look of off white, creams, greys, tea stained looks. Although having just said this, I am liking the tea stained doilie look on new items such as clothing. I think for me I have to get past the look of dirty as opposed to aged. Is this just me or do others of you feel the same way?
Well I know someone who is a Shabby Chic ADDICT and has a lot more experience in creating shabby chic wonders of delight than me. Nannyposs...I throw the floor open to you in the comments sections to share with us. Thanks x Tanya

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Day 3 & 4 from Withdrawing from the Addictive White Sugar

Just a quick update. I have managed to keep off the white sugar the past two days which brings it to the 4 days off it. The craving for white sugar usually leaves me from Day 4 onward, so I feel I have achieved my aim. Fortunately there has not been any withdrawal headaches which I find surprising given the copious amounts of Easter Eggs consumed! My plan for next week is to also get off raw sugar. I did make an orange cake for the hubby and kids yesterday and I confess to having had some of that. However, being a sufferer of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), the flour in it deters me from having too much. This time last year I transitioned to Agave as my sugar replacement, however it has a very high glycaemic index and I really do not want to just keep replacing things and continue 'needing' something sweet with a cup of tea all the time. Also, I can't afford the dental bills!! So my plan is to have a little bit of honey or rapadura sugar in my baking and eventually stay off sweet treats all together. I really don't like being dependent on something in my diet and am very aware of how I use sweet treats as a reward. I am hoping to change my thought process and choose the foods that I put into my body as value adding ones only! Will let you know how I go... x Tanya

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Who is blogging with us about Shabby Chic this friday?

Shabby Chicness in all it's forms will be the topic of conversation this Friday Night.
I will post back a bit later, however just wanted to give you the heads up so that you may go and research your favorite Shabby Chic thing to make, buy or just discuss. Anything goes really. See you again soon! xTanya

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

DAY 2 of withdrawing from the Addictive White Sugar

Well Day 1 was easy to get through. That is until the evening when my husband cracked open his White Red Tulip Easter Rabbit and left it in a bowl on the couch in front of me for a couple of hours. He denied having heard it when I said to him the night before, not to eat chocolate in front of me. Why test my resolve? Normally when I am eliminating something from my diet I make sure that every trace of the food that I cave into most easily is removed from my house! My teenage son then came home from work and sat down with 2 BIG Red Tulip Easter Eggs that he had bought discounted at the shops before he went to work. He offered me some. I said 'No thanks'. He said 'come on mum, you have been good all day, you can have a little bit'. Still my resolve did not slip. I responded by saying 'the addictive quality of white sugar will just get me in again and having gone all day without sugar...it would be a waste'. I then added...'plus you are always going on about how if you just lost your bum mum, you would look alright'! He didn't push it after that. You see, you always throw the words of a teenager back in their face. It never fails to shut them up! Last night was only mildly difficult as I usually like to have something sweet with a cup of tea after dinner. However, I was GREATLY tested this morning when I was tidying up the nook on top of the oven (where a microwave would normally reside) when I discovered a bag of R T Solid Easter Eggs that I had hidden there previously. I felt a knee jerk reaction to feverishly, hide them away to have with a cup of tea later in the day when the kids went down for their nap. I had to quickly recruit my mindful awareness switch and reign in my self-sabotage-squirrel-like-hoarding temptation and place the eggs within site for hubby and the teenager to have later. I didn't feel as good about it as I should have as I REALLY wanted to eat them! Anyway, the temptation has settled now as I have had a yummy breakfast and satisfied my sweet tooth! Now off to take the kids for a walk down to the beach. Wish me luck for the rest of the day ~ I am sure my teenager will bring home more discounted Easter Eggs this evening! x Tanya PS. No withdrawal headaches as yet!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Remove White Sugar from my Diet Challenge

DAY 1 Today, after causing my insides to have become marinated in Easter Egg Chocolate, I am kicking the habit and cutting white sugar from diet. They say white sugar is a cancer causing carcinogen and I believe it. Why I have been able to switch off that useful bit of information in denial so that I can indulge myself over Easter...who knows? One thing I do know is that when I maintain a steady supply of white sugar into my body, the quality of my thoughts go off. They become a bit insidious and deceptive about what is reality. Once it's got a hold on my thought process, my mood and motivation also then plummets. It's really not worth it and if it's doing such negative things to my mind, it must be a pretty powerful 'drug' to take control over me to this degree.
I am expecting sugar withdrawal headaches of course. However I am planning to wean myself gently in others ways. Whilst I am going cold turkey on white sugar, this week I will still have small amounts of raw sugar (not brown sugar, which is just white sugar coloured by molasses) and raw honey. Here is my 4 yr old having just brought to me a packet of Red Tulip solid eggs that he just got out of the fridge. Tempted? No. I made the decision last night that they didn't taste as good as I first thought (yeh, right!) and that even if I saw my husband still eating them of an evening, I choose not to be tempted. I know that I can do it. I have done it before. Also, that little bout of insomnia that I experienced last night that kept me up until 3am this morning because I stuffed copious amounts of chocolate into my mouth 'for the last time', has galvanized me. I think laying in bed last night, I could almost feel the river of chocolate spreading through my body and changing my cellular structure and not for the good!. So support me, encourage me and journey with me PLEASE! I need all of the help I can get for the next 3 to 5 days. That's how long it takes for the addictive pull and yearning of white sugar to abate. Thanks goodness I have a whole lot of sewing to do to keep me busy! x Tanya

Sunday, April 15, 2012

KEEPING IT REAL...New look Bubble & Bear!

That saying 'It's not about appearance, it's what's inside'. Unless there is something about something (or someone) that 'grabs' you to make you take a second look, some people will never know what's inside. They will never see it. Now I know this post is just about the outer shell or the introductory 'look' of Bubble & Bear changing, but we can relate this same principle to people.
Facebook is ALL about visual. What our eyes first sees and what piques our interest, guides our keying fingers to click on a certain name, page, photo or link. Now what decides what piques our interest? Obviously this is variable depending on the individual. However, market trends and marketing leaders kind of dictate to us through subtle and sometimes not so subtle ways, what is 'appealing' to the average person. Our teenagers are the guinea pigs in this age of ipads, iphone, I Facebook etc. Their eyes are constantly being bombarded and their minds and motivations shaped by what they see on their screens and monitors. We all need to keep a firm hold on the old adage "what maketh the person", because we are all being slowly influenced and perhaps gently manipulated and lulled into a more 'virtual' and commercial lifestyle. Even us mums who are 'grounded' by the in-the-moment realities of raising children, get caught up in the yummy mummy, stay-at-home-business-woman-persona that is portrayed via facebook, pinterest and blogosphere. Now don't get me wrong, I am all for the way these avenues have enabled us WAHM's to gain confidence and etch out a working niche for ourselves whilst balancing motherhood and housenessdom. There are some amazing women out there who are 'keeping it real' for us and blogging about integrity, being true to ourselves (and others) and being mindfully aware of the pitfalls of the social media marketing slants on reality. Keeping it real. That's whats needed as we traverse the great divide between relating in person with customers whilst switching on our intuitive senses to guide our interactions with others, as opposed to the 'virtual-unverifiable-relating-behind-the-screen-and-across-the-distance-from-my-monitor-to-your-monitor', where for all we know, someone may just be 'keeping up appearances'. We have to be attracted to take a second look. Once we have had more of a look, although we can't see the non-verbal cues in conversing with the face behind the business page, we can glean a sense of the 'quality' of this person and their business by the way in which they interact on their page and the feedback and comments from others. This then gives us the confidence to go further and commit to an interaction with that person or page. Our experience then shapes our decision as to whether or not we can trust in them. Why have I gone in this circular, round about way to announce that Bubble & Bear now have a new look? lol! Basically, because I am genuinely fascinated by the whole social media, networking and interaction that is taking place on the internet via facebook and blogging and my journey in experiencing it, learning from it and growing. I have great plans for Bubble & Bear, so in changing the look of B&B I hope to portray that we (my business and me) are a growing entity that is motivated to serve it's customers with integrity, interest, enjoyment and appreciation. Thanks for being part of it with me. x Tanya

Friday, April 13, 2012

Introducing...'Blog ~ About with B & B' on Friday Nights

Welcome to our first 'BLOG ~ About' on a Friday night. The impetus for this planned weekly event is to link together some of the wonderful people I am meeting through Bubble & Bear's facebook page. To learn a little bit more about you all, what excites you, what you feel passionate about, what YOU are interested in and would like to hear about and just generally blog about this stuff. Why friday night's? Because, I am a self imposed recluse who has no life and am ALWAYS home on friday nights. I am always imagining what exciting things people must be getting up to out there on their friday nights, however, I thought to myself "surely there must be some other people out there with no life"? I want to commune with you if that is you also. If for some miraculous change of circumstances I do venture out on a friday night in the not-to-remotely-likely future, there will be a NEWSFLASH and I will let you know. Now, the game plan for a Friday night 'Blog ~ About' is for any of you to post on Bubble & Bear's facebook page through the week with a topic, thought, area of interest to be blogged about for that Friday. Anything and everything is blog worthy for us Friday night stay-at-homers. I will do a little research about the suggested topic, taking in other peoples' thoughts and comments and then we can all discuss it in the comments section under the blog post. Feel free to post links relevant to the topic in the comments section also. We already have a topic for next friday evening...'Shabby Chic' as (kind of) suggested (with a little help from me) by the lovely Wendy P. As it is a bit too late tonight for a well thought out or researched blog~about post, I will just share a little about what makes me tick, what I like, what I am interested in learning about and anything else that comes to mind really!
So,I like chocolate, I am interested in raw and whole food eating however am not really living by it as I am easily swayed by the festivities and social interaction around rich food at Christmas which takes me through with bad eating habits until Easter. I love kids, I care about my community. I used to like and enjoy doing exercise however since having more children I am struggling to find the balance and self discipline to prioritize exercise. It is something that I keep aspiring to 'start doing' in the very near future :) I started Bubble & Bear after my mother-in-law reignited my creative urge last year after teaching me how to make ragged quilts. I have always been 'crafty' and studied Art in high school, however I never knew how to incorporate 'Art' into everyday life. It hadn't really occurred to me that you could make functional, beautiful and useful products that allowed you to follow a creative process and experience. It always felt self indulgent to immerse myself in Art...until recently! Combining the social media of Facebook with a stay-at-home-mums passion for making has been an extremely rewarding experience. By rewarding I do not mean monetarily, but by how my life feels enriched by the interactions I am having with my customers, followers and fellow business page owners. If I was 'out' at work, I would be experiencing fulfilling interactions with people in person. The next best thing is being able to stay at home and still have this interaction, albeit of a virtual nature and quietly read out in my mind! Except when some of my customers opt to come and pick up their creations or I meet them somewhere close by to drop their orders to them. It has been really lovely to meet them in person and really lifts my day to then say hello again on facebook a few days later. I told you I would ramble! So getting back to the Blog ~ Abouts on Friday nights...I am hoping that there might be a few topic suggestions from people, however here are a few of mine, based on interests and questions I have rattling around in my mind at the moment. In no particular order but numbered because this post needs a bit of direction and I haven't worked out how to make my paragraphs stay set out as paragraphs once I have hit 'publish'. Any pointers on this from someone in the know? 1. How to get my new overlocker to do narrower stitches than what my instruction booklet and machine setting seems to allow (without it being set on rolled hem mode)? 2. What is the favorite look this winter for kids? 3. Who is an up and coming fabric designer to look out for? 4. How do mums with more than 2 children manage to keep their day in balance so that they get enough exercise/sleep, eat well, pay bills, shop, clean, stop said kids from strangling each other and return all emails & phone calls and remember everyone's birthdays? 5. What crafty activities can I do indoors this winter with the kids to stop them getting cabin fever? 6. How do I keep sane whilst raising my teenager? 7. How do I stay 'connected' with hubby when all the other stuff has me feeling depleted most days? I have a lot more I could add but will hold it there. So at this stage, next Friday is looking a bit Shabby. Hope you will come get shabby with us! x Tanya

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

New Labels for Bubble & Bear

Here are our new labels. Bright, bold and colourful...
What do you think? x Tanya

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Sneak Peak of Hot Pink, Aqua, Lime Pinwale Cord Ruffle Pants

I just thought I'd share these gorgeous colours I have used to make these Pinwale Cord Ruffle Pants.
What do people think of the colours? I know they are not traditional colours for winter but they will brighten up a dull day don't you think? x Tanya

Friday, March 30, 2012

When Fabric No Longer Fits!

Whilst on the subject of fabric, today has become a day different to the previous two. Earlier on in the week I was incredibly inspired and lashed out heavily on purchasing some stunning designer fabrics to make into new creations. Today however, I explored unintentionally the darker side of fabrics. WHEN FABRICS NO LONGER FIT. When fabrics have become excessively eased and stretched beyond an inch of their lives in areas of wear on one's person. When fabrics let you down and make you feel down about yourself. Yes. That's right. Today my pants split...
You are probably wondering why this would be blog worthy news and why would anyone want to hear about my split pants experience. You are not alone. I too, am sitting here wondering why I feel compelled to write this. But here I am and there you are too (if you are reading this). If not, at the very least, I am entertaining myself. There was a series of events leading up to the split pant fiasco and several moments of pause for thought afterwards that led me to surmise that this day of mine has been an inadvertent exploration of 'FABRIC THAT NO LONGER FITS'. Perhaps I will take you back to when my day first started...Well, I opened my eyes and had a little rush of excitement thinking of my fabric purchases online the night before. I briefly fantasized about the lovely creations I will make from these to-die-for fabrics and then the furtive sounds of toddlers climbing on the kitchen bench and possibly shoving little fists into the small hole on the lid of my thermomix, shot me out of bed and my fabric filled reverie. My day had started. So, kids fed, dressed and ready for the drive to school, I go to the bathroom to throw on my no-thinking-reliable-black-pants which I delude myself into thinking cover all my dimples and bulges. I can wear any top with these pants, so it is an easy, quick dress combo to go to kindy in, in the mornings. Well, once at kindy, little bear 4 wants me to sit beside him to do a puzzle. Kindy seats are really very small. I know that a size 10 or 12 yummy bottomed mummy will fit rather neatly into one and feel no strain what-so-ever on her seams, but for me, a thicker-set mummy-that-has-had-too-many-yummies, it is a challenge. It is also a rude reminder that you are no longer in your twenties or even in your thirties and that the forties are being not so kind to you. Or as my long time friend once said to me...it makes you experience one of those 'Shallow Hal' type moments. When you think in your mind that you are smaller than you are and then you walk past a shop window and see a fat person reflected back and that fat person is you. Unfortunately however, I am not Gwyneth Paltrow acting in a movie and wearing a fat suit. I take my costume with me wherever I go. I can't take off my fat suit. Well, not quickly anyway. Moving on... I finished the school run and go home where I have a lovely chat with said, long-time friend. We chatter and laugh and commiserate over times gone by when we could eat what we want, not get down on the floor for a week and still display good mobility without creaking joints and slight ripping sounds of seams. We talk about how all the fuss and commotion is over turning the big '40'. Turning 40 is fine...a breeze...a non-event. It's after you turn 41 and creep up to 42. That's when the proverbial really hits the fan and you go 'wow!', I am getting old. I KNOW! I am sorry, this is sounding very depressing, but it helps me explain my story. So, I finish my comforting conversation with my friend and I think we both go away feeling mildy less worried because we are both going through fat-findings-in-your-forties together. I finally sit down to sew whilst bubs is having a nap. Time passes quickly and I cut it fine to wake bubs and get him in the car to do the school run again. Keys in hand, bubs in the other, I suddenly remember that bubs wanted to walk to his brothers class and I promised to put shoes on him for the afternoon school pickup. I find his shoes on the printer and make the snap decision to quickly, 'throw' my leg up onto the office chair, propping bubs on that thigh, whilst I one-handedly apply his shoes. In this one, normally smooth movement, I hear a loud RIPPING noise and then a cool breeze over my inner thigh, where previously it was quite snug and warm. The sound, the feel of the fabric letting go of its weft and weave cotton connection took a few milliseconds to inform my brain. I lower bubs to the floor, his shoes discarded, as I rub my other hand over my thigh. I felt skin where the fabric should have been, has always been. Until now. Until I got so fat that my pants gave up. The fabric had died, perished, given up. It was too big a job to contain this fat thigh that was constantly being rubbed against it's equally oversized fleshy neighbour. Which was still nestled clothed and smug. But not for long. Pants were removed and inspected. UNREPAIRABLE. They did not split at the seam. I couldn't deflect the blame from myself in developing stupendous thighs and think to myself...poor workmanship. I felt deflated. Reality hit. I HAVE GOT TOO FAT FOR MY PANTS. Running late now for school, bubs follows me to the bathroom and watches as I look for second best black-pull-on-pants that I delude myself into thinking hides everything. They have just been washed. I squeeze into them. Another not so subtle hint that when standing in my bathroom I am slowly filling up the void with my ever growing bodily mass. I can't wear just any top with these pants, as the waist band digs in too deep and graces me with a double whammy, cheese-on-the-side, muffin top with split tummy state of being. It's not an attractive look...muffin top (fat pushed up from waistband as well as fat pushed down from bra), then split tummy (where one's waist band squishes fat above burrowed waistband and fat under burrowed waist band). Anyway, dressed, ego feeling very bruised, I get to school and launch my ample body with child into the throngs of yummy mummies, sucking in my tummy, I throw my head high and try to convince everyone that I am one too. Unfortunately, my delusion gets shattered again not long after. One of the mums invite us over for a play after kindy. I thought it was just me and the kids going and I think to myself...'These pants should contain me until I get home and if I am very careful with the way that I move, bending over to children etc, my top should keep my double whammy tummy hidden from view'. Well the invite was for just a 'quick bevvy and the kids have a play'. I quickly discover that most of the mums from my mums group are coming over and they have brought, curries, pizza ingredients for the kids, pj's and jumpers to stay on until evening. I agree to staying for a few hours and settle in my seat with a small glass of wine and start chatting with the girls. I am not myself and feel rather self conscious. I limit partaking in the double brie and biscuits. The other mums are all 7 to 10 years younger than me and very slim and definitely yummy mummies. EeeK! I am surrounded. It's sink or swim. A bag gets passed around the table. In it is some lovely vintage tops, dresses & skirts. One mum friend holds them up against herself. She has a lovely figure. Some items of clothing are offered around. Unfortunately, I am not part of this particular conversation. Another reminder that I have dressed for comfort for way too long now. Two recent pregnancies and a stay-at-home lifestyle, I have accommodated to my lounge too much and allowed myself to spread. Fabric gets too pricey when you get bigger. You need more of it to pattern from and clothe your plentiful self. Driving home I appease myself with reviewing-the-day thoughts of... 'really, the reason why my pants split is that the fabric was a cheap cotton from China, which was just not able to stand the test of time'. I'm feeling okay again. That is, until this evening when I get out of the shower and go to put my undies on. They are new and the usual size I buy. Sliding up to the top of my thighs, they meet resistance. I rationalize to myself that they are new and they just need to be stretched a little. I try some more. NOPE. They come down again and off. Momentarily, I pause for thought. Mental note to self 'must cut back on biscuits'. I go to my drawer and look for my period undies. They fit and they are comfortable. It is a sad day when your period undies become your everyday undies and you can not ignore the fact that FABRIC NO LONGER FITS. x Tanya

Are you a Fabric Ferret or a Fabric Squirrel?

Little Bubble came over for a play whilst her mummy went shopping yesterday morning. After having a bit of a groove in the lounge room and watching Play school, little Bubble & little Bear had a lovely little picnic lunch outside on the grass...
Whilst sitting watching them take items of delight from each others plate and horde them in a little corner on their own plate, I got to thinking about my squirrel~type habits. As you all know by now, I LOVE LOVE LOVE fabric. I love everything about fabric. I love their texture when you get a great Organic Cotton one. There is a life and substance to the material. You can almost feel the growth rings that it was created from. A thick, weighty softness that is a joy to cut, handle and sew with. I love the smell of fabric, the new fabrication smell of un-laundered fabric that says 'I'm New' and inspires you to create something beautiful and 'New'. I love to look at fabric and their designs knowing that there is an endless possibility of new designs coming out at any minute. I like the process of 'testing' the aesthetic appeal of a fabric, seeing which one can get my heart racing and thoughts of inspiration and hope of what I may come up with next. All of this loving makes me spend an inordinate amount of time perusing the net and finding new fabrics that excite. Ultimately, it also leads to a lot (I mean a LOT!) of expenditure on fabrics! I sew and make, however my fabric supply continues to multiply and spill over my shelving. I more often than not, guiltily place more fabric onto my desk top or sewing table top, as I have run out of room on my shelving. It is at this moment when I connect with the squirrel~like behaviour in me. I convince myself that I am more in the business of being a Fabric Ferret who gets new fabrics in, makes with it and sends it off to it's new owner. I mean, don't get me wrong! I do, do this, however not quite at the pace that I should, or think that I should. If I am totally honest, I spend WAY too much time, looking for new fabrics, purchasing them and then waiting for them to arrive in the post. I say to myself "no more buying fabric until you have used some up". I said this to myself last week and guess what I have done for the past 2 days? Yep...bought a LOT of gorgeous fabrics! It's a little like my chocolate addiction...'I will just have this last piece of chocolate (because it's the weekend and I deserve it) and then I won't have anymore.' I should just add a disclaimer from now on...'and then I won't have anymore...until next time'... If you really love something, that next time comes around pretty quick! Another justification that a Fabric Squirrel will come up with is this...'well winter's coming and I will be holed in and I will need these fabrics with all the sewing that I will be doing'. Does that mean that I am a Fabric Squirrel Bear perhaps?? As a self confessed Fabric Squirrel, another good justification I can come up with is this one...'I will just buy this last lot of fabric...I can always do a destash sale on facebook or ebay'. But then I don't. Fabric squirreling behaviour is a bit of a phenomenon and I am sure I am not an alone squirrel in the world. I would love to hear about other squirrel's challenges with their squirreling habits and how they have overcome them or at least harnessed them. But perhaps, what could be really useful here as well, would be to hear from you FABRIC FERRET's!! Are there any FABRIC FERRET's in the house?? It would be great to hear from you and learn a little bit about the behaviour of a Fabric Ferret. These tips would also be hugely useful to help me and other Squirrels, gain some new ways of behaving with fabric. Better yet...are there any REFORMED FABRIC SQUIRRELS that have learn't how to become FABRIC FERRETS??? x Tanya

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The handiness of a Magnetic Pin Holder

Hands up who has one of these? Magnetic Pin Holders are a god send when you have little one's around you when you are sewing and wanting to 'help' you. I can't actually recall where I got mine now and I think it was close to the $10 mark...mmmm...I am thinking it was textile Traders? This little beauty is SO handy...
You can be sitting at the sewing machine, pulling pins out of your garment/creation as you sew and even if your magnetic pin holder is at arms length away, if you have a good aim, you can literally throw the pin in the air in the general direction of the pin holder and it will draw the pin to it! Magical qualities you ask? Sadly not, rather an extremely strong magnet. Just be careful when you bend down to the floor to pick up your tape measure that has slipped from your neck for the umpteenth time. You might find your glasses fly off your face onto the magnet like it did with me once! Anyone have those disheveled creating days when you feel like looking over your shoulder to check no one is watching you in your clumsiness? Sometimes when I am sewing at the kitchen table and I hear the 'tink' of pins dropping on the floor, I fear not, because once I have finished I just grab my magnetic pin holder. Holding it upside down in my hand I do wide sweeps in an arc around the general vicinity of where the pins dropped. Voila! No need to crawl around on the floor to pick up pins! I love it and can't do without it. I am thinking of getting another one to keep on the kitchen window sill as I am forever using one near the kitchen bench for ironing or in my sewing room. My kids will think it's for them because I often entertain them (deter them from playing with the sewing machine/pedal) by letting them play with the pins/magnet...shocking mother that I am! lol! Actually, It has really helped their eye-hand co-ordination and fine motor manipulation~dexterity of their little fingers...they have also learn't that there are sharp things in this world and they have to slow down and approach with caution! Another reason I find magnetic pin holders so useful, is if you are taking your sewing supplies to classes, workshops or traveling whilst on holidays, you can just pop the holder on top of your fabrics/supplies in your sewing bag and they are still there when you get to your destination. You might be thinking that with the way I am raving about Magnetic Pin Holders, I am in the business of selling them! I'm not. It's just such a handy tool to have for the craft/sewing room that I felt driven to write a post and share about them. If anyone knows where to get them and can suggest to our readers, please feel free to comment. I am sure they must go on sale somewhere at some stage. Feel free to let us know what your favorite Sewing/Craft room tool is that you can't live without. x Tanya

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Gorgeous Fabrics to Inspire Creativity

I was going to write a post on the gorgeous fabrics by Tanya Whelan, however whilst researching her range I managed to delve into the internet abyss and found myself on a completely different designer's range of fabrics ~ Kaffe Fassett. It's funny, a friend of mine who absolutely loves Kaffe's bold prints and stunning colours showed me a few of his fabrics some time ago and they just didn't turn me on. Well, I just had that foaming at the mouth response from gazing at his fabric collection this evening. I don't know whether my taste has evolved after working with fabrics for some time or whether back then when my friend showed me his designs that I was just in a different design phase. I am extremely excited about what I am planning to make with this particular colour/design combo. Let's just say, it will be a matching set that will look just divine in a particular room of the house! Here is what I am planning to combine in my mystery creations!... This will be the feature fabric ~
Then these complementary fabrics will make the first 'pop' from the creation I have in mind (*wink)~
What do you think of this design/combo? Please be honest. It won't be everyone's cup of tea. What do you think these fabrics would look great made in to? x Tanya

The winner of the FREE OWL valued at $30 is...

Congratulations to Caroline L! You have won this gorgeous stuffed toy Owl handmade by me at Bubble & Bear!
Thanks to everyone who participated and thank you to everyone for your support and company. Here is Caroline's Owl that she won...
x Tanya

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Learning Curve happening here! Revised eligibility criteria for the FREE Giveaway!

Gosh, you think you are doing the right thing by moving competitions off of facebook so you don't violate any of their 'hidden' and changing rules and it gets so complicated! I have done a little digging and I have found out that someone may be following this blog however, they may not be showing up on my follower list because they do not have google or a google connect account. I don't think it is reasonable to request that people go and get a google account just for the purpose of joining this little competition. Unless you are wanting to access other google products or start your own blog, then it is really not worth the trouble for you. However a big acknowledgement and hats off to Gloria G, who was not discouraged and went and opened her own google account just to enter this comp!! So. (Sorry Gloria). I have decided to amend the criteria and make it so that people only need to click on my Madeit Store link, note how many creations are listed for sale and then come back and comment/write their answer either under this post or the previous one. Fingers crossed that this works!
I commend everyone on their efforts thus far in trying to achieve the previous criteria. I know how frustrating these cyber-techno facilities are when you can't make them work! So lets see how we go! Thanks! x Tanya

Friday, March 23, 2012

Rewarding our followers with a FREE Giveaway!!

To thank you all for your custom, following & overall fantastic company, I felt it was time for a little giveaway! This little beauty will be given to one lucky person!
To be eligible to win all you need to do is click on the 'Join this Site' tab to follow Bubble & Bear's Blog page and then click on the Madeit flashing button to the right. Once in our Madeit store, check out how many items we currently have listed for sale and then come back to our Blog page and in the comments section under this post, write your answer (ie. how many items are listed for sale in our Madeit store). Simple, hey? This little comp will run until next Tuesday evening (27th March 2012 ~ Winner drawn at 8.30pm WST) so if you are feeling particularly generous, you have plenty of time to share this post with your friends so they can be in the running too! Do you feel like being a good friend? Or do want to keep it to yourself to maximize your chances of winning? lol! Winner to be drawn via Random.org Good luck!! x Tanya

FREE Giveaway from Bubble & Bear

I have developed an overwhelming urge to give something away to thank our lovely customers and followers on facebook! I will be announcing tonight what the prize will be and how you can win it. There will be an easy question to answer and to be eligible, you need to be a liker of our facebook page https://www.facebook.com/bubbleandbear as well as a follower of this blog. I will post a little hint a bit later as on as to what the prize might be.
See you tonight! x Tanya

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

HELP! Where do I start with my new overlocker?

Okay, so I am extremely excited as I just bought myself a new overlocker today. Here it is...
The clever sales lady convinced me to upgrade from the model I was going to purchase which was a 'cheaper', on special one than this one, however this model 'self threads'. Now I am jumping the gun a bit here as I haven't even taken the Overlocker out of the box yet! I have taken the instruction booklet out but I am yet to read it. My neighbour popped around today and said she has the same model Overlocker, however it is a lot, lot older. I found this quite reassuring, because if they have continued to make this same model over the years, you would think it is a good one and in demand, right? My lovely neighbour said it is a solid machine which will last and last. She also gave me a nifty tip on the threading which will save heaps of time and stress!I will post about it later once I have actually used the machine! By then, I should be able to explain it better. The purpose of this post is to generate (hopefully) some discussion about this model Overlocker in particular, but also about overlocking in general. My question is this...when Overlocking fabric that is 100% Cotton, should you always use 100% Cotton thread, or is Polyester Thread okay for overlocking? My preference is to use 100% Cotton thread so that 100% Cotton fabrics do not get 'torn' by polyester thread, however I am a little daunted by the cost factor in purchasing those big thread cones in 100% Cotton. What is everyone's thoughts on this and various experiences? Thanks. x Tanya

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Boys Ragged Teddy Bear Pram Quilt~New listing on Madeit

Check out our new listing in our Madeit Store! Too cute!

Pink & Purple 'birdie' fabric just arrived!

Just opened my mail and I have heaps of this gorgeous fabric that has just arrived!
I can't wait to make more cutie-pie creations with this :) Do you have a favorite fabric~theme~colour~designer? Would love to hear about them and share. x Tanya

Monday, March 19, 2012

Little Businesses with BIG ideas & BIG hearts

I love these 'little' manifesto's by
I love the camaraderie and support of other women on facebook who are running their own businesses from their homes. I love that there are people who support handmade. I love that I have created this opportunity and live this life. I love that a 'little can go a long way' and that the possibilities are endless. I love that there is so much encouragement out there for women in small business. I celebrate little, because without being little you can't start off from somewhere. I love little. ♥
x Tanya

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Gourmet Birthday Party, Last minute Applique Tops & Crocodile Cake!

Well the past 2 days have been spent preparing and enjoying my two youngest boys (4 & 2 years)combined birthday party. It has been all consuming and very little sewing has been done. Aside, that is for some very last minute appliqued singlets that I did for the boys. However, will get to that in a minny. So the boys have had the chesty cough they picked up from swimming lessons last week and then hubby and I came down with it over the weekend. Of course Man flu being as bad as it can be, I had to do all of the party prep myself and often with whingeing, annoying, naughty little boys hanging around, whilst feeling rather sub par myself. Let me tell you, that sushi is not a good thing to make with an inquisitive 2 yr old around who has a tendency to stool hop onto the breakfast bar and make lightening snap grabs at whatever he can reach. Fortunately I was able to employ the assistance of my 15 yr old at times to come to the rescue whilst hubby was laid up on the couch with THE worst cold in the world. Anyways, I was up until midnight last night, after a cooking fiesta throughout the day, making sausage rolls and the rice for the sushi and baking teryaki chicken drumsticks. I have a tendency to try and make a certain dish bigger and better. I did this with the sausage rolls. I wanted them to EXPLODE with flavour. They did, kind of:P I put fresh garlic in them as well as fresh parmesen cheese. I was a little too impatient to wait for the thermomix to blitz the chunks of cheese so I just put the mix into the puff pastry anyway. I think the extra 'wetness' from the cheese in the mix made it hard for the pastry to crisp up in some spots, so some of the sausage mix did kind of explode out in some spots. Either way they tasted nice but I must remember to follow recipes! So once the kids were in bed last night, I got onto making the cake. I had planned to just do the icing and finish it off in the morning. However, once I had done the basic icing layer to 'crumb' the cake, it was like one of my creations...I just had to see it through to the end so I could see what it looked like. Here is what my 4 yr old chose out of the party book for me to make. I was quietly pleased as he had mentioned a buzz lightyear cake at one stage :P
Once the kids were in bed for their pre-party afternoon sleep today, I packed two eskies, 5 carry bags with basic necessities, picnic rug, etc etc. I had 30 minutes until the kids had to be woken and put in the car when I remembered that I was going to make them birthday tops to wear. I had forgotten! Hubby still on the couch, I quickly grabbed the Owl singlet for the 2 yr old and cut out a felt number 2. I did the same with another singlet for Mr 4 and cut out a pic of Buzz and a felt number 4. I thought I would just use some iron on 'heat and bond' to adhere the numbers to the singlets. Perfect I thought as I wanted them to be removable so that they could wear the tops later on (I have a scottish heritage and can be a bit frugal at times). Anyway, all good in theory until after ironing on the number 2 I thought I'd give it a little stretch to see how it would sit over a little chest underneath. It peeled off on one side...der! Mildly panicky but determined, I rearranged buzz on the other singlet and ironed on number 4 and went off to the sewing machine. I heard the kids wake up but ignored them temporarily. Quick, long-stitch on the numbers so that they could be picked and removed later, I completed them. Dressed the kids, packed the car and made it to the party with 10 minutes to spare before the guests arrived. Here are the boys in their tops...
So what do I need to do next year to be more organized? 1. Don't get sick 2. Write more lists to remember stuff 3. Make boys birthday tops 1 week before 4. Have adequate medication on hand in case hubby gets man flu again x Tanya

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Moved by Fabric ~ French Journal Collection by London Portfolio

Whilst we are on the subject of fabric, I thought I would blog about this particular one.'French Journal Collection by London Portfolio for Michael Miller. It is a fabric that I have seen about the traps for a while and admired. I finally bought some of it. I tend to find that my creations that transpire are motivated by the fabric. Right from the initial fabric choosing, if the fabric doesn't jump out and grab my attention, saying 'pick me, pick me', then it doesn't make the cut. It's an internal drive response choosing fabric. I actually feel and hear something in my gut say 'I have to have that one'. Anyyway, this beautiful fabric has that effect on me and from what I have seen by other talented ladies, it has this effect on others too. I am looking forward to making with it. Like my books, I often put a fabric on the shelf and gaze and consider it for a while until I feel moved to work with it. I am looking forward to my creative dance with this particular fabric :)

Adorable fabric from the 70's...we think?

L@@k what my gorgeous friend Nikola gave to me today! Her mother-in-law was having a clear out of her fabric stash and found this. How lovely of my friend to think to give it to me...awwww :) We think it is from the 70's? Anybody else familiar with it? It's very cute and I have a few ideas brewing of how to put it to use! Anybody else see it being made into anything specific? x

See you on the other side: Old post from our old blog

I promised to post up this old post from our previous blog page. Here it is... 'For most new mothers in the throes of sleep deprivation and milk depleting brain fog, our true personality and attributes and natural energy becomes dormant. It is only after a substantial amount of liberating space ('me time') and SLEEP, do we start to get glimmers of our old self again...well, that's my excuse and I am sticking to it! My expectations of myself seem to never be met these days. I think I can juggle things like I used to however the constant interruption to my brains focus on a task and the relentless pulling at my thought stream by my 3 boys, brings me to my knees some days. It has been that long now since I worked full-time and made snappy, quick dialogue and decisions, that I am starting to question whether I have truly lost those skills rather than them laying dormant somewhere in my brain mush. Some say it comes back, others say it never returns. I guess I have to leave it for 'time-will-tell', as nothing I can do now seems to be able to engage the 'old me' back in the domestic picture for sustainable periods. Anyhoo, I decided to demonstrate some self kindness and not make too many demands of myself this week. After a week of gastro, then a stint in A &E with little bear 3 obtaining stitches for his split forehead (incurred whilst I was sitting at the sewing machine), the ever constant need to remain vigilant around my teenager and the demands of a clingy 18 mth old...sigh*** I have come to the realization that I don't have to be superwoman. I am doing enough. I can't take on her job as well! It is okay that at mothers group I dribble nonsensical (is that a word?) conversation and make reference to "that 'thing' that makes those 'things' do 'things". The other mother's all seem to know what I mean. It's okay that I refused to do something for someone this week as I think I would have dropped my unbalanced bundle I am currently carrying, had I added that task as well. It's...just OK. My brain will return...one day. It will bring with it, my funny, witty personality and intelligent conversation, as well as my ability to focus and achieve well on all tasks as I multi them. My abundant energy and get-up-and-go (mmm...I may not come back...) will bounce back and I will take the time and care, to concern myself with how I have put myself together before I head out the door. That's something to look forward to. Isn't it? In the meantime, I will enjoy my vacantness (that has to be a word. spell check seems not to think so) and I will practice confidently on the real estate man with the sexy voice when he rings and bring myself together for a whole uninterrupted minute and grace him with my stunning ability to converse and sound efficient and in control and as somebody who KNOWS what they are talking about. It feels good for that fleeting moment when I hang up from that call, that I have convinced someone that I am competent. That is, until I turn around and see breakfast still on the floor near the highchair, dirty dishes in the sink, my unwashed face in the mirror and loads of washing in the laundry...there is always tomorrow to get on top it all' Anyone else feel like this, or am I alone here?

Have my children made my brain disappear forever??

Whilst sitting here at the computer enjoying the enjoyment-after-glow of announcing the winner of our 1000th liker on facebook competition, my two year old has just run inside with his brothers pj top in hand, soaking wet and covered in mud and possibly poo. He has just tried to put the top in the washing machine. I go to offer to help him, when I notice poo smeared down his inner thigh and possibly not-just mud on his fingers. I grab his hand and lead him back into the laundry where I see his attempt at entering his brothers pj top into the washing machine. Mud all over his little plastic seat, up the side of the washing machine, along the wall by the laundry sliding door and across the floor. We by-pass the washing machine to the back lawn. Turning the hose back on for him, I request he moves into the wide legged stance, bed-over-for-bum-washing-via-hose-nozzle-method, to which he agreeably adopts. Heavy nappy drops easily to the ground. With a quick glance at nappy contents and fleeting thoughts of his overall health based on his bum contents, we get on with the job at hand. Flat fingered approach up the bum crack with the assistance of gushing water and his bottom and legs are clean within seconds. Nappy disposed of, pj top washed off and slung on the line, I yell orders for his older brother 4, to tidy up the lounge as we are 'off to playgroup'. A quick assessment of the fact that I am not completely dressed and neither are the two little one's and the fact that I am still ensconced in the topic on my computer screen...I accept that we will be late for playgroup...once again. This reminded me of an earlier blog post I wrote on our old blog. I have copied it here as I feel there maybe quite a few of you can identify with the sentiments expressed. Will post it as a separate post as the link won't work :(

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Drawing the Winner of a $30 Voucher in celebration of reaching 1000 lovely Likers

In celebration of reaching 1000 awesome, lovely liker's, Bubble & Bear will be giving away a $30 Voucher (to be spent in store). To be in the draw, locate the $30 Teddy bear Voucher in our facebook photo albums, tag it and say which creation is your favorite and why. The winner will be drawn this evening via Random.org. Share. Share. Share! Thanks!
x Bubble & Bear

Sunday, March 11, 2012

First Markets Mayhem...a comedy of errors!

WOWSER'S, what an experience...our first ever Markets. A comedy of errors lol! Firstly, my alarm didn't go off because it is stupid and only works if you leave it on through the night, radiating your head beside your bed and dwindling the battery down at the same time. So I left home without any breakfast or my morning cuppa. Once at the markets, the hive of activity and excitement was palpable. I carried my display ladder and seat twice around the winery where the markets are held. I was looking for my friend who I was sharing a stall with. She makes Japanese 'House Slippers' and also cuts hair. I couldn't find her. I had left my car near the entrance and other vehicles were jostling for position around it to set up their stalls. I found the manager and he said that my friend was waiting over the other side of the winery until he had worked out where we would be. Fortunately, some lovely stall holders were happy to watch my gear as I traipsed after the Markets Manager and went looking for my friend. She had booked a gazebo for us, however after chasing after the manager again, we learn't that there were no gazebo's left! This was not what we wanted to hear given that Perth was forecast for a 40 degree day! Anyway, we continued to hassle the manager (as did a few others) and he said that we could set up under a tree.
Initially we thought it could work and felt it was well positioned. Once set up however, we quickly realized that with the way the sun was rising we would never get shade. The next hour was spent relocating nearby tables, chairs and umbrella's to try and increase our shade. In the meantime, my poor friends mirror slid off the table top she had set up and shattered all over the floor! Well, the response from the other stallholders was just amazing. The profiterole man brought over his bin, another lady came over to help us clean up, another lady brought over her dust pan brush and another kindly offered the use of her mirror. My friend rang her boyfriend and got him to drop down their other mirror from home, which also fell over and shattered! We refused to believe the old adage about broken mirrors and bad luck! After a time, and feeling quite hot, we realized that we were out of the loop stuck in the middle near the food and that people were following the line of gazebos but not to us. Also, I was starting to get concerned about the intense sun shining on my products. So we hatched a plan to chat to two stall holders who had a spare bay between them which was located under some shady trees. Understandably, they were a bit tentative about our request to set up next to them as they didnt want their customers to be prevented from walking around the side of the tables to view their wares. However, they were very kind and agreed to let us move in next to them. We had to leave my friends hairdressing chair and table set up under the tree as it was plugged into power. So my friend sat over by the tree and I over in my new location. I had to place my table long ways though, so that people could access the bays next to me. After a time, my friend became obscured by a guitar player and I suggested she relocate her sign over to my table and for the rest of the morning people asked if I cut hair! I constantly redirected them over to my friend under the tree.
As you may have deduced, it was a rather messy first markets morning, however it was a terrific learning experience. I was so warmed by the offer of tips and welcome advice from the seasoned market stall owners. They were so warm and welcoming and it was a lovely feeling of community to be alongside them.
Will we be back? For sure!! I met some other really nice stall holders and it was great to share their passion about making handmade. Here are a few pics from the morning.
Anyone else have any first markets tales to share? Would love to hear them
x B & B

Saturday, March 10, 2012

In control of my day????

I am desperately trying to prepare for our first ever market tomorrow and feeling rather sleep deprived at the same time. There are 3 active boys in this household and some days I feel like my day just 'happens to me' rather than me 'making my day happen'. Anyone relate? I think whilst you have little one's, everything has to revolve around them and they make themselves your priority. Sometimes I have to just take a deep breath and just 'go with the flow'...sigh* x B& B

Friday, March 9, 2012

How is this for a work area setup? I would love it however, would probably want all the drawers to be multi coloured to make it a bit more inspiring to work in. What do people think? https://www.facebook.com/bubbleandbear?ref=tn_tnmn

It's all in a name! Our new wooden bear buttons :)

What do you think of our new teddy bear buttons? We love them! Will probably put them on older children's clothing & stuffed toys...they will look SO cute! :)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Fabric Rolled Rosettes

I have posted this before on our old blog. It received quite a few comments from people who found it helpful, so I have repeated it here on our new blog page. Enjoy! So I decided to have a go at making these rolled Rosettes. I am making myself a hand bag and am thinking I will attach some of these rosettes to it. This is what I did. I cut out some of the fabric that my bag will be made out of, cutting them into 2.5cm x 30.5cm strips (no need to edge them which I love!) Then I tied a knot at one end of the strip and then with craft glue at hand, twisted and rolled the fabric around the knot, applying glue intermittently to secure the twisted fabric. I then applied a bit of glue on the back of the rosette for the final couple of cm's of fabric and Voila! I love them and think they will look great on my bag. I will probably use the hot glue gun as well as a bit of hand stitching to secure them to the bag. You can roll longer lengths of fabric to make bigger rosettes. TIP: A solid coloured fabric will give more colour and brightness as printed fabric will expose the wrong, dull side of the fabric when you twist the material. B & B

Our First Market!

* We have decided to do our first Market debut...excited, nervous, happy...all of the above :) Where: Palmer Winery Dunsborough WA. Please come down and see us this Sunday 7am to 12pm. x Bubble & Bear

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Upcycling Vintage Chenille!

These are just some of the Vintage Chenille pieces that have just arrived in the post today. At first I thought I might incorporate some bright, white (new) flannelettes and combine them to make myself a lovely lap quilt. However, my most recent thought is to use them in appliques on Tops and Toys. What do you think? Best use of up cycling Vintage Chenille? Would love to hear your ideas! x Mrs Bear

Friday, February 10, 2012

An Ode to Women Who Have Experienced Breast Cancer

I have just discovered this gorgeous fabric by Loralie Designs. It is in celebration of all women who have survived breast cancer. It is close to my heart having had my mother lose a breast to cancer as well as friends. I am 'playing' with some appliques with the panel on one of my favorite stretchy long sleeved black tops. I will wear this with pride and in honour of all those beautiful women. ♥

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Welcome to Bubble & bear's NEW Blog Page :)

Bubble & Bear came into creation in 2011 primarily on Facebook. Bubble & Bear are the nickname's of my god daughter & my youngest son. It seemed fitting that my love for sewing and my creations should come under the banner of a 'name of love'. Fabric, notions, kids, toys, bright & funky colours & accessories are our inspiration. Gorgeous playthings, decor & clothing can make you feel happy or at peace. Bubble & Bear's creations do just that! Please come along on our blog and journey with us. :)