30 August 2011

Guest Post - A Creative Journey through PND

Today, we bring to you the first of a series of Guest posts from members of New Zealand Handmade. 

Prue of JAKOnappies shares with us her very personal journey of Post Natal Depression and how a creative venture helped in her recovery...

The public "official" story of JAKOnappies and More birth can be found on our homepage of our website. My little business was accidently conceived when I had my second child and wanted to give Modern Cloth Nappies a go. I was inhibited by the set up costs, and the few I bought didn't fit right, leaked or were difficult to do up. So what does a DIY NZ Mum do? She learns to make her own!

There was another side to the beginning of JAKOnappies and More. My second son Kodi arrived when Jakeb was 4 years old. He was a tried for, treasured addition - but late in my pregnancy something didn't feel right. I hadn't bonded to this baby growing and kicking inside of me. With Jakeb I already felt that strong bond, and couldn't understand why. Looking back with the benefit of hindsight this may have been an important warning sign that was missed.

Kodi's birth will remain one of my most magical moments in my life. Kodi was born in his sack still, in a calm, relaxed, peaceful water birth. 4 1/2 years later I would still say his birth was magical and an amazing experience. All my worries of not being bonded to this baby evaporated the second I held him, I was completely utterly besotted with this beautiful baby boy I had just birthed into this world. I had the primal surge of love, that I was scared wasn't going to happen.

As the days went on something shifted in my mind. I can't tell you what switched the switch on, I wish I could so it was turned off, but suddenly I was in the midst of postnatal depression. My own version of this was a form of OCD where I was obsessed something was going to happen to my baby. I had to be there all the time, checking on him when he was asleep, checking on him when I should of been asleep. I managed to fall through the cracks when I spoke to my GP about this as they asked the standard questionnaire of "do you want to harm your baby?." No. "Do you want to harm yourself?" No. So my GP at the time said it was normal to worry about your new baby, and that all I needed was some sleep.

To cut a long story short the straw that broke the camels back, was one night I was quite manic and was demanding that my husband go out to Bunnings (was 11pm at night it wouldn't of been open anyway) and get a generator. He couldn't understand why in the earth I wanted to do this. I needed it because we could have a power cut at night then his alarm wouldn't work and I wouldn't know he was dead. Awful awful thoughts but that is where I was. I thought he was being highly unreasonable as he wouldn't go and get it. This was the night I began to seek help.

My husband attended the GP's with me and we began the long slow process of getting better. Unfortunately I am not someone that responds well to medications, so we had to do the long talk-therapy, and cognitive behaviour therapy routes.

Something I needed to do was to find me again, Prue had become this obsessive, compulsive person I didn't recognize, that was solely revolving around her children. There is nothing wrong with your children being your life, but it wasn't a healthy way I was doing it. Something I had considered was saving us money, down on one wage again. MCN's seemed the answer, but we didn't have the money for the start ups. So I got a DIY kit, my mother in laws sewing machine and made Kodi his first three. Didn't like the pattern and continued to edit this pattern over time.

I can't tell you the day it happened but I realised I was happy concentrating on this sewing. There was something methodical and soothing about creating these things, and the reward of looking at it on Kodi knowing I had made that for him. Soon I had a few friends asking to make them some and well the rest is history.

Through the help of my wonderful counsellor, the support and love of my family, and through the out source of JAKOnappies and More 3 1/2 years after Kodi's birth, pregnant with Nikola I was able to wave goodbye to 'OCD Prue'. The creative outlet, the sense of achievement when a pattern in my head works, seeing the creation on others babies, and a sense of contributing again have all helped me get there.

I am pleased to say we have just celebrated Nikola's first birthday, and I had no reoccurrence of my OCD/PND.

So thank you to all my loyal, and supportive customers that have without knowing it supported me through my journey.

A little more about JAKOnappies...

The name JAKOnappies and more come from my two gorgeous son's names - Jakeb and Kodi - my two unofficial product testers! We have since added another product tester to our family - my beautiful daughter Nikola in August last year. As our website will reflect, she has made me stray to the "pink side."

JAKOnappies and More has grown from these very simple beginnings to now having a large range of many different products from MCNs to clothing to toys and MORE!! We take pride in stocking many other products, normally all made/sourced from a NZsupplier or manufacturers. (We will state on items not handmade, or sourced from somewhere other than NZ). We particularly support WAHP (work-at-home-parents) and their products.

A recent addition to our products is my gaining the cottage license for the Darncat Jesse Junior Top pattern. This is a versatile pattern of tops and dresses with or without hoods. We have also starting stocking the amazing Teeny Tiny Casting range including their stunning crystal clear kits.

28 August 2011


If you would like to create a new landing page for fans visiting your business page on Facebook then Pagemodo makes it easy. Here is a quick tour of the programme and the link.

Just pick a theme

Add some details about your business and some pictures

And at the end choose which plan you want - if it only for one page then it costs nothing :)

And publish! No separate logons - it connects straight to yur facebook account and does all the hard work for you :) You can even edit it whenever you need to!

Have fun creating :)

Joy from Kazzalblue Baby and Childrens Boutique

25 August 2011

A Conversation with Sara of Linden Sage Designs

It's evident when browsing Linden Sage's creations,  that Sara is passionate in her desire to marry the old with the contemporary achieving unique, eco-friendly jewellery designs which utilise vintage trinkets, forgotten treasures, and salvaged jewellery.  Here, Sara shares more of her Eco-chic ethos...

Who is Linden Sage Designs?

Hi I’m Sara, the mind behind Linden Sage Designs. I live in Auckland and I design and create all the jewellery and accessories for the shop. I’m not kidding when I say that jewellery making has never been part of my life, but I guess being in the creative line has certainly fueled me towards this creative outlet at this point of my life. It takes a lot of patience, but I find it’s a very meditative and calming process. The moment I realised that I could make jewellery every day and not tire of it, I knew I had finally found my calling.

What’s your “handmade groove ?”

Something precious and one of a kind. Every handmade item has a sense of richness and history.

What’s on your bedside table right now? (hey, no tidying up or censoring)

1. Handmade Living by Lotta Jansdotta
2. Crafty Chica’s Guide to Artful Sewing by Kathy Cano-Murillo
3. The Art of Giving by Liezel Norval-Kruger

Who are your creative role models? What music, books, images, poetry spark your creative fire?

Clean, affordable interior decorating ideas that speak volumes; uncommon colour combinations that shout; music with a mix of pop, rock, folk vibe. Not forgetting simple things like the setting sun, the colour of leaves, what people are wearing and different cultural backgrounds. Vintage objects also have textural appeal for me. They have a story, a patina from years of life and ownership. Choosing handmade is choosing a slower pace of life – it involves a story as much as it is about the maker.

What could you talk late into the night about with like minded people?

Art and craft and basically anything that involves design.

If you could go to three free workshops/creative events this year which ones would they be? What are they about?

The following are not free, but they are on my wish list:

Craft and Hobby Association (CHA), USA holds two award-winning trade events each year, the Craft & Hobby Association Conference & Trade Shows. Usually held in January and July these events are the oldest and largest craft and hobby trade shows in the world.



Art Camp for Women, USA, Oct 2011



3rd Annual Australia Scrapbook Cruise, Jan 2012


How do you balance your creative life with your family, life commitments?

Passion, drive, insanity! Coffee is my first thought of the day. Checking the online shop and emails are next. I create all day long – cooking, shooting pictures, trying out new art forms… Working from home is quite tricky as life and inspiration can get in the way. There is always something to do when you work from home.

What is your favourite creative screw-up?

None so far.

Kitchen table or studio?

It’s the dining table overflowing to the floor. Who wouldn’t give for a studio?

Do you have a wish list? Can you tell us what’s on it?

I really love what I do, so I hope Linden Sage Designs will still be around, and I’d love to add a line of home accessories too. I want to be a better business person and somehow have more hours in my day.

You can find Linden Sage Designs products here.
Check out Sara's blog here.
And like on Facebook here.

23 August 2011

New Zealand Handmade Showcase

Sharing with you some of my personal favourites from all (yes ALL!) of our New Zealand Handmade Members - what a fabulously talented bunch!

21 August 2011

New Zealand's Natural Beauty

I live deep in the Country side
Just ten minutes from two beautiful scenic New Zealand bush reserves
I often walk in these with my husband
They are botanically  rich in native fauna and bird life
They have a strong historical, cultural and spiritual significance for me
I get a lot of inspiration from walking amongst the ferns
My little Koru Forest Princess evolved out of one such walk

cheers  Marie

18 August 2011

A Conversation with Jessica of Felt Good

In Jessica of Feltgood's words...Feltgood is her new craft label - specialising in gorgeous wheat bags and anything cute!

Cute, her items definately are, but better, they're functional.  No plain shaped wheatbags here, think fun 'huge eyed' owls, weeny 'red robin' hand warmers, and the loooonnngg Steven and Stanley sausage dogs - perfect to wrap around your neck.  Jessica also makes cool phone cases, and bright and beautiful soft toys.  Let's learn the story behind Feltgood..

Who is Feltgood?

Feltgood is a new craft venture by Jessica Molony - specialising in quirky wheat bags and any other handmade goodies that take my fancy!

I have always been interested in handmade crafts - from making jewellery and accessorising hair-clips at a young age, to embroidery work and making anything with fabric.

After completing a Bachelor of Commerce (Marketing), I decided I needed a creative outlet, so decided to study Interior Design and Decor at the Design and Arts College in Christchurch and then with having to recently leave my home (due to the earthquake) and move back in with my parents, crafting is a great and relaxing hobby to have!

What’s your “handmade groove ?”

I am getting close to finishing my studies at the Design and Arts College in Interior Design and Decor - so I wanted to create something using gorgeous fabrics that could brighten up any interior space!

At the moment I love anything to do with fabric and cotton! I love taking a piece of cloth and creating something that then has a spark of life.

What’s on your bedside table right now? (hey, no tidying up or censoring)

Currently.... A torch (because in Christchurch you can never trust when the power will go out!), Orla Kielys ‘Pattern’ book, my trusty bedside lamp with a glowing red light bulb and of course... a ‘Ruby the Rabbit’ wheat bag!

Who are your creative role models? What music, books, images, poetry spark your creative fire?

I find inspiration in magazines, books and of course, the internet!

I love design and interior magazines - Urbis, Inside Out, Houses, Frankie... and lately I have been receiving a few books from Amazon - Orla Kiely, Pip Lincolne’s craft books, Cath Kidson... and I love losing myself in the internet and blog-hopping!

From working at a fabric store, I am inspired by the lovely fabrics they stock and lately I have been checking out more markets and love seeing what other people have created!

What could you talk late into the night about with like minded people?

Anything design related - I also love hearing how other people do things, as I find their is never a correct/wrong way! Also how others have managed to turn their handmade business into a success!

If you could go to three free workshops/creative events this year which ones would they be? What are they about?

I would love to learn new skills and sewing techniques! Would also love to check out and perhaps sell at some craft markets in Auckland & Wellington - Would be great to see some more permanent markets and facilities set up in Christchurch's development.

How do you balance your creative life with your family, life commitments?

 With the end of course approaching - I have assignments coming out of my ears, so they are still the top priority... just!

I ensure I have time for my family and friends and my partner ensures I am off the machine at a reasonable hour and tucked up in bed!

What is your favourite creative screw-up?

No real screw-ups here - although perhaps leaving the odd pin on the carpet is not so good!

Kitchen table or studio?

Luckily when my partner and I moved back into my parents, we were able to dominate the second storey and set up one bedroom as a shared office/study space.... which is now also being overrun with my sewing machine, piles of fabrics and the ironing board - I think he got the rough end of the deal!

Do you have a wish list? Can you tell us what’s on it?

My current goals/wishes are to finish off my studies in August and find work either in the North Island or Australia. I hope to get more involved in the craft scene and want to ensure I can continue my sewing while balancing work, family and friends.

I would also like to have a never ending supply of fabric on hand at all times... oh and perhaps my own complete full set of DMC embroidery cotton!

You can view the full Feltgood range here.
And check out Jessica's blog here.
Let's not forget Facebook!

16 August 2011

The Ring

Remember the Ring?

The ring I mean is the one with the beautiful inscriptions which played such a big role in Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings”.

For a custom order I researched “Elvish” writing and enjoyed following the requested design so much that I would like to share it with you:

It started out as plain cylinder made from “Art Clay” Silver (precious metal clay) which was sanded smooth. The design was drawn on with pencil then scratched into the surface...

After the firing patina was applied and the final polish brings out the special symbols!

by Ingrid of Silverworks

14 August 2011

A Sleep and her Sisters tutorial...

This is a little peek into one of the processes I use to create my girls. 

I start with a paint colour called cloud, made by Fas, as the base of the faces (two or three coats should do it). I usually do a whole lot of faces at once so I have a stock of them.

I then draw the features in with watercolour pencils, add a few highlights and rosy cheeks with Pebbles Inc chalks.  I sometimes use a little light box if I am trying to duplicate the same face, although now with all the practice I have had I can get them looking pretty good without the light box.

Then I cover with a light brushing of Pebeo gloss varnish (it looks a little gray in this image which is just the way it has scanned through).  Although the varnish only takes a few hours to dry I usually do these last thing in the evening and let them dry over night so they will be good and ready in the morning. A few times I have got impatient and touched them while they were still wet and wrecked them!  You also have to get the amount of varnish right as too much will pool on the face leaving a bump.  

Once they are completely dry... I cut them out.

Then I use some scrap booking paper as her dress (this is sometimes the hardest part as there are so many lovely papers to choose from, I have a whole folder full of discarded dresses) When I am picking the paper I am mindful that it matches her eyes and any other plans I have for her. Once I have made my choice I cut the dress out and paint in the arms, add a bit of shading to the dress, add a few stripes, either with a white pen or pencil and finally a bit of colour with Derwent Drawing pencils.

I glue the head to the back of the dress and choose a swimming cap out of scrapbooking paper and trace around the head shape, cut it out and add a few shading details or spots.  Now she is all finished and ready to be placed on a background...

11 August 2011

A Coversation with Prue of JAKOnappies and More

Prue of JAKOnappies has filled her on-line shop with the most practical and variety filled range of baby related items you can imagine.  Gorgeous hand-knitted blankets, and merino singlets and beautifully stylish merino 'snuggle wraps' (pictured above) are just a few of the items you will find.  Prue has a passion for upcycling and longevity and this can be seen with her reusable wipes and modern cloth nappies.  Here, Prue shares why she's all about 'handmade for baby'...
Who is JAKOnappies and More?

Prue Fothergill

What’s your “handmade groove?”

I am far from a machinist! This is how my range grew. I like making individual items, and original things. I sadly get quite excited when I get a gorgeous bit of material!

What’s on your bedside table right now? (hey, no tidying up or censoring)
Alarm clock, heater remote, bib, milo cup, and a toy car.

Who are your creative role models? What music, books, images, poetry spark your creative fire?

My Nana would have to be the creative role model in my life. It all started when my Dad made me a glorious dolls house, and I got the Sylvanian Family I had coveted for ages like most 6 year olds. Unhappy with the store bought floor mats, duvet covers and clothing for the bears, my patient saint of a Nana slowly but surely taught me to knit and crochet. That started my love of something a bit different, and I have scoured op shops since my teens reshaping and changing items to something that “suits” me.

What could you talk late into the night about with like minded people?

The trials, tribulations and rewards of combining family with business!

If you could go to three free workshops/creative events this year which ones would they be? What are they about?

I would love to go to a heritage/vintage knitting/crochet evening.

Teaching others the “art” of upcycling.

Handmade for you baby! How you can make reusable wipes, breastpads, nappies and clothing for your child. Items will last longer, be cuter and work better for your child than mass produced items.

How do you balance your creative life with your family, life commitments?

Sometimes I simply don’t if I am honest! Most of the time it works okay, generally I get my grove on when the older two are in school, and baby girl is in bed. But baby girl is quite partial to playing in my off cut basket of material so quite often is happily in there whilst I am cutting out things. Most of my knitting is done in the night once the kids are in bed, and all the motherly duties are done eg. Teeth brushed, story read, up for glass of water, no more water, good night!

What is your favourite creative screw-up?

Doing one of my upcycled clothing items. People often give me there older clothes and ask me to recreate an article for their children. Often I look at it, see what I want to make, but it ends up being completely different yet I love what it comes out like!

Kitchen table or studio?

Kitchen table /Master bedroom! My darling husband after falling over boxing far to many times has built me a sewing table with my machines and snap press set up in our bedroom. The kitchen table still gets overrun on cutting days!

Do you have a wish list? Can you tell us what’s on it?

An embroidery machine………..sigh

My office/sleepout to be finished

Oh and 8 hours of UNINTERRUPTED sleep!

You can view JAKOnappies full range here.
Follow on Facebook here.
And keep up with the latest news here on their blog.

07 August 2011

Knitting with a Kiwi Twist

I recently had the opportunity to be one of the first in the world to knit a pattern by the fantastic New Zealand knitting pattern designer Belinda Too. Belinda (aka Blendy) is based in Auckland, and has already published a book of original knit sock patterns called Blendy Knits Socks. The sock photo below is one of her gorgeous designs. She's now putting together another book, this time with nearly 30 patterns for socks, legwarmers, fingerless gloves, hats, scarves and cardigans. Something for everyone!! I got a sneak-peek, being that I test knit one of the new patterns.

How did I get to be a lucky tester? Through the magic of Twitter. I saw the following tweet, and answered the call!

A few days later I received my pattern by email. It's all top-secret, so I can't tell you what it was, but I can say I had a great time knitting it. If it's a good representation of the rest of the patterns, I'll have knitting projects lined up for a while once I get a copy of the book. :) Totally cute, wearable, and fun to knit.

I sent my finished item up to Belinda last week, and now I'm anxiously awaiting publication. The book is due out in October, and she's planning a book launch in Wellington and Auckland at the end of October.

Kya of Clutch Creations

04 August 2011

A Conversation with Allie of Jusju Kiwiana Designs

I think it's safe to say, Allie of Jusju Kiwiana Designs, is, as the name says, all about Kiwiana design wear to suit everyone.  With one-size fits all reversible skirts (yup, one fabric one side, switch it over and wallah, another fabric! How amazing is that!), fab t's, and uber cool teatowel bags this designer takes versatility to new level.  Let's take a journey up North to the beautiful Kaeo, and learn more about Allie and Jusju...

Who is Jusju Kiwiana Designs?

Allie Avery

What’s your “handmade groove ?”

Designing and creating Kiwiana skirts and bags

What’s on your bedside table right now? (hey, no tidying up or censoring)

Don’t have a bedside table, we just shifted house and I haven’t unpacked everything yet…

Who are your creative role models? What music, books, images, poetry spark your creative fire?

NZ home and garden inspires me and any other like magazines

Anything NZ made and small art shops etc

What could you talk late into the night about with like minded people?

Business and how to grow it


If you could go to three free workshops/creative events this year which ones would they be? What are they about?

Business management and continued growth of business

Sewing workshop

How do you balance your creative life with your family, life commitments?

It was pretty difficult last year with work commitments as a nurse as well as juggling my business and family life but this year we have moved to a small community in Kaeo and I am not working as a nurse now just concentrating on my business so I can sew my heart out while my boys are at school then it’s all about my Whanau when they get home at 3.

What is your favorite creative screw-up?

When I sewed the ties on the skirt and sewed one tie on each end….. also when I first started putting patches on tees I forgot to place the tee under the arm of the sewing machine so sewed the front to the back…

Kitchen table or studio?

Started out on the kitchen table but have ended up having a studio… although I haven’t got it sorted out yet. One project I need to start here in Kaeo.

Do you have a wish list? Can you tell us what’s on it?

To be able to either open a shop for other craft people to get together and follow their passion

To grow and expand my business

To continue to enjoy my life to it’s fullest.

To view more of Allie's work, you can visit:
Jusju Website: http://www.jusju.co.nz/
Jusju Felt shop: http://www.felt.co.nz/shop/jusju

02 August 2011

The Elms - Tauranga

When I was little my parents took me and my sister to see the Mission House. On a recent trip to stock up the Kazzalblue shops I went back for another look. It still stands as it did when I was young and I'm pleased to say I remember it well.

The Elms historic house museum, is the oldest European heritage site in the Bay of Plenty, and an essential stop for everyone visiting Tauranga.

The house itself is well known by its huge shutters. A family home for 150 years, the house is now a museum, showcasing the lives of the three generations who lived within its walls.

Inside the house remains in its original state with olden day furniture and decor.

The Library, found in the garden, has changed little since it was built in 1839, and still holds books belonging to the Browns, and the Church Missionary Society and a vast amount of photos covering every inch f the walls of the small building. The early missionaries had to be self sufficient, and the wide range of topics covered by the books include theology, medicine, music and gardening.

You can stroll around the gardens of the house, containing a chapel with its bell tower, cottages and library most days until 4pm. There are also viewing times to go into the buildings - but not Wednesdays - that's cleaning day!

Posted by Joy of Kazzalblue