Sunday, April 29, 2012

and the winner is...

A huge THANK YOU to all who entered the beanie comp!  It was ace to see all your creative works and a pleasure to be able to show them off on this blog :)
There were three categories and the winner of each will receive a $50 Gift Voucher to Little Red's, so without further ado...

after getting all our customers to vote for their favourite beanie, 'Peoples' Choice' goes to... 
Feathers & Flowers by Linda!!!

Congratulations Linda!  Your use of colour, texture and outlandish style won over the greatest crowd!

'Most Creative' award goes to Melissa for this stripey little guy:

Congratulations Melissa!
'Most Autumnal' award goes to Esme Rudy for this sweet entry:
Congratulations!  Your autumn leaves look splendid in the mixed colour yarn :)

Your Gift Vouchers will be ready for you on Tuesday - message me if you'd like your sent out rather than picking it up.
To all those who didn't win, rest assured that your entries were all absolutely ace and they ALL received votes from customers!  I hope you all continue creating your wonderful beanies and look forward to even more entries next time x
P.S. Just so you know - Little Red's remained impartial during the voting process of Peoples' Choice and Most Creative - I did however select Most Autumnal :)

Friday, April 27, 2012

beanie entries: final take!

here are the last few entries we received this week - aren't they ace?  We have had lots of votes cast by shoppers and judging will take place tomorrow at 12pm so get your votes in before then!  Good luck to all the entrants and thanks for taking part!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

the crafty kitchen: ANZAC biscuits

ANZAC biscuits are delicious and however you like them - crunchy or chewy - they're easy, cheap and I think a nice way to share the ANZAC tradition with your family.  Politics and political correctness aside, I think it's important that my children know how lucky we are to live in such a great country and just what ANZAC Day represents.  So here's our little contribution to keeping tradition alive (with a few tasty tweaks):

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup self raising flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup coconut
1tsp ground cinnamon
1tsp ground ginger
150g butter, chopped
3tbs golden syrup
optional: 1/2 cup chocolate chips OR 1/2 cup sultanas, dried apple & chopped pecans

1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius and line two trays with baking paper
2. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl (except the chocolate/fruit & nuts if using)
3. Stir butter and golden syrup in a small saucepan over low heat until melted
4. Mix butter mixture gently and quickly into dry ingredients until combined (now add the optional ingredients if using and combine) 
5. Roll teaspoonfuls into balls and place on the trays, leaving 3-5cm for spreading
6. Bake for 12 - 15mins or until turning golden
7. Allow to cool on trays completely
Note: As this recipe uses self raising flour, these biscuits tend not to spread so much and stay moister in the middle.  If you like crunchy ANZAC biscuits, bake them for an extra couple of minutes.

little hands turn this ....

into this!

beanie entries: take two

these little gems were dropped in yesterday - aren't they adorable?!

silky smooth stripey Rowan beanie

dreadlocks, anyone?

feather and flowers and oh so sweet!

Monday, April 23, 2012

wild & woolly Week

What a great start to Wool Week 2012!  The weather was wild today in the hills with heavy rain, hail and thunder which only made it all the more lovely to sip on a cup of tea and play crochet with the lovely ladies who rocked up this morning.  We had a great time working on Kirsten's beanie pattern and I received a few more entries to the competition (there's still time to enter!).  Here are some pics...
Tea rose

a sweet stripey, textured beanie

a cute-as-a-button beanie for a newborn

lacy shells

a tencel cloche with purple shell button
which is your fave so far...?

Friday, April 20, 2012

feeling nostalgic Friday

I'm feeling a little nostalgic this evening, reminiscing primary school French lessons!  Here is a poem by Maurice Careme I learnt when I was 11 and it has stuck with me ever since.  It's a sweet little poem about a cat that doesn't eat mice or rats...for the rest, you'll have to think back to your French lessons or use Google Translate! 

Mon petit chat
J’ai un petit chat,
Petit comme ça.
Je l’appelle Orange.

Je ne sais pourquoi
Jamais il ne mange
Ni souris ni rat.

C’est un chat étrange
Aimant le nougat
Et le chocolat.

Mais c’est pour cela,
Dit tante Solange,
Qu’il ne grandit pas!

© Fondation Maurice Carême
Maurice Carême

Monday, April 16, 2012

megastore vs indie retailer

Today my focus is on the craft and fabric megastore, Spotlight, and its comparison to indie retailers like Little Red's.  Whether you're a newbie in the craft world or an old hat, chances are you've visited your local Spotlight store.  We all have (let's just call it our dirty little secret).  Love it?  Hate it?  Think it's a necessary evil?  Whatever your opinion, I'd like to detail some issues I feel are important and would love to know what you think.

I visited said megastore today because I wanted some sparkly yarn, and as I have a shop policy that ensures at least 90% of my yarn stock is pure wool, I have to venture out on occasion in search of items less...woolly.  I headed straight for the yarn department in search of the sparkly product and of course, I browsed their selection of yarns. 
 I must say I do get a little envious of their capacity to purchase every size, style & colour of every product - if only!  I digress.  The first thing I noticed upon seeing one of the same lines that I stock at Little Red's (an Australian brand of wool) was that they are more expensive.  And not by a few cents but by 10 - 20%.
But, how can this be, you wonder?  You would naturally assume that a megastore, with its massive purchasing and negotiating power, would offer products at or below the recommended retail price...right?  Well, not so.  And the reason for this is that they have their own brand of yarn which they sell at very cheap prices.  How?  It is manufactured overseas, mostly in China.  Oh, and did I mention that most of the yarn is made from artificial fibres?  So, naturally, they like to promote their own product over that of another manufacturer.  Usually I'd be cool with this however this seems to be very much in the same vain as the major supermarkets - they offer their own brand of internationally grown/processed product to you at a lower price, knowing that in most cases 'price' wins over 'origin' and also knowing that peoples' general lack of awareness of the latter renders them naive to the fact that they are supporting the big pay packet bosses over middle class blue collar Aussie workers.  So it seems a little unfair that they reap the reward of major sales under the misinterpretation that they are offering the best product and the best value when in fact, it is neither.
That felt like a rant and I'm sorry but it is something I feel passionate about.  My husband is a blue collar worker.  My friends are blue collar workers and I like to think that by buying Aussie made, I am helping to support my family and their families.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not immune to buying overseas products but I do try to make informed choices and make the most ethical choices I can afford.  Let's face it, it comes down to that in the end.  Sad but true.  So that's my first little tiff.  I think I was honest and fair and not too unkind.  

My second issue with said megastore is the MESS!  I resisted the urge to take photos as that would just be nasty.  But when I say mess, I mean there were bolts of fabric on the floor, fabrics unravelled and whole collections just resting against shelves.  I had to step over and around bolts of fabric to get through the department.  Not only does this look untidy and careless but surely it can't be good for the condition of the fabric?  I know I don't vacuum as much as I should and I rearrange stock during opening hours but I like to think that my little store is neat and the stock well cared for (at least the front of the shop.  the back room is my own, personal, disaster area!).

Last but not least is the lack of passion at said megastore.  When you walk into Little Red's, I hope you see all the little projects that have been lovingly made by myself and other crafters.  I hope that my friendliness and enthusiasm overshadows the stains on the carpet and clutter of the cutting bench.  And I really hope that my love of crafting shines through and that I help to inspire you in your projects.  I mean, I'm selling my stock with my personality right?  If I was a grumpy and unfriendly person with no knowledge of my stock, you'd probably never come back, right?  Well, that doesn't seem to be the case for the megastores.  Staff are passionless and often know nothing of the stock they are loading onto the shelves, but then again, why would they?  They're only employees, they haven't got their livelihoods invested and they don't have to worry about who's paying the electricity bills.  So really, who can blame them if they seem a little passionless.  But that, mixed with shiny white floors and fluorescent lights, does make for a rather unpleasant shopping experience.

Having said all that, there are some positives that mustn't go unnoticed - sometimes you get served by a really lovely cutting-bench-lady who'll give you a discount even if you left your coupon at home, a plastic bag when you forgot your eco-friendly tote and who'll apologise when you had to wait half an hour for your number to be called.  It's also nice to see new lines of your favourite brands which you might not find in your indie retailer and you do come across the occasional bargain that just can't be passed up.  There are also some pretty projects on display using the new fabric ranges and if you're after some cheap fillers for the kids' craft boxes, you'll always find something on sale.  See?  It's not all bad :)

Taking all that into account, if you are looking to try a new craft, want to see a new and complete product range or you're after some inexpensive fabrics to do a cost effective project, they do have a lot to offer.  And even after all the negative things I've written, I will still go there on occasion and won't hold it against my lovely customers if they go there too :)
I think that most of us do make the best choices we can, based on the information, money and time that we have available and next time you do visit an indie craft shop, take a second to think about why someone opened that shop.  Cos I assure you, we're not all in it for the big bucks!  We may not be able to stock everything that the megastores can, but often we can offer an alternative, point you in the right direction or even order it in for you.  And I think we counteract any shortcomings with enthusiasm, honest pricing and I like to think, general awesomeness!
Now that all of that is off my chest, I'm going to go do some crochet...with my sparkly yarn.
P.S if you happen to see a free range sparkly sheep out there somewhere, do let me know :)

Thursday, April 12, 2012


make-a-monster is by far our most popular workshop, but then, who wouldn't love designing and creating their very own freaky friend?
Here's a look at what a group got up to this week:

Workshops are nearly over for this holidays but we'll be making more monsters next time!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Wool Week 23rd - 29th April 2012

Here's the official flyer for our Wool Week celebrations!  There'll be a new shipment of wool for you to drool over, free patterns, free workshops, coffee, cake and our beanie entries will be on display for the whole week.  What a wonderful way to spend a crisp Autumn week - indulging in wool!  I hope you 'll come join us x

Friday, April 6, 2012

easter beanie inspiration

here's some Easter inspiration for your beanies :)
p.s. I hope they're coming along nicely!

this blue bunny beanie with super cute tails makes me smile :)

a sweet bunny beanie with ears, of course

his and hers chick beanies

an Easter egg beanie :)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

the crafty kitchen: easter baking

what are you up to this Easter weekend?  Are you going camping?  Visiting rellies?  Or are you staying at home to work in the garden?  My lot are having a family BBQ on Friday and as usual, I have been delegated dessert - yay!  Any excuse to make some super delicious sweets! 
Here are some sweeties I've come across this Easter season:
Little Beehive has posted a recipe for Chocolate Freckle Cookies on the Mum's Business website PLUS there's a link to free, printable tags - just in case you want to give some of  your treats away as gifts!

        White Choc and Coconut Nests

white chocolate, coconut, chocolate eggs.  YUM.  These little nests would look even sweeter atop a cupcake.

                            Mini hot cross buns
mini hot cross buns (so you can eat twice as many!)

Carrot Cake Best Ever
think I might have found a new blog to hang out on...Cake Mistress has shared this delish carrot cake recipe.  Looks like a certain bunny might get more than carrots this year ;)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

term 2 workshops

we're running lots of new and exciting workshops in Term 2, come join us for crafty fun - and a cuppa of course x

paper bird nests

this is absolutely my kinda craft! You know what would look super sweet?  Sparkly Mod Podge!  Check out how to do it at Yesterday on Tuesday

free easter fun!

the talented ladies over at We Love to Illustrate have created a bunch of free Easter printables - just for you!  Check them out and be sure to leave a comment letting the ladies know how ace they are x

Monday, April 2, 2012

tickled pink

Out of the blue the other day, I received an email from Tanya at {tickle the imagination} magazine.  Unbeknown to me, Alison from Mums Who Make had recommended our inclusion to the 'crafty escapes' section of the magazine!  It was most unexpected and after seeing it in print I am feeling super chuffed :D  
{tickle the imagination} is a relatively new Australian online magazine which showcases crafty talents from around the country.  It includes gorgeous photo shoots, fab projects and tutorials and absolutely loads of inspiration!
How nice it was of Alison to think of Little Red's and pass on our details to Tanya...How nice of Tanya to like Little Red's enough to include us in the nice of everyone involved :)  I'm just tickled pink over the whole experience x
Click here to read the latest issue of {tickle the imagination}
tickle the imagination

Sunday, April 1, 2012

easter crafts

with only a few sleeps left until Easter, it's a wonderful excuse to browse the internet for some inspiring crafts!

Martha Stewart has these lovely ideas to share...

imagine these cards with sweet vintage floral fabrics!

oooh, these botanical eggs are pretty and kinda grown-up!

then from elsewhere on the internet...
Twine eggs
twine wrapped eggs eek!  Have twine, will wrap!

YOT Easter Collection Web ex

have you got any crafty aspirations for this Easter?