Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Big pictures and little pictures, woods and trees.

This little corner of a table in my studio is indicative of the whole, big, chaotic picture, right now.

I haven't wasted much time lately, with tidying.

It's been all about bringing a book manuscript into being, which means working between computer, sewing machine, cutting table, ironing board and photography table, balacing bits of foamcore board on everything and staying up late, sifting through and cataloging hundreds of images....  And writing.  Writing and re-writing.  Drawing diagrams and writing some more.  It's coming along.

The trip to the USA, Quilt Market and possibly teaching some classes while I'm in that neck of the woods, is another work-in-progress.  (If you're interested in doing a class with me while I'm in the North-West in May 2013, please email me at and we'll keep you in the loop).

I'd like to say that everything has been running smoothly, but between bursts of efficiency, there has been a fair bit of unpicking, re-cutting, starting over, everyday life issues getting in the way.... and all the while, I've been riding waves of inconsolable, crippling grief, as my mother's awful illness is stealing the last of her reflexes and dignity.

I hear my mother's voice, "You just can't see the woods for the trees". (She said that to me a lot, when I was a kid.... I wonder why?)  But I know now that she showed me how to see both the woods and the trees - how to see the bigger picture and how to find my way through, tree by tree.  To throw in another cliche' or two - she also showed me how to stop to smell the roses, and taught me to count my blessings.

And so, I've been enjoying the process of seeing new ideas become reality.  I'm thanking my lucky stars for new opportunities and for the talented community of designers and crafters around me.
It's been great to work with wonderful fabrics like this one above, by CurlyPops and below, by Kristen Doran.

I appear to be fitting in a bit of theraputic garment-sewing and going out with friends, too.  Here I am in a  new pencil-skirt on High St Northcote on Saturday evening.  (Spy-photo by my friend Tracy).

I've been seen about town, wearing cowl-neck slip dresses of various shape and with various configurations of safety pins and drapery.  They're all toiles (muslins), as I try to recreate something I once did quite accidentally ...and unfortunately, pattern-free.  It's getting close to what it's supposed to be. Nearly there. No safety pins in this one.
This green is the best colour... but it's a cotton rib knit, so not too drapey and a bit clumpy on the old hemline.  Regardless, I've been swanning about in it like I'm on the set of Mad Men or something, pretending it's all glamour and couture.  I just love the green.

And I still haven't made a pattern for it.  Little Miss Freehand-Cutting is going to have fun recreating it in 'proper' fabric, huh?

Today I dropped in on an old friend, and some old work. 

When the wee girl was a wee baby, I was - as usual - trying to juggle too many things: one of them being freelance patternmaking for accessories companies like Haul.
My very small part in the work of getting these laptop sleeves to market was done at a time when I was trying to fit everything in around a highly-mobile baby who wouldn't sleep, and when I was trying to get my own fledgling business off the ground.  Haul was going through a period of growth and change then, too.  To see that these products have stood the test of time is somewhat satisfying.  It's reassuring to know that it's worth the effort to keep working through even the toughest of times, and to find one's way out of the woods.
In the ten years I've known Scott, I've seen him work tirelessly on building this fantastic business, which is based around functional, fashionable accessories made from recycled upcycled urban waste (billboards, number plates, print blankets, truck inner tubes...).   He's won awards and gone from strength to strength (and did I mention, worked really, really hard..?).  Last week, he announced that he's moving on to other things, and closing Haul.  I feel a bit sad, but at the same time, I see the bigger picture and the opportunities that lie ahead, and wish Scott every success.
(BTW - there's currently a 35%-off sale.  Last chance to get yourself a bit of Haul).

I must get back to the business of working my way through these woods... again.  If I don't manage another blog post before Xmas, please have a happy and safe one!


A Peppermint Penguin said...

topping up your hug supply.

despite the frantic and the rest, you look fantastic.

Book on!

Katy Cameron said...

Good luck navigating that woodland path, and sorry to hear about your mum (((((HUGS)))))

Breakfast Jo said...

Hi Nikki, and Happy Christmas and New Year to you and the Wee Girl.
So sad to hear about your least we have the legacy that our mothers have left us. I refer to all those time worn but true cliches. When life gets hard, hectic and down right frustrating, their gift of 'tools' to see us through those times, are always with us, and through those tools, so are they. I now know my mum lives on, her spirit and persona are 'on tap', and that is a great comfort. Your mum would want you to use those tools now. She has prepared you well. God Bless her xxx and you.

Annie said...

You look good in green, and have a great outlook. You mum will always be with you, you are living proof. Loved having a look at "Haul"

CurlyPops said...

You're a vision in apple green!
It's lovely that you can still hear your mums voice in your head at such a difficult time.

Amanda said...

You are amazing Nikki. sending a big hug your way.

Alison said...

So sorry to hear about your Mum.

I know what you mean about crippling waves of grief. I just lost my Dad suddenly and sometimes life is just unbearable.

Still, we go on. You look great in green.

Lisa M said...

Nikki, I have just caught up with your blog after over 5 weeks in hospital and wanted to let you know that I feel for you and send you, the wee girl and your family a hug and pray you will continue to find the inner strength your mother ingrained in you.
Thank you for your fabulous tips, stories, laughs and sharing this past year.
I wish you and your loved ones a happy Christmas and a successful - both personal and professional - 2013.
Cheers, Lisa M