Oh please don’t go, we’ll eat you up we love you so…
As you would probably guess as a book designer national book week is a pretty big deal in our house. It’s a celebration of (you guessed it!) books, designed to engage young people with the world of printed word. The Children’s Book Council of Australia describe it like this:
Each year, schools and public libraries across Australia spend a week celebrating books and Australian authors and illustrators. Classroom teachers, teacher librarians and public librarians develop activities, offer competitions and tell stories relating to a theme to highlight the importance of reading.
As Little A is still only in daycare I didn’t hold out much hope that his Montessori centre would do anything this year, that is until I found a note in his school bag on Sunday morning informing me that children were being encouraged to dress as their favourite book character that coming week.
SAH and I debated the possibilities and asked Little A what he would like to go as, we finally decided on Max from Where the Wild Things Are. A favourite book in this house – both SAH and I loved it in our childhood – I have found Little A reading it too himself often (‘Where the wild things are, Oh! there they are!’). So the only issue was making said Max costume. I can sew but don’t have the patience for it so am not a particularly good. None the less I toddled off to Spotlight on Sunday afternoon and found the stars were aligned and found everything I needed. I am not sure about you, but I never find everything I need at Spotlight. I often walk out with only a few pieces required and have to scrape about to finish a project. But not this time, everything from a children’s onesie pattern, to the flannel, ribbing and fake fur. I even stumbled on the perfect material for whiskers.
And so it was that I returned home to sew my first ever dress pattern. No mean feat. Little A eagerly assisted and enquired every so often “Where is my costume?” In pieces “Where is my costume?” I am sewing the pieces together “Where is my costume?” Here is the main part of the body, I just have to do the arms. And on it went, until Little A climbed into bed and I stay up well past midnight to finish the darned thing.
To make Max’s wolf costume I used white flannel material and a Kwik Sew toddler onesie pajama pattern which I customised slightly by leaving off the neckline and zipper tab, instead I traced one of Little A’s hoodie’s to make a hood pattern and attached that to the neck. I hand made ears and sewed them on the hood and cut lengths of thin round leather and hot glued them on for whiskers. I made a tail from black fake fur and attached it to the back of the onesie. I decided to forego the claws depicted in the book but SAH made a simple crown out of gold foil cardboard, then found Little A’s sailing boat as a stand in for Max’s boat he uses to sail to the where the wild things are.
I was so pleased with the final result, having never made clothes from a pattern before (toys yes, clothes no) so the next morning I was SO excited as I zipped Little A in and found it all fit perfectly, only to be heart broken when the wild ways of an almost 3 year old saw him decide he didn’t want to wear it. At. All.
Biding my time until later in the week and a break in the rainy weather I suggested to Little A we should go for a walk around the neighbourhood and be wild things together. Agreeing this was a good idea, Little A donned his costume finally and we stomped around the streets, finding sticks, leaves and interesting things to play with. Success!
I followed after my wild thing with my loaned Olympus OM-D E-M10 loving the fact it was so small and easy to use, so I could snap away getting great shots while keeping an eye on our surroundings. The morning light peaked through the trees and added a storybook feel to the shots.
When we returned home I removed the costume and soaked the knees in stain remover to get the grass stains out! Whoops! And while Little A happily played I used the wifi feature on the Olympus to transfer a few photos to my iPad and post them on my Design Cherry Facebook page – being very proud of my handy work, my cute kid and to celebrate book week as a book designer.
The following day Little A happily wore his Max costume to daycare and came home still wearing it! A real hit! Now I just have to follow this up next year… oh my god.
This was my final post as a part of the Olympus My Family Lens challenge, in conjunction with Kidspot Voices of Australia awards, which I have been participating in for 2 months. All opinions are my own. You can follow my Olympus OM-D E-M10 adventures through my instagram, twitter or Facebook page – or simply searching #myfamilylens
We were itching to leave the house on Sunday.
I had been checking weather forecasts all week in hopes that the cold snap causing snow to fall across parts of the state would spread to the Blue Mountains and we would be able to give Little A his first snow experience.
It wasn’t to be as the snow stopped short but temperatures remained quite cold so instead of feeling thwarted we made a split decision late in the morning to go anyway – why not? Let’s rug up warm, go for a lovely drive and do a bit of treasure hunting in the antique shops up the mountains.
As luck would have it we stumbled on some markets half way up the mountain and enjoyed rummaging through an eclectic mix of 2nd hand (modern) toys, hand knits, vintage clothes, collectables, industrial bits and pieces and lots of great food. Little A enjoyed the fact it was held in a primary school, preferring to run around like a nutter instead of eating a freshly made waffle with spice poached fruit, SAH and I had no choice but to scarf it down ourselves.
I picked up a gorgeous little mid-century modern planter, 3 old greyhound racing muzzles (I am thinking of hanging them on the well) and 4 x 2 metre pieces of atomic print 50s fabric. Score!
Finally coaxing Little A back in the car we bypassed most of the collectible shops, heading instead to large Blackheath antique centre with a plan to hit the rest on our way back down the mountain.
I still have memories of combing antique stores with my mum as a kid, even now the smell of linseed oil is a powerful reminder of those times. Little A often accompanies me on my treasure hunts, whether it’s a string of thrift shops, markets or the odd collectible shop. The results are varied, as they usually are with a small person.
Thrift shops are the most enjoyed as there is often other children to play with or toys to (lightly) interact with – although there was that one time last year when a small Little A emptied an entire box of a 1000 piece jigsaw on the ground, danced on it then ran off, leaving me literally left to pick up all the pieces.
Markets are a lot of fun too, it’s easier to run around and there are usually some pretty good boxes to rummage through but collectible shops are very tricky and often require more restraint and they are not a lot of fun for small people so we generally keep those outings to a minimum and add points of interest for A to break the monotony of piles of junk that I am inexplicably drawn to.
And that’s why after a whip around the Blackheath antique centre, we refueled with some rather dull chicken schnitzels then spent some time exploring a large park, running out the pent-up-car sillies and while that was happening I got to experiment with the video feature on my (loaned) Olympus OM-D E-M10.
This is my first ever blog video! I am quite proud of it.
Little A was beside himself, running in between trees, making ‘camp fires’ with collected twigs. At one point he tripped and rolled down a hill. Laughing he picked himself up, climbed back up the (small) hill and rolled down again and again.
Calling it time when the sun started to set and the temperature dropped we stopped to watch some local kids cutting shapes on their BMX’s (or whatever the kids of today do now) on our way back to the car.
By this time it was late in the day and we decided to forgo stopping at any more places bar one – The Pink Flamingo. Where I got chatting to the proprietors about Australian Modernist Design after discovering we were both involved in this book – they wrote an article and I was interviewed for one. They have a local MAD weekend coming up touring some fine modernist architecture in the mountains, so I signed myself up for it… and I possibly signed myself up to talk about modernist stuff at the event too. Eep!
I love treasure hunting and it was such an awesome day to have both my fella’s cruise and mosey with me. And the more I play with the Olympus OM-D E-M10 the more I am enjoying it. I am slowly working out how to take better photos and get the depth of field and aperture to my liking. But it’s the whistles and bells that is pushing me over – the video and tilting screen was fantastic fun but the best thing I played with this weekend was the remote control feature. Running the Olympus app through my iPhone via the camera’s in-built wifi I used it as a remote control to document my treasures. My awesome selfies where created thanks to ‘live view’ on the iPhone screen meaning you see exactly what the camera is seeing so you can position yourself better and get rid of those double chins or stupid expressions. Very, very impressed.
In fact I foresee this feature being the answer to many harried partner’s prayers. Gone will be the days when they are instructed to take OOTD’s or document new hair only to be scolded for taking out of focus images or not directing the model enough: lift your chin, suck in your tummy, you have crazy eyes…
This post was part of the Olympus My Family Lens challenge, in conjunction with Kidspot Voices of Australia awards, which I am participating in for 2 months. All opinions are my own. You can follow my Olympus OM-D E-M10 adventures through my instagram, twitter or Facebook page – or simply searching #myfamilylens
My blog is a funny thing.
It wasn’t started for any purpose other than to be some sort of documentation of my life and design work – ‘i woz ‘ere’ – and if you’re savvy enough you’d be able to track my web presence from my 1995 gothic website to this much less angsty and dark manifestation.
One thing that has always remained throughout my various web incarnations is the documentation of my friends. From dark figures draped over gravestones, to rockabilly gigs and dancing I have always been behind the camera snapping away.
Back in the day when SAH and I started dating I toted an Olympus SLR around, shooting film and pretending I was a photo journalist. To be honest I just knew the basics of how to make the thing work but nothing about lenses or framing. When SAH and I upgraded to digital point and shoot cameras I thought nothing of it and continued on my merry way taking slightly arty happy snaps. It wasn’t until we took the plunge and bought a Canon DSLR that I started to appreciate the idea of taking better photographs – lighting, lenses, framing, small amounts of digital enhancing – and my work started to improve. I even took a photography workshop last year that I feel has pushed me further and further.
As a finalist in the Kidspot Voices of Australia awards I am privy to a few sponsorship challenges, things like testing products and stuff. I’ve never really thought about sponsorship on my blog, as I said it was really just started to be a place to ramble and post my creative work. When I was offered an Olympus sponsorship challenge I thought long and hard about it. Did I want to open myself up to this kind of content? Realising the parallels between what the Olympus My Family Lens challenge and my blog ethos (i woz ‘ere) made me agree – yes thank you, I would like to play with a camera and continue documenting my life on my blog.
So I was sent an Olympus OM-D E-M10 camera for a couple of months. From the outset I was kind of excited, those babies are designed to look like vintage SLR’s (like the one I used to shoot on) so is the perfect accessory for me. And in fact when I ventured out with it on Saturday I felt really free – unlike our cumbersome Canon – I was able click away and enjoy the festivities.
The festivities being our beautiful friend Caroline’s 40th birthday. She had chosen to not act her age and celebrate in style at Coney Island, Luna Park.
As soon as we fronted up to looming decorative building, childhood memories overwhelmed me and I was giddy. The smell of the hessian sacks used on the rippling slippery dips, the creak of the wooden floorboards and the timeless hand-painted signs, nothing had changed except we had gotten older and my poor old body and its weird cervical ribs now prevented me from jumping in with my friends on any rides. So I was content to experiment with my new charge and snap away doing what I do best – documenting my awesome friends and family.
I did however spend and awful lot of time in front of the funhouse mirrors – what can I say I’m part Budgerigar?
Happiest of birthdays fabulous Caroline you are an incredible, talented, clever lady.
While I am still getting the hang of my loaner camera I am having a lot of fun in the process. In fact one of the things I’ve truly enjoyed (and used a few times) is the wifi connection from the camera to my iPhone/iPad. So I can shoot fancy stuff on my camera and wirelessly connect to my phone and then post to Instagram, easy peasy. It’s a bit addictive.
It’s also come in handy when I’ve wanted to review my images at the end of the day – quickly connecting to my iPad I’ve been able to view everything in the Olympus App. Geez technology! I am looking forward to using the iPhone remote control function too.
This post was part of the Olympus My Family Lens challenge, in conjunction with Kidspot Voices of Australia awards, which I am participating in for 2 months. All opinions are my own.