Sunday, December 13, 2009

Skillz R Us

Through the interwebs & twitter, I've come to know so many awesome yogis who are also really good crafters - y'know... people who are good with their hands, creating all these beautiful things out of nothing but their imagination, scraps of fabric and technical skillz (yes, with a "z").

First, there's Liz. Ashtangi-Extraodiniare who also has such a great sense of humour. She also hand-makes awesome bags for a living, and some of the bags in her range reflect this. Seriously, who wouldn't love a bag of these HUNKS with their furry moustaches? (Yes, their 'taches are made of "Pet Me Please!" furry cloth)

I have my eye on my all-time favourite, Mr. T with his furry tuft of a mohawk. How much more awesome can you get?!

Then there's Angie, fun-loving Iyengi (who knew "fun-loving" and "Iyengi" could co-exist?!) who hand-makes all kinds of yoga props with colourful fabric... bolsters, zafus, eye pillows... If Iyengar requires it, you can bet she'll make it. (She's still working on her website, so that link is to her company's Facebook fan page)

There's also Katy, who not only sells eco-friendly yoga mats (OK, she doesn't hand-make these, but she's also craft-y, you'll see!) ...but she also makes all kinds of gorgeous yoga-inspired jewellery.

And @sundarastudio who makes gorgeous yoga mat bags using Ikea fabric. (She's moving house now, so no bags listed at the moment but you can sign up to find out when her Etsy store is back in action.)

And finally, one of my old friends, @elenaho who designs and creates things digitally (we knew each other through work in post production), but I've only recently discovered that this clever girl also hand-makes a whole buncha things in the physical world. Like, a WHOLE BUNCHA THINGS... from knitted Star Wars figurines...

(YODA! OMG!!) bags she used to sell on Etsy... necklaces, clothes, yoga bags... the mind boggles at this chick's crafting skillZ. Her Flikr photo stream here.

So... being surrounded by all these beautiful people who are also so creative... it got me thinking... what else could I do as a form of expression... something I could MAKE and CREATE and call MINE?

You've seen my attempts at baking (I SUCK!)... I can't sew a straight line to save my life (at the tender age of 13 years old, my grandmother had to take my Home Economics project away from me to sew on my behalf, since I kept getting her precious sewing machine tangled in knots. Grandma got me an "A" on the project). :)

So... then I stumbled across a jewelry-making workshop in Newtown. I figured I spend A LOT of money on accesories (of the plastic variety, not the real precious bling), so I might as well learn how to make them and see where that takes me. I mentioned this briefly last week (how I think I've found a new hobby) and promised I'd write about it, so here it is.

Newtown's this really funky, vibey suburb close to town... quite bohemian, with lots of great cafes down the main street... a place where it's not uncommon to see guys in meggings (y'know... skinny jeans so tight that they become "men leggings"), the buskers there are playing tabla drums (very earthy and organic, nothing like the buskers in town with their electric guitars plugged into speakers)... I came across this cute store I'm sure Liz will go gaga over. I just like its name: All Buttons Great & Small. (yes, an entire store full of BUTTONS!)

It's a suburb so arty-farty that someone even put a bubble-blowing machine by their letterboxes, so bubbles were blowing out onto the people on the sidewalk. How could you not smile at this cuteness? (I'm also impressed that no one has stolen the bubble-blower either!)

I really, really like Newtown. Maybe I've got a bit of pretentiousness in me, but I really, really like these small details about a place that actually make it A PLACE. It's called CHARACTER.

So off I went to Etelage. Check out the ceiling where the signboard was hung. It's like from the original Victorian (?) era. I've forgotten all my Art History terms already... what is this ceiling bit called? Etchings? Cornishes? Ah, whatever. It's pretty.

I did 2 workshops that day - stringing and linking. I came out of it with 2 necklaces (with matching earrings) that I will probably NEVER, EVER wear again (coz they're so dainty and er... not me!)... BUT! With just these 2 simple techniques learnt, I'm fast realizing I can actually put pretty much ANYTHING I want together.

So I got a couple of DIY kits and spent last weekend MAKING STUFF!! :) :) :)

Er... I've even got me my own beading box now, and lots of magazines for ideas and inspiration... Yeah, BEADING MAGAZINES?!?!??? I am now officially a Bead Dork too. I got so engrossed in this that I actually missed last Sunday's practice, and er... I did the same thing again today too! (Stayed up late reading beading sites and couldn't get my ass outta bed this morning)

I made these graphic earrings:

I also made another gift for someone, but won't put that online till after she receives it, of course!

This weekend, I thought of making my own earrings for a friend's upcoming wedding where I'll be one of three bridesmaids. We've all got our beautiful dresses in the mail already, so I thought I'd make chandelier earrings to go with my strapless turquoise taffeta dress. It's a pretty predictable design coz HEY! It's only the 3rd item I've ever made on my own! (and this one was from scratch, no kit to follow!) It's made of Czech glass and Swarovski crystals.

While looking around at bead stores online, I found THE AWESOMEST tool kit and told Kelly that this is what I want for Christmas (even though I've already bought some tools to start off with. They're just boring, regular tools.)

Awww Chyeahh! A PINK tool kit with matching pink case!!! I'll be the most stylish beader in the village!! (OK, "Stylish" might be pushing it. I'll be the PINKEST beader in the village.)


  1. So that's what you've been doing this morning. Windering where you were!

    Wow! I've not stepped foot into Newtown yet but the place sounds wonderful! Love the idea of the bubble blower on mailboxes (in fact, we've got the same one here that's Jared has grown tired of) - shd definitely plan a trip to see that part of sydney!

    The earrings look great! Love what you'll be modelling at the wedding! Am sure you're proud of your new found talent - As for me on the other hand will have to stick to baking cuz am not artsy crafty AT ALL!

    See you later funky beadster!

  2. I lived in Newt for 6 months! Right under Macdonaldtown Station. I loved it. Loved it loved it loved it. King St has changed a lot - we cruised past a couple of months ago, and it looked like it had been zhooshed up quite a bit. It was really grungy when I lived there.

    Beading seems like fun. I've bought my daughter a couple of beading kits over the years, but she's never really been into it - I've had more fun with them than she has!

  3. Love your black and red earrings! So stylish!

  4. Thanks Kelly! But a part of me's looking at those earrings thinking they're not looking "special" enough (if I'd seen them in a store, I wouldn't have bought them. They're a little bit more special only coz I made them. But I'm still unsure about them) ...I just wish I had rows and rows of beads at home now at my disposable to come up with something else. Hahaha.

    Hey Lew! I had only been on the other side of Newtown - walk out the station and turn LEFT, not right... and the left side seems a lot more oldskool and charming, with more vintage stores, little designer co-op type of stores. This is where Etelage and the button store are too. I walked up the street (to the right of the station when you walk out of it), and was pretty surprised at the change in vibe. Like how you described it. More "zhoosh" and modern. I imagine the other end of King St was probably what it was like before. I could totally live there. :)

    Thanks Elena! I <3 your Star Wars figures. They're so random and CUUUUUTE! (like, who would've thunk to KNIT them?!)

  5. hi Skippety, how sweet of you to write about these yogis. i would chime in about Bindy, who is awsome in yoga, creativeness with knitting and blogging.

  6. Hey Arturo, do you have a link to Bindy's blog? (All Google comes up with is Bindi - y'know, Steve Irwin, the croc hunter's daughter.) ;p

  7. hi Skippety, i tend to call her Bindi, but it's bindifry:

  8. aw!! Thanks for the shout out! I just finished up a weekend show that was very successful and fun. I'm dead tired but something compelled me to look at your blog. Thanks for the good vibes.

    Creating things is such a wonderful way to "get out of your mind"- it's a joyful thing for me and really re-sets my brain.

    I LOVE the black and red earrings! well done! Can't wait to hear more about it (and see photos).

    oh, and yeah, I'd drop dead from heart failure if I saw that button shop whiled strolling down the street.

  9. Thanks for the shout-out, Jaime!

    I LOVE the chandelier earrings. Tres elegant.

    Hmm.. Do they have any fabric stores in this neighborhood?

  10. My pleasure, guys! Always share a good thing, right? (Only coz you guys are GOOD!)

    Sandra - dunno about fabric stores, I wasn't on the lookout for that, but there was a leather store. Very bizarre... you walked in and saw all kinds of bags in the front of the store, and at the back was the workshop and you see all these dead-cow-skins hanging from everywhere. Eeks! It's worth a visit to walk down King Street though - only to the left when you walk out Newtown station. That seems to be the more eclectic/ craft-y type of stores. (There's a guy selling all kinds of religious kitsch outside the Greek Orthodox church. OK, so maybe to him it's not kitsch... but there are so many cool Jesus/ Mary pictures on everything from bracelets to postcards.) It's a fun browse. :)


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