Monday, 14 January 2013

Tribute To Amelie

The first thing that people ask me when I tell them I've leaving the country is 'What are you going to do with Amelie?'. I have to gently remind them that she actually isn't my cat but lives perpetually at the clinic though I do take her for the odd weekend away at my house. I don't blame them as every second photo I post up on facebook is Amelie, like that blind parental love that makes you think that your baby is the cutest and everyone must see, that's how I feel about Amelie. Is that creepy? Shush you, I know you are muttering a resounding 'yes' under your breath.

I admit, I do have a secret yearning to be a crazy cat lady and maybe one day, when I am more settled I can have my own little cat community (much nicer sounding then animal hoarder). Until then, I will be content to intensely love this one cat who isn't my own but whom which I will probably cry my eyes out when I leave her in 5 weeks and so here it is, my Amelie tribute page.

And if you've made it this far then you must love her (almost) as much as I so you get the piece de resistance, my tribute video that took my 6 solid hours to make (only to find out the song has strict copyright laws so you just have to play both  videos at the same time. Start the humming part of the song on the purple page.
Tribute video HERE
Background song HERE
Feel free to check out Amelie's other youtube videos whilst your there.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Introducing My New Travel Blog

Just about everybody knows this but I'm heading off to travel in 8 weeks but just to make it a bit more official I'm formally introducing FabricCats - On Tour. My travel blog which keeps y'all up to date with where we are in the world. 

As I will not be doing a lot of crafting/sewing/cooking whilst I'm away you can expect the original FabricCats blog to be on a bit of a hiatus. I may do a few more markets and make some bits and bobs until I leave but things are winding down around here. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas with your loved ones and I hope the new year brings wonderful and exciting things your way.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Day At Glebe Markets

So we had our second market stall ever last Saturday and boy was it an adventure! Since applying for Bondi markets and getting rejected due to an over abundance of applicants (Christmas rush), we found out that Glebe had some spaces but it was advised to get there at 6am in order to bags a spot. 

This time my lovely, incredibly talented and always inspiring friend Tina was joining us with her all her market expertise. Due to the earliness we decided it was best to all sleep over at my place and we'll drive there together in the morning. It was like a girly sleepover party but less talk about boys and more about price points. Sounds fun yeah? It was! 

So we got up at the ungodly hour of 4am, had breaky and was in line at 5.30am. Even then we were 7th in the line. After 3 agonising, mosquito bitten hours in line we secured our spot. I also have to mention this AWESOME french bakery right next to the Glebe markets that do the most amazing pastries I have ever had. ZOMG. Do the capitals emphasise how yummo they were? 

It was perfect market weather - cloudy, warmish, no wind. Lots and lots of people were out and about doing some Christmas shopping and stopping by and having a look at our stuff. We all got really positive feedback and I had the most adorable group of teenage girls all chip in to buy their friend one of my terrarium necklaces. I told them they reminded me of the babysitter's club but I think they were too young for the reference (gosh I'm old).

My terrarium necklaces were a big hit and considering I was selling them pretty cheaply ($20 each or two for $30) it meant that I made up for the cost of materials and was now in pure profit. Each time I'm at the markets I've learnt so much and this second time round was such a great improvement to the first. Looking forward to the third. It was also lovely to know that more and more people share my love for terrariums.

Monday, 12 November 2012

My Very Own Etsy store

To those who don't know it, Etsy is like Ebay's more interesting and prettier cousin. There you can get handmade crafts, beautiful fabrics and all the bird printed dresses your heart desires. If you're so inclined (just if) then you can also get one of my terrarium necklaces on there as well right.....HERE

Who'd have thought that little old Toni from Canley Vale would have her very own etsy store and market stall one day. I'm rolling with the big kids now. I'll gradually be adding more things on so tell your friends.

But...if you just wanted check out some gorgeous photos that my uber talented friend Nancy helped me take for the store then you don't need go anywhere, just roll your eyeballs downwards a bit.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

How To Be A Positive Person

I used to be a really negative person ruled by my own fears and insecurities. Some of it had to do with my Asian upbringing, you were taught to work hard through fear of failing i.e. if I don't study hard I'm going to fail this test and will never get a good job. 

I did get those good grades but I was extremely stressed and had no life. Ten years later I can look back through retrospective eyes and see what things have made me into a more positive and balanced person.

1. Surround yourself with positive people
Get a support network of people who you trust and respect. Sometimes you just need a bit of encouragement to push you in the right direction. Listen to only constructive feedback, of course there will be be people out there who will say negative and possibly hurtful things to you. Try to avoid these people or stick to neutral subjects so you don't get your feelings hurt.

2. Be confident
Be assured in the set of skills that you have and know that you can adapt and develop as a person. There is no such thing as failure, just growth. If you don't know how to do something, learn it. I was worried that my first market stall wouldn't be a success but at the end of the day I can feel proud that I had actually gone out there at done it. Don't worry so much about what other people think and just focus on your own goals.

3. Be balanced
I found I'm most at ease when I've got a good balance between my physical, emotional, work and creative needs. I work during the day, create at night, fit in the occasional run and see my friends on the weekend. But sometimes I just need some time to completely veg out and its easy to get stressed and feel like I'm doing 'nothing'. Everyone deserves some down time.

4. Be present
When I was younger I lived with a lot of regret. I'd worry about what things I could have said to people and if that offended them. This is a negative spiral that will get you no where. There's also no point going into the many tangents of the future and dreaming up scenarios that will never happen either. Just be an organised person in the present and trust that most things work out ok. 

5. Dream Big
Don't be trapped by the smallness of normal life. I wanted to get out and see the world and experience things that I can't in Sydney suburbia. So we've saved up for year and we're selling all our stuff and leaving next year. It's as simple as that. You only have this one life, so why waste on it the mundane?

Monday, 29 October 2012

Setting Up A Market Stall

Yesterday we had our first market stall with me selling my terrariums and some things I had lying around the house and Nancy with her felt mustache brooches etc. So here we are for the Monday morning post mortem where I will be dissecting the experience into things that were good and things to improve.

Things That Went Well
- The staggered height display worked well because a lot the jars look better at eye height.
- I got invaluable advice from a market stall veteran who was next to me about perservering with doing the markets to get more exposure. 
- Not something I personally did but the weather ended up sunny but not too hot so a lot of people were out and about. 
- The timing of the markets was great because 'Sculptures of the Sea' was on so a lot of people were coming to and from that.
- I got at least 50 people who spontaneously broke out in smile with my terrariums and around 5 that came up to me and told me how much they loved them - always heartwarming.
- A lot of my friends came out to see my stall and show their support which made me realise just what great friends I had!

Things That Can Be Improved
- We had two tables on either side of the stall so people had to walk in to have a look, next time we'll just have one tablet horizontally at the at front for better exposure to people walking by.
- I'm going to get some cute boxes so people can give them as gifts.
- We both got sunburnt despite borrowing a big beach umbrella from our lovely neighbour so we'll have to better protect ourselves whilst outside all day.
- I'm only going to sell my terrariums and not my other stuff as it's not the primary focus of the stall and just clutters the stall.
- I'm going make some more basic, smaller terrariums as most people don't want to spend too much.
- I need to get business cards so people can look me up later.

I made around $220 which I was happy with but have learnt that profit isn't the main goal of the market stall. I was just as happy when someone would be walking by and then stop suddenly because a terrarium had caught their eye and then a smile would break out of their face. Or when a group of people would stand their and each point out their favourite terrarium to their friends. Priceless. I'll be having another stall in December so keep your eyes and ears open folks.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

To Market We Go!

So the big day is almost upon us. This SUNDAY 28th October is going to be our first market stall day at Bondi Beach markets. For more info check out their website I'm hoping this temperamental Sydney weather holds out on the day otherwise we'd be forced to be move it to the following week. The good news is that it coincides with this year's Sculptures by the Sea which features beautiful large scale sculptures along the coastal walk from Bondi to Bronte. 

As you may know, I've been obsessively making my terrariums so stock wise I'm good. But I'm currently getting my display ready. I've disassembled our bookshelf so I can steal the shelving for the table display and made a cute bunting sign. So look out for 'Evergreen Terrariums' if you're in the area and come and say hi on the day.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Sydney Rides Festival

When Kevin and I come back to Australia in a few years we've decided we're moving to Melbourne. Not that we don't love Sydney for all its lovely weather, beaches and containment of our friends and family but we're hoping Melbourne will provide us with a better living culture.

One thing I'm particularly hoping for is a better bike culture where pedestrians and motorists are more accepting of cyclists. In Sydney I am constantly disappointed by the lack of empathy for cyclists who should be supported for reducing the amount congestion on our roads and fumes in our air. 

Today was the launch of the Sydney Rides Festival. Three spots along the Bourke St bike path were dedicated to live music, markets and spaces to sit and relax. 

Ukulele band

I got to eat a rose and raspberry popsicle next to Hunter the kelpie, decorate my bike basket with streamers and flowers,and whilst Kevin was trying out the new free street bike pump across the Beresford Hotel in Surry Hills - Clover Moore (mayor of Sydney) came over and talked to us about how we were finding the new pump. Plus Kevin got to pat her staffies. 

Overall a great day in the sun and even though we got abused by a crazy dude and almost hit by a car (typical Sydney folks), we will keep on bikin'.

Friday, 5 October 2012

My strange addiction - terrariums

So there's a TV show called 'My Strange Addiction' where you find people being addicted to all sorts of weird things like eating chalk, pulling out their own hair to a and extreme tanning (think flourescent orange). Well I believe I've developed my own strange addiction - making terrariums! 

Firstly, I've been weasling glass jars from friends and random places. Even coffee jars that are in current use I will worm into my possession by tipping the left over coffee into a takeaway container and running off with the precious vessel. Apologies to my work colleagues, I hope you'll understand and support me through this tough time.

Secondly, I've been spending all my extra time and thinking power into developing new concepts for my terrariums and most of them work out though there is the odd one I have to walk away from and clear my thoughts before re-working it. It's all part of the creative process I guess.

Hopefully my market stall will be happening Sunday 28th October at Bondi Beach markets, I've put in my application and am nervously awaiting to see if we've snagged a place. I'm super excited and even if I don't sell a single thing (though I hope this won't be the case), it's still a chance get out there and have a chat to some people and gauge people's responses to my craft. On the whole I've had really positive reviews so far, thanks guys!

I've been busy as a bee working on these:

In addition to my terrariums, the market stall will have my friend Nancy's wares as well which include handmade brooches and mini pegs made from felt. Check it out!