Grace Designs is one of my fantastic blog sponsors, so I thought I’d have her give a little introduction!
A love for sewing, feathers, flowers, vintage and sparkly things led to the launch of Grace Designs!
I have had a long love affair with flowers that was nurtured in my first career as a florist, apart from pre-made millinery flowers, each petal in my flowers are hand-cut and sewn to make beautiful unique blossoms. I also shape my flowers using traditional millinery tools and techniques. Many of my designs are made from re-purposed bridal fabric off cuts. I’m partial to a bit of sparkle and include it where ever I can!
Inspiration is found in old movies, fresh flowers and vintage accessories. There is nothing more satisfying than turning a piece of fabric into something fabulous!
I like to keep my designs fresh and experiment with different techniques. I am constantly dreaming up pretty things and my workroom is my dining room when my babes are sleeping! Wooden spindles, glass bottles and hat blocks fill empty spaces with beautiful hair accessories ready for a new home.
xox Amanda| 1 CommentPermalink
The last few weeks have been pretty hard. Not for any specific reason, just the usual awful old depression falling on me and dragging me under. No matter how hard I struggle to push through, it sucks me back down and I drown in the darkness. It’s so hard to try and explain to others what it’s like and why I can’t just get happy. How do you explain that even though in your head you know everything is going to be okay, know that you care, at the same time you just don’t care? Feel like you can’t care anymore? That talking to people, putting on a nice face, takes so much energy that afterwards I’m so flat and exhausted it’s all I can do not to crawl into bed and hide there for hours. On the worst days I can’t even manage a smile, I feel like I just shut down and just… can’t. There is nothing left and I just can’t do it. And even that is putting a happier face on it.
I know the photos have nothing to do with what I’ve written… but that’s partly how I deal with this. I take pretty photos and try to make life pretty and it’s a kind of therapy for me I suppose.
xox Amanda| 9 CommentsPermalink
Oh! Hello Summer, so nice to see you again.
Happy first day of summer!
xox Amanda| 8 CommentsPermalink
Two little knitted bears fresh off the needles. All that is missing now is their faces. For me the face details are one of the most important things to get right. Those details are what give them their character and personality and can completely change the way it looks. I agonised for ages before settling on the very simple embroidered face I used for my Briar Bunny pattern. I am leaning towards another very simplistic face, but I have a couple of other ideas I want to play with too.
I really love how they’ve turned out. I made many different arms and ears over the last week or so and only two nights ago finally came up with an arm that I was happy with. The bear is the perfect size for little hands to hold and I love his chubby tummy. I don’t know, this bear just makes me smile. Which I suppose is always a good thing when designing your own patterns, right? The pattern is finished too except for that one tiny (super important) detail of the faces.
I had barely sewn them together when the girls were wanting to whisk them out of my lap to play with. They don’t understand the concept of a sample knit and didn’t care at all that the little bears were missing their face details. I am pretty sure that means my little bear is a win, at least in their eyes. Zoe has requested I make her a rainbow bear next and I just might do that as part of her Christmas gifts.
Two little bears. Now what to name the pattern? Hmmm.
xox Amanda| 7 CommentsPermalink
I feel no shame in saying that I am excited because….. it’s only one month until Christmas! Yay! Finally I don’t feel like the aisles and aisles of decorations and Christmas music in the shops and decorations up allover the place is obnoxious and “way too early”. Now I’m ready and excited for the season. There is nothing like sharing Christmas celebrations and excitement with your own kids.
We have yet to put up our tree, but we’ve put up just a few decorations around the house so far and I’m looking forward to some time over the weekend to add more. We will probably make some of our own too… I am thinking maybe a bunting made of burlap with “Noel” or something similar painted on the little flags. That would be a simple project for the older two girls to handle. I am still dreaming of one day owning an Ostheimer Nativity scene (we don’t have a nativity scene at all… I’ve always been waiting for the “right one”) but this year is not the year for it sadly. Maybe I should just buy one piece each year until we have the collection.
We don’t go crazy with decorations at all, even though I kind of want to, because we’ve always had babies or toddlers in the house and delicate decorations or hands-off stuff doesn’t last long. Piper calls anything sparkly at the moment “Missmass!” and was so excited when we picked out a couple of new decorations yesterday.
Happy, giggly little Angel.
xox Amanda| 2 CommentsPermalink
Pretty things on another rainy Saturday. Little jars full of lovely woven ribbons and creamy cotton lace, and sweet wooden buttons just waiting for the right project to come along. Sometimes I just like to get them out and look at them.
A cutie on the front step with her favourite bunnies.
Cookies fresh from the oven, baked by Maddy.
And the sweetest wispy and rain-curly hair.
Happy Weekend friends!
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One little bear. Just a tiny bit different to last week, but again, behind the scenes has been a lot of re-knitting of pieces and changing my mind over and again on how I want this little guy to look. One of my knitting bags is entirely full up with bear bit and pieces in different yarns and colours because I’ve also been changing my mind on what yarn I want to use. Still not completely sure. I will probably make a bunch more bear bits and pieces before I am satisfied. Oh! And I suppose I should explain about the missing arms, right?
This afternoon while Piper was napping I was working on sewing the first sample bear together to see how he looked with everything attached. Well, of course Piper woke up a little early and saw him and instantly fell in love. I couldn’t get him away from her to attach the arms! Not complaining at all, I love when my kids love my knits. Makes my heart happy.
I thought I’d take some photos of the little bear in progress and Piper kept stealing him away! It was pretty adorable actually. Everytime I’d manage to get him back and put it down somewhere, Piper would sneak back in and grab him away again. She kept wanting to put him in her pram and go “shopping” haha.
Testing another one in this gorgeous alpaca/merino yarn. I used the same type of yarn for my Briar Bunny pattern and I just adore it. It’s soft and slightly fuzzy and super smooshy. Perfect.
I’m still not satisfied with the way the little bear is looking but it’s nice to know Piper loves him. She ran out of the studio holding him and pretty much didn’t put it down all afternoon.
P.s Don’t forget to enter the giveaway on last week’s knitting post!| 5 CommentsPermalink
A little faery play in the rain. Because, well, why not? Two weekends in a row now where my attempts to take some photographs have been rained-out, so once again I just went ahead and took some photos anyway. Today was a tiny bit cooler than last week though, so once we were done with the photos we grabbed hot chocolate at a cafe to warm us all up again.
My little rain faeries.
Love how curly their hair goes in the rain.
Watching “rain faeries” dancing on the river.
Do my photos look a bit wonky? I can’t tell.. I’m editing on my macbook and it has retina display which makes things look weird and oversharp to me. Let me know if they look “off” to you please?
xox Amanda| 9 CommentsPermalink
What do you do when you have a surplus of chicken eggs and over-ripe bananas? Well, you make banana bread of course! Mashing and mixing, measuring and pouring are all great skills for Zoe to practice so I have her do almost everything when it comes to simple baking like this. I use a basic recipe as my starting point we change it up a bit each time we make it. I use whatever we have on hand and sub-out ingredients for healthier options when I can. Typically I will replace the butter or oils with healthier oils (coconut or rice bran), cut the amount of sugar in half at least and use extra bananas and fruits and extra spices instead. Today I actually completely forgot to even add in the milk! The bread was a little denser than normal but apparently tasted fantastic anyway according to all of the kids and husband.
Mashing up a big bowl of bananas is a good way to get out your crazies.
Cracking the eggs requires intense concentration. I always have to make at least a double batch of anything we bake, and banana bread is no different, so there were plenty of eggs to be cracked and whisked up.
One of my favourite additions, frozen raspberries. Sooo delicious! I’m sure you could use fresh but I always have frozen ones in the freezer to use in smoothies so these were handy. Blueberries work great too.
Someone just couldn’t wait for the banana bread to cool down before she tested it out. Piper was soooo not impressed when I told her she had to wait for a few minutes.
Look at those lips! Kills me with cute.
Yum! The only hard part about making banana bread is resisting actually eating it up myself! It smelt soooo incredibly delicious. Banana bread is one of my favourites too so let me tell you it took a lot of self control haha.
Do you have a favourite banana bread recipe? I still have a ton of nearly over-ripe bananas (and fresh eggs daily!) so I’m always on the look out for a great recipe to try.
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I think I may have finally gotten my knitting mojo back. Last night, right after the kids were in bed, I hauled my knitting bag down and stared at it for a few moments. I wasn’t sure I could be bothered, wasn’t sure I wanted to even look at it let alone pick it up (and I haven’t, for over a week or more now) and then you know what? I pulled out the pieces of the thing I’m working on, got over my irritation at myself for not having it perfect the first time, and just… started knitting. To celebrate the return of my knitting mojo I’m holding a little giveaway for one of my newborn sets right at the end of the post.
Looks a little different to when I last showed them off. Although it doesn’t appear as though I’ve done that much, in reality I have. Most pieces get knit a few times until I figure out exactly how I want it to look and to make sure the numbers work. Not quite finished, but not too far from it either. Can you guess what this little one will be? I think the bodies look a little like teeth. I might have to fiddle a little and make a tooth fairy pillow too.
I also have a fun Ravelry coupon code to share with all you knitters out there! Have you heard of the “30 day project”? Every day this month one designer is sharing a coupon for 50% off one of their patterns. Score! This wednesday the 13th I will be the featured designer, and you can get a whopping 50% off my squishy love cowl pattern with the code “30dayproject”. Remember this code is only valid for Nov 13th. You can also check out the other amazing featured designers each day at In The Loop’s blog here.
And finally… the giveaway! How would you like to win one of my gorgeous newborn sets, consisting of a pair of hand knit shorties and matching flour sack hat? This set is knit with lusciously soft merino yarn in natural and is worth $70. This is the perfect set for photographer’s to add to their prop stash, or maybe you’re a pregnant mama and would like it as part of your little one’s coming home outfit. International readers welcome.
Have fun and good luck
xox Amanda| 45 CommentsPermalink