Friday, 29 August 2014

Materials and Techniques: Kathryn's Creations

Oh what a lot of talented people there are out there in the world. Each fortnight I talk to another creator about what they make and the way that they make it. Today I am talking to Kathryn from Queensland who makes clothing in her store Kathryn's Creations.

Please tell us a little about yourself.
I'm Kathryn from Kathryn's Creations. I am a mum to 3 young boys, Jack, Mason and Harry. I am married to a wonderful man who works as a nurse in aged care, a very special profession I feel. I love being able to go to school and kindy and help in the classrooms each week, having my own little business allows me this privilege. I not only love to sew, but I love to bake as well. Makes me sound very domesticated, however I don't like to clean! I'd much rather be sewing or cooking -  just ask my hubby!

I make baby and children's clothing and have just started a range of maternity wear. I love being able to create beautiful but affordable clothing for people on all budgets. I sell online and also love heading out to local markets to meet and chat to customers in person.

What materials and techniques do you like to use?

My most commonly used fabrics are cottons, they are so lovely and easy to sew and for customers to care for. The choice is just unending! I also enjoy adding tulle ruffles or lace and other trimmings to add that little something extra to my items. I do a lot of appliques on singlets, t-shirts and overalls and dresses. I love how a plain piece of fabric can be made alive with a colourful caterpillar or other little applique. You will find lots of little bows on my items for girls, I just think they add that little extra touch to a special outfit. As for techniques, I do a lot of rolled hems on my ruffle nappy covers, so my overlocker gets lots of work! I have also just discovered the joys of a ruffle foot - my goodness it saves me a lot of time!

What challenges have you faced in the creative process?

My biggest challenge has been when I've wanted to expand my range so that it reaches more than people just with babies in their lives. Gradually I've been adding to my sizes, so I now make up to size 4, although my most popular sizes are 0000 - 2. I've also added some maternity clothes after discussions with friends and customers about the lack of pretty maternity clothes that don't cost a fortune. This will be expanding into feeding tops as well in the near future.  I would say, it's a bit of trial and error. I tried making baby blankets, cloth wipes and bibs, but found that I don't enjoy making them as much as clothing, and I also don't sell them as much or as easily as I do my clothing range. So I have decided to stick with clothing, but expand sizes and the maternity range. Try to think outside the box sometimes, and don't hesitate to ask your customers or friends what they think or what they would like you to do. It doesn't mean you have to do what they say, but it gives you some ideas.

What drives you to create?
I just love to sew! I love looking at fabric and thinking about what I could make with that particular piece. I also love when people look at my stuff at markets and comment on how lovely it is and how talented I am, it does give me a little boost of confidence. My inspiration is the fact that I have 3 boys and we have a very tight budget, so I want to make pretty and unique things for people so that pretty much everyone can afford them. I do have some jackets on the pricier end, but my singlets start at $5, making them a cheap but pretty little gift for someone.

What is coming up next?
Well, at this point in time, our family is preparing to move from Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast for a short time to live with my mum and grandparents - 4 generations under one roof! We are saving for our own house, which is daunting and exciting! But, my mum is a dressmaker, so I will have her on hand during my busy Christmas period, which will be wonderful! Once we are at the coast, I'd like to look into having some of my items in a little boutique store that are scattered around the coast, just another way of getting my name out there. 
Kathryn's Creations Madeit
Kathryn's Creations Facebook
Kathryn's Creations Instagram
Kathryn's Creations Pinterest
Kathyrn's Creations Twitter

All images provided by Kathryn of Kathryn's Creations.

So many more materials and techniques interviews to read. Want to share your story? Get in contact.

Month In The Life Week 4

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Dining Room Finished

Hurrah! The dining room is finished!


And after:

Keep up with the history of our house renovations.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Preschooler Play: Delay Of Gratification

My husband and I love watching the Life series on ABC about how you give a child the best chance in life.

Recently, I tried out a couple of the experiments from the life lab on Miss 3 (I know, I experiment on children! I videoed her doing it too!). One was the delay of gratification test. In this test, originally conducted at Stanford in the 1960s and 70s, she was given one chocolate. If she wanted, she could eat it straight away, but if she could wait alone in the room with the chocolate until the end of an egg timer, she was rewarded with three chocolates in its place.

Could she do it?

Yes! What a champion, Miss 3 at 3 years and 7 months has excellent self control! She studied the timer very diligently and patiently until time was up and was rewarded with all three chocolates! In the original experiment, the researchers found that children who were able to wait longer for the rewards had better life outcomes in general, so hooray.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Month In The Life Week 2

Materials and Techniques: Redressd

It's great fun finding out all about the different crafts out there in the world. Each fortnight I speak to a different designer about the materials and techniques that they use in the creation of their products. Today I am right in my very own backyard, speaking to Nicole from Blackburn in Melbourne, Victoria. She makes gorgeous women's clothing for her store Redressd.

Please tell us a little about yourself.

Hi, my name is Nicole and I started my business Redressd in 2006 after I had my boys who are now 10 and 13. I remember my first market in Camberwell in the January, it was so hot my shoes were melting on the bitumen. My designs then were a vintage fabric nappy bag and a simple wrap skirt with a vintage panel which I still made to this day. After receiving great feedback, I branched out into other local markets including Warrandyte, St Andrews, The Botanical Gardens, The Sisters Market, The Makers Market at The Abbotsford Convent and supported many school fund raisers including Tarlaye (which I still do after 8 years). My fabulous mum helped me at all these markets!

I learnt to sew and make patterns at school in the 80’s and started making my own clothes when my mum gave me her sewing machine at age 14. I would copy the latest out of magazines. My Nan always had beautiful ball gowns, tins of buttons and drawers of silk scarves that I played with when I was little. I studied and worked as a Special Education Teacher and now feel very lucky to work full time on my creative passion. Redressd is run from my home studio in Blackburn, Melbourne. I draft the patterns and sew all the garments all myself. I sell my products online through a great Australian site called Madeit and through independent shops. I was very excited when The Cat's Meow wanted to stock my designs in 2007.  These shops currently include The Cat's Meow, Inspirasia, The Crafty Fox and Little Wing Clothing.

What materials and techniques do you like to use? 

I am always on the hunt for unusual fabrics and love to mix different fabrics together which makes it fun and interesting to work with. This also creates challenges with fit and care for the garment. I have to test and wash all fabrics before I cut them out and adjust patterns to fit as some have stretch and others don’t, some are vintage or remnant and don’t come with a care tag and colours can run or fabrics can shrink. All these issues have to be controlled before the final product hit the shops. But who doesn’t love a challenge, it makes every creation more interesting and I beam with pride when I send off a package.
What challenges have you faced in the creative process?

It is trial and error and I make everything for myself to wear and test out beforehand, parading around the house, seeking input from the men in the house. They find it amusing as most times I ignore their advice and do what I originally thought. I take great pride in my sewing and like everything to be perfect and my garments last for many years.

What drives you to create?

I love it when my friends as well as people I don’t know stop me in the street and ask "Where did you get that gorgeous dress?" I love saying “I made it!" My customers tell me whenever they wear one of my dresses or skirts they always get compliments. This keeps me motivated and always on the lookout for new and different fabrics and creating patterns that will fit all shapes and sizes.
What is coming up next?

In the future I would love to find more independent stockists throughout Australia to sell my clothes.

All images supplied by Nicole of Redressd.

I have lots of other lovely materials and techniques interviews for you to catch up on. Would you like to share your story? Leave me a comment.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Still Going

I don't even have words to explain how annoying it is to be still attempting to fix the leaking shower that was installed in May 2013. Sigh... If I wanted it to leak, I wouldn't have hired professionals to do it.

You can follow the history of the house renovations here.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Preschooler Cooking: Pikelets

I share quite a few recipes for cooking with children here and here, but most of the recipes are sweet foods. We do actually cook savoury food in my house as well, so today I'm sharing a very simple recipe for pikelets.

Get your little one to put 1 cup of self-raising flour in a bowl. Whisk in 3/4 a cup of milk and one egg, until smooth. Melt butter in a fry pan and then drop in tablespoon-fulls of batter. Cook until bubbles appear on the surface, then flip and cook until both sides are golden.

Too easy!

When these are done, top with cheese and Miss 3's favourite at the moment, grated carrot (she has it on everything). Or mix grated vegetables through the batter. Yum.

Read up on more activities for children.

Friday, 1 August 2014

3 Years On Madeit

Materials and Techniques: Made By LT

There are lots of talented artists out in the handmade community. Every fortnight I talk to a different designer about how they make their pieces. Today I am talking to Lisa from Melbourne, Victoria. She hand paints and decorates jars and bottles for storage and display. The colours are so fantastic! Her store is Made by LT and she is a fellow member of Handmade Cooperative.

Please tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Lisa Trovato and I am the owner of Made by LT. I am by profession a Child and Adolescent Psychologist but have taken some time out to raise my son Connor who is six years old and my daughter Isabella who is 18 months old. I am married to a lovely Dutch man, Rudi, and we live happily in Donvale, Victoria. I have always been interested in creating things and throughout my youth dabbled here and there. Prior to having children I painted abstracts using oils on canvas, many of which are still hanging on our walls at home. I love expressing myself through colour and I think a splash of colour goes a long way! 
Made by LT was born after many months of experimenting, researching, dreaming, obsessing and chatting to people. I decided to let my creative side come to the forefront (instead of my analytical side!), and  'Wild Jars' are my current featured product. 'Wild jars' are for functional use and display, made especially for those that don't want "run of the mill" pieces. I also create hand painted and distressed Mason 'Ball' vases and bottles. This is just the start of things to come as my head is full of designs and concepts. For me it is all about producing quirky pieces of art that are enjoyed, functional and get people talking.

 What materials and techniques do you like to use?

My passion at the moment are my 'Wild Jars' - handcrafted for bits and bobs! They are animal topped trinket/storage/display vessels if you like. The glass jars are genuine 'Ball' Mason jars imported from the USA. I love the intricate details on these jars, close up the jars are really quite beautiful. I add a gorgeous animal painted in a knockout colour to create a unique functional piece of art sure to get people talking. I  also hand-paint and distress reclaimed bottles and Mason jars (made into vases).

What challenges have you faced in the creative process?

A big learning curve was the technical side of things: What paint actually adheres to glass (not many by the way!). Challenges have been many from paint that just doesn't cure or adhere to turning up to school pickup with spray paint on my eyelashes! As a lot of my work involves using an enamel based paint, I have to work outdoors, luckily my workspace is a large covered balcony but is is still cold in winter!
The other challenge was finding a wholesaler of the genuine 'Ball' Mason Jars. Luckily I found one prepared to give me samples to practice on, advice on 'what is selling', tips on how to package fragile goods and encouragement that what I was making was actually pretty good.  

The creative process involves a lot of trial and error, if something doesn't work the first time, sleep on it and try another day. Don't over analyse or complicate things. Don't give up no matter how many emails or phone messages you never get a reply to. Most importantly believe in yourself and your product, be patient and if you are having fun keep doing it!
So my motto would be "Keep trying, keep it simple, keep having fun and laugh at problems"

What drives you to create

I go to bed with thoughts of what I want to create, I dream about it and then I set about making it a reality. I am slightly obsessive in this way. I am just starting out in terms of selling my product (instead of making them for friends!) but have decided to throw caution to the wind and pursue something that challenges me and brings me happiness. I believe being creative is good for the soul.

What is coming up next?

I am aiming to get my work out there so to speak. I can really see my products working well in styled photos of interiors (children's bedrooms for the 'Wild Jars', living spaces for the painted bottles and vases) so that is my next mission, to make that happen. I hope also to keep expanding my line with quirky unique products.
All images provided by Lisa of Made by LT.

Enjoyed that? Read more Materials and Techniques interviews. If you'd like to contribute your store, leave your link in the comments.