Monday, May 28, 2007

Mosaic Monday: I heart Flickr

This is the latest snap shot of a few of my current Flickr Favorites. Flickr is a great Web2 social networking/sharing site that has so many great uses especially for us creative types.

I use Flickr not only to store my images and get to know lots of great creative people from all over the world, but also to research images. I tell people "forget google image search" for most things Flickr is going to be so much more useful. The reason for this is that Flickr with its massive online community allows users to both rename (to change them from xxx29846.jpg) and tag photos (eg horse, brown, animal etc), which most images on the web are not.

I most often use Flickr to search for images connected to my work as Frank Theatre's design dramaturge, my last big search I made was for images referring to Voodoo (did you know there exists Voodoo Donuts? something I discovered). Otherwise, collecting beautiful and amusing images in my Flickr favourites is a frequent passtime.

If you're an arts/craft person and not yet on Flickr then hurry up and join, its free and very addictive :)

Shula of Poppalina started a group called Mosaic Monday that uses fd's Flickr Toys to make a photo mosaic online. The image above is created there and then sent to my flickr account, I then post it to the Mosaic Monday group for others to see. Making groups is another useful feature of Flickr. Shula also recently created a Breakfast Sunday group...but I didn't join because I thought endless photos of my vegemite on toast might get a bit monotonous...(lol)

So here's to Flickr my favourite social networking site after blogging :D

Image list:

1. kitty, 2. William the Third, 3. Toro, 4. group pic, 5. Buttons for Jason, 6. Crane, 7. Snap- version 2, 8. the bench, 9. custom order - plushie

Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

TechGnoMe Mini have arrived!

TechGnoMe Mini have been patiently waiting their turn to jump off the toy shelf. They are the little sister of TechGnoMe Original that was launched last year. My good friend Liana Kabel aka Plastic Girl and her whole family fell in love with them and I had repeated requests for a mini series to accompany TechGnoMe Original. So I went back to the drawing board and tinkered away until a perfect companion was designed.

Standing only 14cm or 5 1/2 inches tall, new features include a re-designed tassel and sewn face with rim in matching hi-gloss wool as well as new colours and combinations. Speaking of combinations....the possibilities seem endless! So every TechGnoMe Mini combination has been given a special name. As a dedication to Plastic Girl - "If it Looks like a Lolly I Like it", I've named them all after lollies!! In Flying Star Toys on Etsy you'll currently find the four TechGnoMe Mini in the photo above. They are from left to right: Strawberry Bonbon, Boysenberry Taffy, Jelly Bean and Sunshine Musk. Like their big sister they are super lucky and super happy friends from the Virtual Magic Forest.

Do you remember the TechGnoMe song? Sing along if you know it!

"TechGnoMe, TechGnoMe,
As far as I can see,
I see TechGnoMe!"

PS: a little reminder, the Free Postage launch special is now in its last week! xx

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

I Owe it All to My Mum - practice makes perfect

Last Weekend was Mother's Day and I spent the day with my mum on Gold Coast having lunch and picking up lots of great fabrics, felts and embellishments from her shop, Laraine's on Capri. My mother has run a craft shop for over 20 years and it's from her that I have the wonderful ability to make things with fabric.

The heart above is one of her many designs that she package as kits. She also holds workshops teaching silk ribbon embroidery and elegant crazy patchwork. As you can see her work is immaculate and has been published in books on silk ribbon embroidery.

One of the most valuable lessons she taught me was to be conscious of the neatness of my stitches. When I was younger I would watch what my mum made and tried my best to copy. One year it was mum's birthday, I had secretly made her a cross stitch rose bookmark. I was very proud of myself because I had taught myself to do it and knew it would be a big surprise. Mum was very surprised to see what I had made her, but when she turned it over she saw how messy my stitches were on the back and then promptly told me the way it should be done so that all the stitches on the reverse when up and down in neat rows. I must admit to being a bit crest fallen...but it was that attention to detail that has stuck with me through all these years. Without her advice I might never had looked for ways to correct my work - this has been so useful in so many areas that I've had to forgive her ;)

(Flying Star Toys on Etsy update: 2 new Snow Walkers available in new colours Pistachio and Blueberry Ice)

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Safe and Sound Mice - Hanging Charm Toy

Many of my toys hang in someway. Safe and Sound Mice is a new twist on the hanging toy. In fact, Safe and Sound Mice are two naughty mice that have been hung up by the tail! Now that they've been captured all is well in the house.

Those of you with cats might know the frustration of trying to be rid of the furry little toys one's cat proudly brings in. These cunning little mice get loose and, finding the new environment well stocked with provisions, usually proceed to make camp without asking permission of the current occupants. Happy is the day when the mice are chased out or, unfortunately for them, find The Cat only too willing to wait for another personal appointment.

Safe and Sound Mice are also apart of my study of folk charms and understanding the desire to keep luck, attract luck or prevent bad luck. Safe and Sound Mice signify a desire to keep bad things at bay by having them tied up, by representing them as already captured and thus under control. Who wouldn't want to have a mouse problem under control? But of course it's not just mice but anything that might be worrying the owner.
Safe and Sound Mice are embroidered with sashiko cotton thread on an oatmeal coloured cotton/linen. Premium Japanese fabrics with textured weave are used on the reverse side. The hanging tail joining them is crocheted wool of three types (the blue strand had been hand dyed in natural indigo). Each mouse is approximately 19cm or 7 1/2 inches long, also the length when hanging from top of loop to tip of nose is approximately 72cm or 28 inches.

Do you know anyone naughty who needs stringing up? ;) Safe and Sound Mice are now available at Flying Star Toys on Etsy.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Flying Star Toys on Etsy!

Flying Star Toys in now on Esty!!!

I'm pleased to announce that Flying Star Toys has taken its first steps online. After realising how much I still need to learn about web development (yikes!) I thought it might be best to start off with an Esty shop to get the ball rolling.

This month I'm offering free shipping on all items and 25% off to any of my previous customers (if that's you just email me first :)

I've had to make several important decisions over the past months about how much time I wish to devote to the toy making/designing part of my practise. Consigning toys at retail outlets has never been very profitable mainly due to the very high prices the toys had to be sold for. I've decided that instead of stocking stores Flying Star Toys will mainly be an online business from now on. The good thing about it is that I've been able to *slash* my prices.

So now all my toys are much more affordable!!! This makes me feel much better. Another benefit of been an online business is that I can send Flying Star Toys into the world with all the little extras that tell the story of what Flying Star Toys is all about.

Like the Flying Star Toys Manifesto:

Flying Star Toys connects the fast paced modern age with our ancient dreaming psyche. To bring joy to the weary heart, to be a light in the darkness, and to be a vision of compassion is what it means to be a Flying Star.

The manifesto guides my work and all of my toy designs reflect these sentiments. I strive to make unique toys for the development of the imagination for this reason I describe Flying Star Toys as Imagination Technology (tm). I hope to tell you more about Imagination Technology a bit later.

But for now, why now have a little look at the new shop. New work will be available for sale when I launch a new toy on WindBag and Thunder from now on. You might have to be quick however...I know the fabulous (and sneaky) Shula of Poppalina has already bought all three Snow Walkers I had available!

Thank-you for your support Shula, and thank-you to everyone for your continuing comments and thoughts here on WindBag and Thunder. xx