Wednesday, May 22, 2013

South Island No.1 | Cook Strait

One thing I was really sure of when we were planning our South Island trip was that we should go by car. I quite like driving, I like being able to stop in at a places that look interesting and because of the New Zealand landscape a huge part of the enjoyment of travelling here is what you see from the road, going from place to place. Also, going by car means we take the ferry to get to the island, which is one of my favourite things to do. Unfortunately this time around both Richard and I were feeling a little fragile until we made it out of the straight, but that just meant sitting out on deck and taking in the beauty, layers of blue and salt spray. It was a pretty grey, slightly stormy day, which made for the most incredible moody colours. I love the sun but boy do I love a misty landscape.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Bliss in a Teacup for Tiny Eyes.

I'm really excited to let you guys in on a fun collaboration I'm taking part in this winter with doll making smarty pants Dee from Tiny Eyes. I've been a fan of Dee's dolls for awhile now, especially the custom ones she made of Emma and Tom as part of a Valentines giveaway she did this year. Emma's pink stole kills me, as does her sweet hairdo.

Dee has asked a collection of talented New Zealand designers to design a their own Tiny Eyes doll based around their brand and aesthetic, that she'll then create and you'll be able to purchase in her store this August. I am so honoured to be included in this great round up of creative people and looking forward to the challenge of working on something that is really different for me. I'll admit that I am a bit nervous and slightly overwhelmed by the choice of potential fabrics and accessories, but it's good to work outside your comfort zone so I'm up for the challenge. So far, I've mostly just thought of lots and lots of outfits that I'd like to have (and tried my best not to make it a doll that dresses completely in black...) so now I'm trying to think more of what kinds of colours, materials, textures, patterns and pieces reflect what we as Bliss in a Teacup love and build it around that. I can't wait to see what everyone else does, especially as we all have such different aesthetics!

I'll post inspiration and updates here on the blog for you to follow along, and you should definitely check out the other designers (Rhiannon, Melissa, Emma, Gillian, Erinna & Anya) and their processes on their blogs and websites. I'll be back here with some sketches soon!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Kinfolk Gathering: Freshen Up.

Home is the nicest word there is. 

- Laura Ingalls Wilder

I'm really excited for the next Kinfolk gathering, all about home preparation and freshening. We'll be making natural cleaning products, lavender sachets, hand scrubs and combining scents to keep your home smelling beautiful. As we head in to winter I love to use candles to create a warm and relaxing atmosphere in my home, so I'm hoping to incorporate them into the gathering, too. 

Tickets go on sale today, and space is limited so get in quick if you're keen to come! This event is going to be held in Featherston (at the very cute looking and sounding Kiwi Hall) so all the more easy for those of you in Wellington and the wider area to attend. If you don't drive, the train can get you there and back pretty easily and you could always brunch before hand and then stroll over. For those of you a little further afar, the Wairarapa makes an excellent day trip. We're partnering with Six Barrel Soda Co and either sipping on their soda while you work or taking away a little sample bottle is just another of many reasons to come and join us. All the details are below, I hope to see you there!

Location - Kiwi Hall, Birdwood St, Featherston
Date - Sunday, 26th May
Time - 1:30pm - 4:30pm
Tickets available here

Photos above by Michael Graydon

Sunday, May 12, 2013


image via gather shop

On Saturday Christine and I went off to Gather, a beautiful design store here in the bay that focuses on textiles and natural materials (read, lots and lots of beautiful yarn to swoon over), to attend a crochet class that was my birthday present from Christine. It is such an inspiring space, so many colours, shapes and fibres and spending an afternoon learning a new skill amongst it was super refreshing. Like many of us I'm sure, I can easily get stuck into a bit of a rut and so doing something totally different with new people felt really good. 

I've tried to pick up crochet before and failed pretty miserably. I could never get the tension right, it always felt awkward in my hands and the stitches looked weird. Well, for the 10 minutes that it would last before I gave up on it in frustration. Having four hours to sit and take my time, concentrate and focus on one thing might normally sound like a bit of a nightmare to me. My mind is always going a mile a minute and my ideas for new things can come so rapidly that Richard now just smiles and lets me explain them knowing that I'll probably have thought of something new the next day. I saw this as a flaw in myself for a long time but now I'm ok with the fact that lots of different things make me happy. In saying that, persistance and focus is a pretty good balance and definitely helpful in ensuring that the more important of those ideas of mine actually come into being. Imagine my surprise when those four hours turned out to be incredibly relaxing and satisfying. 

I just happened to have read a bit about persevering lately, one a pretty intense article from a concert pianist about letting what you love be all consuming and another a coffee cup chat from another Becka that felt like a warm hug of good advice. I like that I wasn't getting yelled at about bootstraps, but rather encouraged to keep trying. It seems to me that lack of perseverance is often very little about laziness and more about feeling completely overwhelmed and terrified of getting things wrong. Funny that I am so aware of this as a teacher, the need to foster an environment where students feel safe enough to take risks, keep trying and be ok with failing but that advice is much easier given than taken on board. 

Here's the links for you to check out for yourself, if you like!

- This one isn't on perseverance per se, but can definitely help with it. I'm really enjoying Meighan's new social media blog and this post all about productivity apps from Ashley Neese was really useful. I love that the focus is both on productivity and wellbeing, the latter being something I'm guilty of forgetting about. Also, can Ashley please cook me everything forever, please and thank you. 
- Music is always a requirement for my productivity and motivation, and Jena always kills it with her mixes. Check out her latest, A Roll In The Meadow for your work week soundtrack! 

Here's to perseverance, taking risks and feeling good about it. 


Friday, May 10, 2013

Celebrate! A giveaway - closed.

The lucky winner is Kate Robinson. Congratulations! Email me your address and bookmark preferences and I'll have them in the post to you quick smart. 

It was actually my birthday yesterday, but while it's still my birthday in the northern hemisphere I thought I could quickly sneak this post in to let you in on this little celebratory giveaway we're running over the weekend. I really wanted a quiet birthday this year, after a busy few weeks travelling about the idea of quiet dinners, sleeping in and secretly having an entire day to myself to catch up on work was pretty appealing. As well as my own, it seems that I know a number of people celebrating birthdays this week and with Mother's Day coming up it got me thinking about the traditions we make for ourselves in order to celebrate those we love. Early on in our relationship, when our communication was mostly via email, Richard and I got into a routine of swapping ee cummings poems. Now that we don't have to rely on email, which I naturally far prefer, the poetry has gone by the way side a little. It does make an appearance for birthdays and special occasions every now and then, and this birthday Richard was able to surprise me with one I was unfamiliar with (arrogantly I was sure I had at least heard of them all). We definitely have our favourites, excerpts that pop up more often than others, but it was exciting discovering something new. Especially as it felt so timely for us.

You are tired,

(I think)

Of the always puzzle of living and doing;

And so am I.

Come with me, then,

And we’ll leave it far and far away—

(Only you and I, understand!)

You have played,

(I think)

And broke the toys you were fondest of,

And are a little tired now;

Tired of things that break, and—

Just tired. So am I.

But I come with a dream in my eyes tonight,

And knock with a rose at the hopeless gate of your heart—

Open to me!

For I will show you the places Nobody knows,

And, if you like,

The perfect places of Sleep.

Ah, come with me!

I’ll blow you that wonderful bubble, the moon,

That floats forever and a day;

I’ll sing you the jacinth song

Of the probable stars;

I will attempt the unstartled steppes of dream,

Until I find the Only Flower,

Which shall keep (I think) your little heart

While the moon comes out of the sea.

So! The giveaway. Leave a comment here or on our Facebook page telling me about a celebration tradition of yours to go in the draw to win our beautiful geminate earrings and a pair of bookmarks of your choice for yourself or someone you love. Share it on Facebook or on Twitter with the hashtag #blisscelebrates for a couple extra entries! The competition will close at midnight on Sunday 12th May. I'll make it northern hemisphere time, since I'm a little late, so you southerners have until Monday to be in to win.