Thursday 1 August 2013

Take Heart

Heartfelt cushion by Morgan Wills
I'm happy to say that tonight is the grand opening of the exhibition "Take Heart" at Gleaners Inc.

Featuring the work of  twenty designers and crafts people (inc. yours truly) - all works include or reference the heart in it's many forms.

Everyone is invited to the official opening tonight at 6pm for drinks and discount shopping. The show runs until the end of August, so plenty of time for a visit. 

This event is part of Craft Victoria's Craft Cubed festival. 

Friday 21 June 2013

Hottie Challenge 2013

Confetti Hottie by Morgan Wills
I got wind of the first ever Hottie Challenge last year after the event....I remember thinking how fabulous all the different hot water bottle covers looked lined up on exhibition and I made a note to self that I must make one this year! we's been deadline week and of course I have been totally distracted with the myriad of other things that vie for my attention on a daily basis and only just managed to get my piece finished and express posted to Camille of Curlypops fame who has coordinated a group entry via her blog.

The aim of the challenge was to make a hottie cover, which will be exhibited in the gallery space at Open Drawer ArtTextiles and Learning Centre from Friday 5 July, with a grand opening on Sunday 7 July from 2 - 4pm.

The finished hotties will all be donated to the Margaret Pratt Foundation, so that they may be sold to raise funds and I know from Camilles group alone there will be 96 covers plus all the other entries submitted directly to Open Drawer. A pretty amazing sight to behold I can imagine - once they are all on show. 

The great thing too about the challenge was that there were no restrictions on how you created your cover you could use any art or textile technique that takes your fancy.

You may remember last year I made a confetti inspired scarf for the 2012 Scarf Festival in Geelong - this was my inspiration for my hottie cover - simply because when I am cold I definitely celebrate being warm! The whole cover was made from reclaimed and upcycled woollen felted jumpers and vintage buttons - and the grey base was actually reclaimed from an old lumberjack jumper my father-in-law gave me. You know what they say....waste not want not! Stay wonderfully warm and woolly! x
Confetti Scarf by Morgan Wills

Saturday 15 June 2013

Scarf Festival 2013

Amongst the leafy green - Scarf entry for 2013 Scarf Festival by Morgan Wills
Now in its fifth year in Geelong at the National Wool Museum (formerly held at Craft Victoria, Melbourne) – the Scarf Festival once again celebrates all manner of scarves, with hundreds of entries in this year’s competition.

Each year there is a new theme to interpret and this year the theme was ‘Home’.

What does home mean to you? How would you say it in a scarf?
Whatever it means to you, however you define it, shape it and live it, this was an opportunity to create a scarf that explains, explores and explodes the myths and realities of what it means to belong.

The theme traveled around with me in my head for quite a long time before I settled on how to best manifest my thoughts. In the end I decided to talk about our ‘tree change’ a couple of years ago from inner city Melbourne to the regional city of Ballarat. The change has been fully embraced not only by me but my whole family.

Recently an old school friend visited for a lovely Sunday lunch and she remarked as I showed her around my new home and shop – ‘You know you’re living the dream – don’t you?’ This comment really struck a chord with me. Life is good – made all the better by our sense of belonging within our new community and our new home.

Here is my artistic statement that accompanied my scarf entry:

Amongst the leafy green

From the heart of inner city,
to amongst the leafy green.
A spark from the metropolis,
a new life can be seen.

A settling of roots,
in home’s fertile ground.
A tree change sought,
a forest of love’s been found.

The Scarf Festival is on exhibition at the National Wool Museum, Geelong. Open daily from 7 June to 25 August 2013. More than 300 scarves will be on display submitted by individual craft-makers from around Australia and overseas. Most of the scarves will be available for purchase, although all will remain on display until the end of the exhibition. 

There’s also an exciting program of craft demonstrations running throughout the Festival, daily from 10am to 4pm. Well worth a visit!

Friday 12 April 2013


Lovely trees at Victoria Park, Ballarat

    My love of trees began as a girl. Climbing them of course – as all children love to do! This pastime along with one of my all-time favourite stories – The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton set me off on a tree loving adventure.

One of the first chapter books I ever read - The Magic Faraway Tree is set in a wood where the Faraway Tree is inhabited by fairy-folk and laden with fruit of all kinds from acorns to lemons. Its topmost branches lead to ever-changing magical lands above the swirling clouds. You can imagine can’t you that as a kid I fantasized about climbing up giant trees as far as I could, to see if there really was another land up there!

I had favourite trees as a kid too. Particular ones that I visited often and hung out at. Some were at parks and places that we went to regularly and I always felt happy hanging out up in their branches or nesting underneath their boughs and branches in a makeshift cubby.

Visits to my father’s native land of New Zealand meant lovely cuddles of the giant Kauri trees and then in my teenage years a trip to California meant a visit with the Redwoods. These giant trees are really unbelievable - even when you are standing right in front of them you can’t quite believe they are as big as they are.

Of course my children have claimed one of the trees in our yard as ‘theirs’ and if you can’t find them – you always know where they’ll be. Its innate isn't it and I know from their response when we read the Magic Faraway tree together that the enchantment of a land called ‘Do-as-you-please’ is pretty enticing! Go forth and climb up a tree to - Do as you please….who wouldn't want to go there!

We are fortunate enough to live in the hustle and bustle of Ballarat’s centre and yet a stone’s throw from gorgeous Victoria Park and the Botanical Gardens which are filled with lovely old specimens. Lots of opportunities to have impromptu picnics and the odd tree hug here and there – how lucky we are.

Friday 1 March 2013

A Piece of Cloth

A few months ago the lovely Liz Jones (Betty Jo) from Gleaners Inc. invited me to be a part of their first exhibition for 2013 entitled "A Piece of Cloth”.

I always love the opportunity to create something different to my ‘everyday’ work. Something unique, something that is only one of and not the multiples that I usually make. So I jumped at the opportunity and said ‘yes please!’

I was given a square of vintage fabric and as part of the brief I was asked to respond to the fabric, ie; the pattern, the texture or the colour palette, by creating a finished piece incorporating or referencing the scrap.

I had so many ideas and I thought so much time…but life and small business can get in the way! the end my appliqued interpretation of the main flower was incorporated into an embroidery hoop for a wall hanging…and not a scarf as was the plan. Still it was lovely to get involved and I am just amazed at the creativity of the other designers, artists and crafters who have offered up their work. Just gorgeous!

The show is a part of the L’Oreal MelbourneFashion Festival’s Cultural Program and opens on Friday 8 March at 6pm at Gleaners Inc. – 2 Ballarat Street, Brunswick. More information here!

Saturday 2 February 2013

Toad in the hole

I had never heard of 'Toad in a hole' until I met my husband. Frog in a pond - yes...but Toad in a hole? What on earth is that?

Well...toad in a hole is one of those extra yummy - pretty naughty kind of breakfasts. One that is awesomely good if you've had a late night and an extra glass of wine. But equally good on a cold winters morning to get your inner fire started to fuel you through the day.

I am particularly fond of this breakfast delight when I have yummy fresh sourdough bread and organic eggs from my in-laws farm. But of course you can make it with any bread and eggs that you have on hand.
Here's how you do it....

Heat frying pan over medium heat.
Butter both sides of your bread and pop into pan.
Using a round glass or biscuit cutter - cut a hole in the centre of the bread and take out the circular piece of bread and crack in the egg! Its pretty well as simple as that really! Cook one side and then the other and if you like you can add a sprinkle of herb goodness from your garden.

A little crack of pepper and a sprinkle of Maldon Sea Salt and voila! Now its time to tuck in! Yum!

Tuesday 29 January 2013

Welcoming the new year

I seem to have blinked and I'm here - sailing into the new year without what seems much time to pause and draw breath. My last entry back in October saw me heading off to present my wares at the fabulous Finders Keepers market and from then on it was a constant spate of events, markets or something or other that totally preoccupied me for the rest of the year 2012.

I feel as though the year was successful and fulfilling in terms of my making and running the shop and business. I also feel as though sometimes I got so caught up being the chief cook and bottle washer of my little enterprise that I didn't get to stop and smell the roses as much as I would like or spend as much time as I wanted to with my offspring.

Kitty who turned 8 in December tells me that my shop is her favourite shop in all the world and that her goal in life is to own and run The Crafty Squirrel one day. Bless. I tell her that as soon as she is old enough to count the money she can be my Saturday morning shop girl. I know this day will come before I know it and I would love to have her as my little helper.

Milo who is now 4 starts kinder this year - which we are all very excited about. Today he and I spent time decorating a treasure box for him to take on his first day tomorrow. In lots of ways I feel as though he is still my baby - but really he is so ready for Kinder and school. Part of me wants him to stay with me as my little buddy at home and another part of me knows how much easier my working life will be when he goes to school. I suppose that is probably pretty normal.

We have had a wonderful summer break this year - a beach holiday, catching up with lots of lovely friends and family, day trips, a spot of treasure hunting here and there (of course!) and as tradition would have it - our last hurrah of the school holidays is a trip down to my in-laws organic farm in the Strzelecki Ranges in Gippsland (half an hour from Warrigal).

We usually only get down there once a year - and as with any time I spend getting back to basics, I was totally refreshed by the country air, long walks, fresh produce and beauty of my surroundings.

A great way to get back into things - remembering to breathe and taking the time to stop and appreciate the everyday.

Bring on 2013! I have lots of exciting things in the pipelines!

Clearview Farm Apple orchard and yummy vegie garden