365 Grateful (June 2014)

little minx #365 Grateful - June 2014 - library adventures

library adventures – time for a new book! Love these moments x

little minx #365Grateful - June 2014 - Mia's Popcorn

‘Mias popcorn. do not eat. has germs’ about sums up the sickness passing through the house. humour, however, unaffected it seems

little minx #365Grateful - June 2014 - complete happiness

complete happiness – carrot cake, coffee, and a good book at my favourite cafe

little minx #365Grateful - June 2014 - live theatre love

live theatre love x

little minx #365Grateful - June 2014 - I'm on top of the world!

“take a photo of me, I’m on top of the world” A day with Mia & her best friend

little minx #365 Grateful - June 2014 - Brian Brakes camera

this moves me so much – Brian Brakes camera

Looking over last months #365Grateful it seems that, although busy, this month doesn’t seem much different from the last… hmmm… I think  I need to figure out moments to breath, or I need to join the #slowliving movement. Although I would probably end up having to face facts that slow living would never work for me with my busy family and lists of to-do’s, but it’s a nice thought. If you are on Instagram you can follow me here.

We are having quite the impressive polar blast here – flurries of snow and gorgeous moody colours everywhere you look. The kids, as always, are hopeful for a decent snow dump that could lead to a day of snow play, and a day off school. I am hoping that won’t happen so I can get to working on my Crafty Freaks project #2… it’s very hard to pick with so many ideas swirling around in my head that I want to try. Better decide quickly – it’s due this Friday!

Keep warm everyone,

Joanna x


Lens on the World

Otago Museum Cafe - winter day in Dunedin

Otago Museum - Mia in the Brian Brake exhibition

Brian Brake's Leica

Move. As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean, or simply across the river. Walk in someone else’s shoes, or at least eat their food. Open your mind, get up off the couch, move”

Have you seen the movie The Secret Life of Walter Mitty? It’s such a wonderful film, full of beautiful scenery, gorgeous colours, fabulous graphics, and an inspiring message. When we watched it here the first thing I said when it finished was I loved that. Today Mia and I spent some time together at the Otago Museum, and went to the Brian Brake exhibition Lens on The WorldHis work is so stunning, he had such a unique style of photography, and such a modern and adventurous take on his art, but what I found really interesting was how his life panned out. It was full of chances, leaps of faith, and what was clearly a strong desire to live a life as he wanted to. He travelled extensively, doing amazing photography assignments all over the world, and largely for Life Magazine – the magazine The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is based around. One story had Brake asking Life if he could fly to a remote part of England if it happened to snow, to catch a glimpse of what life would be like for a lonely Roman Centurion. He bugged Life so much about it that they eventually sent him a message that read “if it snows then go Brian”. He did – he flew by jet, then caught a helicopter, at the cost to the magazine of $5000, but he got his shot. That was 1965. The more we wandered the exhibition and read the stories, the clearer the parallels between Brake and Walter Mitty character Sean O’Connell – to the point where I wondered if this character was based on Brake. Maybe it was, or maybe this is just what life as a photo journalist is.

Of late I have been working a lot of days, with very long hours (hence the quiet on the blog), and this tends to mean I drive the same circular route day after day, with the same views and same experiences. It can get a little dull, I start to crave for the time to climb a hill. Then I read the quote above from Anthony Bourdain, and as I wandered slowly around the exhibition it occurred to me that today I have managed to move.


Crafty Freaks #1

Crafty Freaks # 1 little minx fabric dying

Crafty Freaks #1 - little minx hand dyed Tote Bag

Right – so here is my first submission for Crafty Freaks, I’m a little bit excited! Here is my story – every time I go to Typo I opt to buy one of their calico bags, and every time I get home from Typo someone takes my bag and I never see it again. Well that’s not wholly true – I see it again when it falls apart from use and love, and I get to re-make it. So I thought for my first Crafty Freaks project it was time I cut out the middle man and made myself some darn-toting bags! I blended this idea with my long wish to dabble with fabric printing, and my absolute love of the simplicity of handmade stampers such as potato prints.

Crafty Freaks #1 - little minx hand dyed Tote Bag 2


And this is the outcome. As you can see I have a bit of an obsession with cross shapes, and at the last minute decided I would also try some dip-dying with the fabric which has taken up my evenings for most of the week. What went right? I am loving the softly hand-stamped uniqueness of this. What went wrong – I love the idea of hand painted words, but it would seem that I do not posess that particular skill.

Crafty Freaks #1 - little minx hand-dyed Tote Bag

You can see some of the other joiners on the Pinterest Board here. Want to join? Please do! Easy submission right here.

Joanna x



Fashion – 1960s – for children

Fashion - 1960s Childrens Sewing Patterns 1965 & 1967

Fashion - 1960s Childrens Sewing Patterns - 1968 & 1969

Fashion - 1960s Childrens Sewing Patterns - 1961

Fashion - 1960s Childrens Sewing Patterns - 1968

Today I was flicking through my pattern collection trying to find a pattern for a friend, and got completely sidetracked by my rather vast Vintage selection. There is something so very poignant about sewing patterns. They are, in a way, the visible memory of what we were trying to be in the world – and Vintage ones give us a view into a reality not provided by internet searches or books. This is what people actually wanted to make and wear, to emulate and be. I completely adore them – I can stare at them for a long period of time, my imagination running wild with thoughts of what it was really like back then. I certainly adore shows like Mad Men and Boardwalk Empire for the beautifully curated glimpse into era’s past (they both rate 8.7 out of 10 on IMDB, so clearly I’m not the only one) So I thought I would start something I have been meaning to start for a while, and that is to share these gorgeous glimpses of life and design with you all, starting in the 1960s. Don’t you just love these? Look at the colours and patterns children wore! I lined all of these up and noticed a prevalence of deep blues paired with mustards – my current colour obsession. The idea seems to have been to dress children to look very smart – even the beachwear has optional pairing options. And yes, that Maudella pattern (still in it’s plastic bag) is not only from July 1961 (according to the stamp) but is a pattern for a “School Dress”

Tomrrow is the unveiling of the first Crafty FreaksI’m so excited! I’ve spent all day humming along with my project, doing something new, and I’ve been in seventh heaven. Can’t wait to see what the other joiners have been up to!

Joanna x

right now

right now 1 - new little minx cushions as a midwinter gift

right now 2 - it's a little gray and hazy outside

right now 3 - the newest family members - wee cuties

Right now – we are having a slow day. It is gray and hazy outside, true winter weather, and we have been lazing around eating eggs on toast, drinking tea, watching Sunday morning tv and reading blogs. It is late morning and we are still in our PJs, and that’s quite fine by me.

Right now – I can show you the cushions I made as a Midwinter Solstice gift for a family member. Based on this cushion I made for us a wee while back, with added red stitching detail as they have gorgeous red leather couches.  These cushions have been cat approved.

Right now – something happened the other day when I saw this image on Pinterest, one of those lightbulb moments. I thought what if we pushed our dining table up against the window, and once I tried this and liked it several more items were moved around in the room, one item was removed, and voila, suddenly everything fell into place. I don’t know if you have this issue with your home, but I have been moving things around in our small lounge/dining room for the past 5 years, each time getting it a little closer to right, but not quite there. Much to the chagrin of my husband I have bought things, removed things, and replaced them with something else, always feeling like I am nearly there but it’s not quite working. Thanks to a little movement the other day, and a rather wonderful Trade Me purchase that I am going to jazz up, I can honestly say I think I’m nearly there! That’s super exciting – so Mia and I picked two new Wee Cuties houseplants for our table, which we rather adore. It’s funny what a difference a small thing can make in a room.

Right now – I am admiring some of the talented and creative woman who have joined Crafty Freaks and are really stretching those creative muscles. I can’t wait for the first reveal this coming Friday. I am not as organised as some around me, but I am getting there. You can still join should you wish to – you don’t need to make 26 projects, the idea is to challenge yourself to try some of those things that you want to create simply because you want to! 

What are you up to right now?

merry in many ways

Purakaunui Midwinter Solstice - winter light

Purakaunui Midwinter Solstice - fallen leaves

Purakaunui Midwinter Solstice - treasure hunt

Purakaunui Midwinter Solstice - early Daffodils

Purakaunui Midwinter Solstice - Purakaunui inlet

Sunday was our yearly family Midwinter Solstice gathering at Purakaunui. It’s such a beautiful time of year there – the winter light is just lovely, casting long hazy shadows across the property. There are a lot of deciduous trees there, and they make for the most delightful skyline, bare branches reaching for the sky. As always, the most wonderful afternoon spent catching up with family, eating, drinking lovely wine, and just enjoying the atmosphere.

On a crafty note – have you joined Crafty Freaks yet? There are quite a few joiners – yay! That’s very exciting indeed! I have had a few emails & messages asking whether people can join later on, and also whether people can join but perhaps not complete something every second week – and the answer to both questions is a resounding yes! The whole idea of Crafty Freaks is to let your craft loose and do something you want to do, not something off that list that never gets any shorter. So join, get involved, and make sure that the only limitation you have is you. If you are looking for starter ideas you could..

  • head to your library and get out some of those fantastic craft books – a few of my favourites are Scandanavian Stitches by Kasja Wikman, Find and Keep by Beci Orpin, and Sweet and Simple Handmade by Melissa Wastney
  • get online – this is where we all admit we are complete Pinterest freaks (well I am). Wander around crafty ideas, pin a few, have a look back over your board and get excited by the possibilities. Here is my making board - Get Ya Craft On (did you see that raindrop cushion? Super cute!)
  • have a heads down/bums up ideas smashing session. I did this last week with my friend Natalie – we set the timer for 10 minutes and wrote as many ideas as we could think of. I liked it so much I’m going to do it once a week You could pull an idea off this list, or you could not…. totally up to you.

Mostly I think the most important thing is to start – I plan to make 26 projects, but you don’t need to, you can just make what you want as you wish. I hope you will join us. And if you really like the idea, please tell your friends – the more the merrier.

Joanna x

Hey Crafty Freaks!

Crafty freaks - my pile of delicious crafty inspiration

Crafty freaks - my first Crafty Freak project is plotted and planned

I’m bored. I’m bored of what I’m making, I’m bored of my same old piles of fabric, I’m bored of my to-do lists, I need a good old fashioned kick in the butt! Boredom in itself leads to lack of creativity, apathy, and an odd blank stare. I’ve hardly made anything over the past 18 months, life has been in a constant pattern of change from my hospitalisation with a ruptured appendix last year through to Simon’s recent knee surgery. Things have not been very “normal” BUT there is a light at the end of the tunnel – my working hours are settling into more of a pattern that will allow me more day time to make, and as I see this develop I also see the possibilities this brings. I have been listening to a lot of podcasts of late, and one of my absolute favourites is this series from Elise Blaha Cripe – it deals with being a creative small business, inspiration, and how to be you in this busy world. One thing that I noticed on Elise’s Blog was that she constantly set herself challenges – see 40 Loaves or Project Life - which is something I have tried on numerous occasions with varying results. It takes stickability to complete a project – I thought to myself – maybe I just don’t have any. Then I had a lightbulb moment – Elise was talking creativity styles with another crafter and she mentioned that her style of creativity is to start things, and that after that she often gets bored. Ding ding ding in my head – it had never occurred to me that it was ok to define myself as a starter. I get bogged down with my to-do lists, and my ideas and designs get buried under the constant list of things I feel I need to complete first. What I like is to do new things, what I don’t do enough of is new things.

This ding-ding moment lead to the next ding-ding moment which literally poured itself forth once I had released myself from the guilt of being a starter and embraced this ‘flaw’ – how about a challenge that is completely and utterly about starting things? And that’s the idea – for the next year I am going to complete 26 new projects, one every two weeks, and each and every one is going to be something new and different, and something I want to make just because I want to make it! No lists, no pressure, no reason other than because that’s what I feel like making. And I can tell you that the moment I had this realisation and this idea I had such a huge sense of excitement, energy, and enthusiasm – oh the possibilities! 26 new things, challenging my ideas of what I feel comfortable working with, trialling new things without worrying about other things I ‘should be’ doing, and getting some of those many ideas actioned.

And this is where you come in… want to join in? The more the merrier! How about a challenge that is really only about stretching your creative nouse, giving you some leg room, and letting you pull some of those projects off Pinterest? Sounds kinda tempting huh? You don’t need to have a blog, you just need to want to be involved. See that new Tab up there on the right of my blog – the one labelled Crafty Freaks – well that’s there to showcase all our fabulous new projects. Every second week I will blog my latest creation, along with links and pictures (as applicable) to all your wonderful projects. And that’s not all – I have created a special Pinterest Board just to share all our wonderful pieces with the world.  Come on, get in there!

Challenge yourself – make something YOU WANT TO MAKE – 26 brand new projects this year, every second week, just because YOU want to. Unleash that Crafty Freak! #52weeksforcraftyfreaks


Head on over to the Crafty Freaks page for the Rules and Guidelines – or if you have any queries please feel free to email me direct at littleminxshop@yahoo.com