Sunday, 28 February 2010

Seven facts

Marlous from PlanetFur nominated me for the beautiful blogger award. Thank you, Marlous, for the nomination and your kind words about me. I look forward to meeting you in March!
Part of this nomination is thanking the person who nominated you, which I just did AND come up with seven facts about yourself. Ahum!

1. I've read the Harry Potter series at least eight times. 
2. I bike to work every day, well on the days I work at the office anyway. It's a 9km ride.
3. My boyfriend wants a cat, but I have an allergy.
4. I'm a kind person (don't tell other people). I believe in love. I know!
5. I'm not good at getting up in the morning. Which means I'm always late for work. 
6. I love to travel and have been to Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Cuba, Cabo Verde, China,     Tibet, Lao, Costa Rica and Nicaragua. And I hope to do more travelling with my boyfriend in     the near future.
7. I challenge you to tell me what you think is one of my worst characteristics.

I'm supposed to now nominate seven more blogs, but I won't. If you feel like sharing 7 facts about yourself, please do. Consider yourself nominated :)

Saturday, 27 February 2010

Introducing Wooly Bison

I'd like to introduce to you Wooly Bison by Ingrid Rowe. Ingrid makes satchels, purses and other goodies out of vintage and other wool. She graduated from Seattle Central Community College's Apparel Design & Manufacturing program in 2003,  where she fell in love with the smell of steamed wool and learned to sew. She fell into a dream job at a small messenger bag company in Seattle, where she learned about running a small business, met amazing people, polished her skills at sewing and learned to stitch applique. Five years later, she was itching to try a business for herself, and decided to get serious. Some of the nicest wools are used for tailored suits, she says -- it made sense to her to take advantage of the abundance around town.   
Ingrid and I had a little conversation through e-mail and here are the answers to the questions I asked Ingrid.
Babongo: When did you start creating and what did you start with?
Ingrid: 'Art' was always something I wanted to do as a kid, even though I don't think I've ever figured out what that meant. I've never gone long without having some sort of project - 'publishing' books out of typing paper, Pee-Chee's, oil pastels and tape; building cars from skateboards and boxes; some hideous lace sachets with porpourri; handmade paper.

Looking back, things that involved creativity and repetition were always extremely satisfying. It hasn't been that big of a leap to go to full-time bag making!

Babongo: When did you first discover Etsy and what went through your mind when you did?
Ingrid: My friend Jean and Chika (of Chikabird Inc and Ladies & Gentlemen ) told me about it. I thought -- where has this been my whole life? It's so great to have access to such an abundance of wonderful, lovingly handmade things all in one place. It's hard NOT to find something to love. People are beginning to think more about where things come from, and value what it means to create something. 
Babongo: What are your dreams for the future?
Ingrid: I'd love to make Wooly Bison flourish as a business, build a home and studio, and spend the days sewing projects, cooking and growing food, entertaining friends and family and try to find a couple ways to make this world a little better than when I found it.

Babongo: What would you like the world to know about you?
Ingrid: I'm a shameless indoor kid with an affinity for the outdoors and the aesthatics of the late seventies. Almost nothing makes me happier than wandering around thrift stores collecting hidden treasures and bundles of crazy fabric. I love being able to take something out-of-date or forgotten and re-form it into something different and new.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010


This treasury I made hit the frontpage on Etsy yesterday. Congrats to all featured.

Monday, 22 February 2010

Monday Moodboard

Clutch-purse in teal by Karuski
La princesse au petit pois by Matilou
Sunshine. Decorative coasters by Birribe
Cinnamon wool needle felted heart by Woolicious

Want to see more Moodboards? Visit Fleurfatale's blog.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Monday Moodboard

Sticker set by Carambatack
X-Long scarf by Karlita
Sterling silver ring with melonbeads by DeerLola

Japanese Wintergarden earrings by Fleurfatale

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Introducing Marian Smale

Let me introduce to you the wonderful world of Marian Smale's amazing garments from upcycled, vintage or handpainted/dyed materials.
Marian: 'Each piece is made with lots of love, enjoyment and attention to detail. It's important to me that it stands the test of time & wear'.
Sounds like music to my ears.

I had a little conversation with Marian through Etsy and I asked her some questions about herself and her work.

Babongo: What would you like the world to know about you?
Marian: I grew up on a remote farm in a very steep high hill country in NZ with native bush [forest] beside the house and a sense of nature being my closest companion/friend. From there I grew as a daydreamy sort of random creature who was always puddling away outside with the wealth of materials nature gives.....combined with a mum who was relaxed about kids and dirt!She was a great gardener and an early memory is of a little square patch in her garden she said could be mine and I can still picture the plants she let me choose from "her" garden to transplant and get mine started.
I was second of five children and as we grew our father took us more and more to help on the farm [outside school time]. This entailed very long horse rides and wonderful adventures "out the back" as we referred to the further reaches of the farm. Glorious, wild, free exhilarating adventures which quietly gave a sense of enormous empowerment. The contrast to this was my silent, still space where I would dream and ponder and create.
As I write I see how closely to this I still operate. I love contrasts and I'm not methodical in my creative process. Everything I make is some kind of adventure, be it long or short. I often begin with no idea where the journey will go. I value that process above almost everything in life. People come first and I suspect that hidden in everyone is the ability to create. To me it's a key, a thing of wonder and reverence that connects us to the great mysteries of life. A process to be guarded fiercely and nurtured and if one is lucky, to be shared with others. [I feel like this about other peoples creativity as well.]

Babongo: When did you start creating and what did you start with?
Marian: My earliest memory of sewing is of taking part in hand stitching a very small circle skirt for a doll. The fabric I can picture as tiny black and white striped cotton with posies of bright coloured flowers sprinkled across it. I'm not sure how old I was...maybe 4 or 5 years.

One of my darling grandmothers worked as a seamstress and although I don't remember her teaching me I know she was a huge influence. My mother also made lots of our clothes and taught us to embroider and do tapestry as well as sewing on an old treadle Singer sewing machine.

Another very early memory of making was of shaping two little clay birds [the clay was on the banks around the farm] leaving them to dry in the sun and then painting them bright colours with my watercolour paintbox. For some reason I did all this on top of the big concrete water tank that stored the rain water we used. At the end I left them there again only to be sadly disappointed the next time I looked that the rain had "melted" them! I've tried working in clay as an adult but without much satisfaction. Cloth and paint are my favourites and I never tire of experimenting.

Babongo: When did you first discover Etsy and what went through your mind when you did?
Marian: Etsy I was told about by a New Zealand craft website some years ago when I submitted some photos to them. I looked once but thought it very far away and at that time didn't have the computer confidence to have a go! [I didn't go further with the NZ one either]. I had remembered Etsy without looking again until when I joined.

Babongo: What are your dreams for the future?

Marian: My dreams are to live in the country again [I am currently living in town till my last child finishes school] and devote my time to creating and having a self supporting business on Etsy. Spending time with good friends and my family, doing some gardening, swimming in the sea or river in summer.


Monday, 1 February 2010

Monday Moodboard

The Kindness Pears by LaPomme
Fuchsia Knitted Minidress by Subrosa123
Jack the pilot Pillow by AtelierPompadour
Sea Urchin Collection: soft grey necklace by Staroftheeast