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West Elm Local

Last week I was honoured to be the featured maker at West Elm Chadstone, for West Elm Local. This is a monthly pop-up event where West Elm stores feature a local maker, who's in store selling their wares for a few days. I'd heard about the concept a while back, as some of my favourite designers/makers in the US had been featured makers, and was pretty chuffed when West Elm contacted me about being involved. And as I've previously taken part in an Etsy Pop-up at West Elm Chapel St, I knew I was in for a fun few days.

It was lovely to chat with all the customers and get lots of great feedback (apparently my work is 'cute'!) I had lots of new things to sell, including shiny ceramic crockery sets and art prints, some of which are slowly being listed in the shop. And thanks so much to Sophia and Julia and the rest of the staff for making me feel sooo welcome - by the end of the four days I felt like I worked at the shop and was sad to be leaving. My feet, however, were happy for the rest - it's been a long time since I've worked in retail,  (which I did all through school and uni) and I'd forgotten how hard it is standing up all day long. 

Here are some photos I took (with my phone, hence not such great quality!)

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Recipe: Happy banana hair

The other day I was reading an article in Frankie magazine about bananas and how they're good for all sorts of things beyond eating, like cleaning houseplant leaves (using banana skin), getting splinters out of your skin - who knew - and as a hair masque. Yep, apparently it's a thing. So today I thought I'd test it out, as I'd much rather rub fruit in my dry hair than use horrible chemicals or weird smelling hair oils. And the verdict? My hair's softer and smoother and feels a lot better. Give it a try if you dare!

BANANA HAIR MASQUE

(Recipe from Frankie Issue 76)

INGREDIENTS

1 ripe banana, peeled

1 teaspoon honey

1 teaspoon coconut oil

METHOD

Blend the banana, honey and coconut oil in until smooth. You might want to melt the honey and coconut oil if they've solidified. Wet your hair and, starting at the roots, massage the mixture into your hair, making sure it's covering all of your locks. Squeeze out any excess mixture and lightly wrap your hair in a towel, to remove any excess liquid. Then cover your head in a shower cap and leave for 15-30 mins. Rinse your hair thoroughly and style as normal, then admire your glowing locks.

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Dawn Tan Workshop

I've been a fan of Melbourne-based illustrator and all-round creative Dawn Tan for such a long time and first remember hearing about her work back when she was a student, making human sized mashmallow and Ritz packets. Now Dawn's work regularly appears all over the place, including Frankie magazine, and she sells art prints, cards, does custom drawings and makes gorgeous soap. She's also a teacher and last year my 6-year-old niece attended a regular after-school art class with Dawn, where she produced amazing work. My sister was very impressed, so I decided to give her a Dawn Tan workshop voucher for Christmas - that way we could do a class together and get back to our crafty roots.

The class we booked is a newie - a wonton drawing and cooking workshop - and it was on Saturday. I learnt heaps - from how paint is made to how to clean and store your brushes, as well as different watercolour techniques such as layering and outlining. And we also learnt how to make an amazing wonton soup, which we then got to eat! I highly recommend attending one of Dawn's workshops and now can't wait to hear more about her latest adventure, Little Art Yurt. In the meantime, here are some pictures from the class.

Drawing and painting the ingredients that were to become our lunch.

Drawing and painting the ingredients that were to become our lunch.

Our classmates brought along fresh berries they'd picked from their yard!

Our classmates brought along fresh berries they'd picked from their yard!

Dawn's art is in the frame and our work dried underneath.

Dawn's art is in the frame and our work dried underneath.

The wonton soup we made for lunch! So good.

The wonton soup we made for lunch! So good.

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Pattern February

UM, HAPPY 2017. Glad we've got that over and done with, especially as it's mid-February already. 

My year has gone way too quickly but has been pretty great - it's summer, I've been swimming in pools and the bay and the ocean and eating lots of amazing fruit - two of my favourite summer things.

Last week, five days into February, I decided to set myself a challenge of spending an hour each weekday in Feb working on new patterns. IE: the one thing I really want to do but never seem to have time for. I'm so used to thinking about pattern and design in terms of screens and colour separations (for screenprinting) but for this project I've set no limitations. GO NUTS! The aim is to just create, starting on paper and then digitising. So far I've used tools I haven't used before or haven't used in a while - thick Sharpie pens, potato stamps, new paint brushes with India ink and a range of black felt pens I got in Japan. Here is a selection of what I've come up with.

Happy Tuesday!

Flowers © Spin Spin | Susan Fitzgerald

Flowers © Spin Spin | Susan Fitzgerald

Melbourne © Spin Spin | Susan Fitzgerald

Melbourne © Spin Spin | Susan Fitzgerald

Nature © Spin Spin | Susan Fitzgerald

Nature © Spin Spin | Susan Fitzgerald

Fish © Spin Spin | Susan Fitzgerald

Fish © Spin Spin | Susan Fitzgerald

Staples © Spin Spin | Susan Fitzgerald

Staples © Spin Spin | Susan Fitzgerald

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Recipe: Natural Yoghurt

I just love cooking and I'm into eating wholefoods, because I like to know exactly what I'm putting into my body. I also love using trusted recipes that have been passed on from others, and hope you do too, because I'm going to share some trusty recipes here.

Fabric and food don't have much in common, you might be thinking. But I reckon what we put into our bodies is so important and effects everything we do - our mood, our energy levels, how we sleep and so much more. What and how we eat is part of the bigger picture of who we are and who we want to be (whether we think about it that way or not).

The first recipe I'm going to share is for something that used to be readily available in most supermarkets here in Australia, but recently it's been replaced by a faddish upstart. Yep, I am finding it really hard to find natural yoghurt now, because it's been usurped by Greek yoghurt. Pot set natural yoghurt is tangy, a bit tart has a great texture. Greek yoghurt seems to have lots of added cream and thickeners and is a totally different, much more processed beast. And don't even get me started on those sugar-filled fruit 'yoghurts'!

I started making my own natural yoghurt a while ago but was never all that happy with it - it was too runny and not very tangy. But after a few tweaks I now make a weekly batch that is just as good, if not better than anything I've ever bought. It's SO easy to make, it's healthy and best of all, it's cheap. You just need two good quality ingredients, a couple of tools and 10ish minutes and you're done.  I like to make 2 litre worth at a time but you can easily halve or double the recipe, depending on how much you're going to need. Do let me know if you have any feedback :)

 

NATURAL POT SET YOGHURT

 

INGREDIENTS

2 litres good quality milk (preferably organic or biodynamic)
5 tablespoons natural yoghurt, with cultures (I like to use Jalna Biodynamic Whole Milk Yoghurt)

TOOLS

Cooking thermometer (mine ranges from 40 to 200 degrees celsius)
Medium sized saucepan
1 litre jar/s (I use 2 x Ball Mason pint jars plus one smaller jar)
Esky

METHOD

Warm the milk over a medium heat, stirring regularly so it doesn't stick. When it reaches 84 degrees celsius (183 fahrenheit), turn off the heat.
Let cool to 44 degrees celsius. You can add it to an ice bath to speed this process up - add a tray of iceblocks to a sink half filled with water; put the saucepan in the sink, being careful not to get any of the water in the pan, and stir until the mixture cools.
 
Whisk in 5 tablespoons natural yoghurt and mix until smooth. Pour the milk/yoghurt mixture into clean jars and seal. Add a kettle full of very hot water to the bottom of an esky (I use a small 6-can one my boyfriend bought many moons ago - it's the perfect size) and add the jars, so they're sitting partially submerged in the water. Leave for 24 hours for a medium tang yoghurt, or 36 hours for a delicious super tangy version. Refrigerate until cool. Lasts 5+ days in the fridge.

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