01 July 2012

Not so Audrey-nary...

Audrey Hepburn was not your ordinary (or Audrey-nary) everyday person...

I have such admiration for her and the work she did for children as a UNICEF ambassador... Not only that, she was such a beautiful person, inside and out.

{Image: Craig Alan}

Here are some links to previous posts I've done where I have mentioned her:

1. 'A thought for you...' - January 15, 2011. Part of a series called 'Weekend Thoughts' I was documenting. This one was one of her quotes, which to me rang true at the time of the Brisbane floods. Let me know if you think I should start doing them again...
2. I am woman...International Women's Day - March 8, 2011. This was more about the history behind International Women's Day where I mentioned Audrey and her work for UNICEF. Who do you admire?
3. I've left the best until last! 'Favourite Things project - Week Five - People in my Life...' August 5, 2010 - my son Darren's birthday. This one holds a place in my heart because I posted it on one of my sons birthdays.

When I first started blogging, I was introduced to Tazim, from 'Being Tazim', a blogger in Canada. Tazim was engaging other bloggers in a 'Favourite Things' project, where we blogged each week about a particular subject. The week I completed this post the subject was about 'People In my Life'. Whilst I used this opportunity to talk about my two wonderful sons, I ended the post talking about Audrey. Both the boys know how much I love her and have given me some wonderful 'Audrey' gifts over the years.

What do you think of this fabulous artwork by Craig Alan? One of the Facebook Pages I follow, lead me to this great site called 'This is Colossal' where they featured this and other pieces of photographic art using people, yes PEOPLE! Look closely at the photo, it's all people! Go and have a look, you'll be amazed at the ones from 1915 using Armed Forces personnel for a campaign to support the American War effort. Click on the photo to visit the site.


30 June 2012


Yes BOON...not BOOM!

BOON Chocolates at 251 Victoria Street Darlinghurst, right here in beautiful Sydney.

Gorgeous chocolates, beautiful store, fabulous philosophy and lovely welcoming people.

Alex and Fanny Chan, the brother and sister powerhouse behind BOON have been in their business for about 4 years now. They have built a reputation in the chocolate world for their attention to detail, mouth watering flavours and their freshness.

BOON philosophy is simply...'to produce in small batches so that the chocolates are consumed within four weeks of being made. Freshness is key to appreciating the individual flavour characteristic to each praline. Freshness combined with the best natural ingredients and flavours is the key.'

I was lucky enough to visit yesterday with a group from work and have Alex talk to us about their business and their product. Not only do they sell to the public, they have some large corporate contracts as well.

Cartier, Ferrari!!!

I can't wait to make a hot chocolate with one of my purchases!


13 May 2012

My first foray into the world of Spoonflower contests...

I took the plunge...and entered my first design in one of the weekly fabric design contests run by Spoonflower. Retro Kitchen design with a restricted palette.

Entries closed on May 9 and voting is open now. The winner will be announced on Thursday May 17.

I'm very nervous as this is the first time I've ever had one of my fabric designs out there in the 'public eye'. My design was uploaded about a week before the due date, I was that happy with it.

Now I have to just sit and wait to see if I made the top 10...mmm. With the MOST entries Spoonflower has ever had for a palette restricted contest, not sure how I'll go! 282 entries were received! Wish me luck!

29 April 2012

Are you feeling creative...

Well...I really haven't kept my blog up to date lately, as I've been concentrating on building my portfolio of fabric designs. Also sourcing printers and doing some of my own screen printing took up more time than I expected.

Having been a Blogging Your Way student last year, what better way to get back on track with my blog posts than selecting some of my earlier posts that were well received. In one of the lessons, it was suggested to look at posts that had high counts of views and list them in a post. A reconnection, I suppose, to the writer and their blog. These posts tend to get lost in the 'archives' and new blog viewers wouldn't know they were there.

So...based on the amount of views some of these posts received, let me invite you to take another look, or perhaps your first look.

For your viewing and maybe some practical application: 
  1. My Creative Space - A gift for Sophia
  2. Creative Collective - New Year = New Craft
  3. Favourite Things - Week 12
  4. Project: Felt Necklace
  5. Project: Ikea Draws

I'm a doer, I love making things, getting in and putting a design on paper then executing it. There's nothing like the feeling of making things, and decorating, especially with something I've made.

My background is sewing and fabrics but as the years have gone by I've picked up many extra skills. I even have my own power tools! Insert 'Tim the Toolman-like' laugh here, for those of us who remember good ol' Tim. I have to say, my projects fare a bit better than Tim's!

I've selected some of my project posts for you to review, and maybe even give them a go yourself. Here's a link to my projects page for any of the others I've made over the last few years. There are still a few I haven't finished the detailed instructions for.

Do you know, sometimes this is more difficult than the actual project. I have the words and step by step instructions in my head, but you need to get them SO right for other people to be able to follow them clearly and make the item. I will be getting back to writing these soon.

I hope you've enjoyed taking a look at these projects and perhaps are thinking about trying one or two yourself. If you'd like some help, please feel free to email me.


PS My 'Followers' gadget is still AWOL and I don't know how to fix it. If anyone has any ideas, please email me on designed.to.a.t@optusnet.com.au

24 March 2012


Canberra, the uniquely designed capital of Australia, is fast approaching it's Centennial year

The birth of Canberra as the national capital was marked by the laying of the foundation stones for a ‘Commencement Column’ on 12 March 1913, and the naming announcement by Lady Denman, wife of the then Governor-General.

From where I live in Sydney, it's just a quick 2hr 15-30min trip, approximately, as I am close to a motorway that takes you up to freeway speeds within minutes of leaving home. No trying to get through city traffic to get on my way, it's just a few blocks to the motorway and off I go.

So why don't I do regular trips to Canberra? I have no excuse, but when I have a reason to go, it's always a surprising and pleasant day. The latest reason, I'm very embarrassed to say, was to increase the 'mileage' on my car, as I am close to reporting it for the end of Fringe Benefits Tax year!

Despite having to ensure I meet my mileage requirements, I'm also always happy to do a day trip in my car. Driving is something that's in my blood. My Dad used to drive taxis in Sydney and has also done stints in trucks when I was small, in between his jobs as a qualified greens keeper. Driving trips were something we always did when I was a child. Heading off late on a Friday afternoon to drive the 4 or 5 hours to my Grandparent's home in Nambour QLD, then the drive back again on Sunday night.

I wasn't by myself, so the Canberra trip was even more pleasant with a companion, and we stopped to have a lovely lunch on the way.

Let me show you in pictures how lovely a day it was, with beautiful weather turned on and lots of activities and events happening. We ran out of time to visit the Bonsai exhibit/show and needing to get back on the road meant we weren't able to stay for the fireworks that were happening last weekend.

 Beautiful sunshine-y day on the way - the road beside Lake George 
or Weereewa in the area's indigenous language.
Top Left: A Bronze cast of parliamentarians and 2 Australian Prime Ministers, John Curtin and Ben Chifley. Ben Chifley was Treasurer at the time, later to be our 16th Prime Minister.
Top Right: Beautiful tree lined walkway through a park beside old Parliament House
Bottom: Plaque explaining the bronze statue of Curtin and Chifley.
 National Portrait Gallery
 Old Parliament House

Top Left: More tree lined footpaths
Top Right: The High Court of Australia
Bottom: Part of the refurbished Old Parliament House gardens

 Lake George - on the way home. Dark clouds forming giving an eerie back drop to the Lake.
 Heading home!

25 February 2012


I've had a couple of emails from 'purebloggers.com' of late, luckily they've been relegated to my 'junk email' folder, so it gave me pause to think and investigate.

It looked legit but you know how wary you have to be, so I did a search and wasn't really able to find anything.

My stats show in the last week there has been 5 referrals under 'traffic sources' from this site, and 6 in the month. It appears to have ramped up in the last 7 days. 

The email comes from purebloggerss@gmail.com (with a double 's') and it looks like this: 

If anyone has any other information on this please let others know, just in case. You can never be too careful in this environment.

20 February 2012

Blogging Your Way in Australia?? What do you think?

Were you a part of the 'Blogging Your Way' experience with Holly Becker from 'decor8'?

Would you be interested in Holly and Leslie Shewring ('a creative mint') coming to Australia?

If so, there's a couple of polls happening on the BYW Facebook Page. If you are interested, why not vote!

17 February 2012

More fabric designs on Spoonflower

I've been slowly gaining momentum with my designs and have accumulated quite a library of fabrics now.

I'm still using Spoonflower, but have contacted a couple of businesses here in Australia, one in Sydney and one in Melbourne. Samples of my most recent Spoonflower upload, some 30+ designs, are currently winging their way to me via Fedex. Once I've had an opportunity to check the colours, they will be available for sale.

Spoonflower offer a good service, with a few shortfalls e.g. colour matching not always quite hitting the mark, and one great advantage - you can sell your own fabrics through them and don't have to have an amount of stock held on your own premises. They will print as required. Being in the US though, it means paying overseas postage costs and time frame for delivery depends on how much you are willing to pay for freight to bring the delivery time down. Hence looking for somewhere local.

My plan still is to have the designs under the 'designed to a T' name, with the home wares/soft furnishings being sold under the 'jane on jane st' name.

If I decide to go ahead with an Australian printer and on sell fabric lengths myself, this will mean having to find room to store bolts of fabric, but will offer lower freight costs to my customers. I would also miss out on a potentially bigger market by not having the Spoonflower marketplace offering my fabrics for sale. So there are still many things to think about in this fledgling venture.

Here's a sneak peek at some of the designs.

'Exclamation!' (above) - I'm still doing the rest of the complimentary fabric designs/story for this one. 'Candy Stripe' and 'Starry Night' are complimentary stories also.

Tulips and Diamonds (below) is already for sale along with some other designs from last year. 

05 February 2012

Motivation, now where did I put that....I seem to remember seeing it...

Ah, that's right, there it is!

It seems to have taken me ages to find my friend motivation. For posting on the blog anyway.

I don't really know what happened to it. All motivation to blog just up and left me...without even saying good-bye. Ever felt like that?

It wasn't 'writer's block' as I have been doing things, even though I haven't been blogging about them.

I've baked some delicious individual Sticky Date Puddings and Caramel Sauce, for a recipe spot on Julie Gibbons' Tractor Girl blog. The recipe is on my Facebook page if you want to give it a go. It is such an easy one and so yummy. They are even great as muffins for lunches the next day, if they last that long.

At the sewing machine, this cute little outfit became reality, after much procrastination. That motivation thing again, it went missing again for a while, around the time I was trying to get this finished.

Some new patterns are uploaded on my Spoonflower account. I've ordered samples of a few of my recent patterns and hopefully they will arrive this week.

Frankie & Swiss are a Melbourne outfit who do the same as Spoonflower, digitally print fabrics in both large and small runs. Which is fantastic for fledgling surface designers like me. Michelle has been really helpful, but I'm yet to order a sample from her. I'll wait until the Spoonflower samples arrive, as she suggested sending a cutting would give her an idea of what I am trying to achieve in colourways for the fabrics.

Plenty of time has been spent on Illustrator making patterns as things come to mind, but I'm planning on doing complimentary patterns for some of them. Mainly with the patterns I would like to use as fabrics for my 'jane on jane st' products.

Here's one I'm pretty happy with. I call it 'Flare'. The pattern on the right is a basic repeat of the motif. I was thinking there could possibly be a couple of complimentary patterns from this, as each of the elements, or a combination of a couple, would easily create some contrast and interest.

My 'Diamonds and Pearls' pattern has been around for a while now. In fact it's now my blog header. I revamped the blog quite a few months ago, while I was trying to figure out how to do a repeat of the 'Diamond' pattern for a complimentary fabric. I still don't quite have the repeat figured out, it's a bit tricky but I'm nearly there with it. It's been very much trial and error, so I'll see if it works.

The 'Chevron' pattern that is part of this story is loaded in my account on Spoonflower. There is another pattern that goes with this, but it's not finished yet. The purple is more prominent in the 4th one of this story, unlike the 'Pearls' pattern below, where the brown charcoal colour stands out.
"Chevron"                                             "Pearls"                                           "Diamonds"

The screenprinting gear came out again about a month ago. I tested three new prints, and here are two of them, 'Eat' and 'Mid-north Beaches' scroll.

Keep your eye out for the Giveaway I'm planning. It has something to do with the 'Eat' print. My blog was 2 years old on January 24th, so it might just be something to celebrate.

The tote bags are test samples. My idea was to test the prints, then line the bags with contrasting fabrics. They are all earmarked for 'giving' away, but the next batch will become part of the product line on my 'Made it' store. I've closed all the items on the store for the moment, as I am in the process of getting quotes for labels and swing tags.

They will all have, what now seems to be, the trademark aqua colour for 'designed to a T' and 'jane on jane st'. Here's a sneak peek.

Very plain and simple styles was all I was after. The 'jane' tag matches the blog page.

The screenprints were very pleasing in the end, so permanent screens are next on the list. At the moment, I'm still testing all my designs by preparing the print with a sun exposed screen. A very satisfying process, but the screens don't last very long without the emulsion being 'set' so you are able to use it over and over again.

Interestingly, the young lady who taught me how to do sun exposure is the daughter of a printer who worked for the famous Florence Broadhurst. So screenprinting has been in her blood from a young age. Her business commercially prepares screens for large and small business.

So, after all that, the motivation to write about what I've been doing certainly had left me, but I've kept busy. Holidays are coming up soon, with some relaxation in the garden and at the beach (if the weather holds up).

The Giveaway will be up on the blog later in the month, so keep watching here, on my Twitter account, and on my Facebook page for how to enter.

Have a great week everyone!
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