Thursday, December 1, 2011

Random Acts of Kindness

We handmaidens are savvy business women. Capable. Driven. Focused. Multi-taskers. Boy do we work hard. And amongst the dedication to our families, homes, friendships, jobs and communities we strive towards our business goals with often unwavering determination.

But we know that sometimes, it’s not sales that we need to make. It’s more than orders that we need to do. Sometimes, it’s not things that we need to mend.

It’s hopes that we need to make.
Comforting that we need to do.
Hearts that we need to mend.

And in these times, our community really shines.

Throughout 2011 we have seen many examples of how the Australian handmade community has mobilising quickly, selflessly and without hesitation to help others in need, via the massive power of social media.

Our ability to raise funds and morale came into sharp focus in February this year when Qld and Vic were affected by severe flooding. Without missing a beat, the leaders in our community mobilised people to take action the best way we could. So we got sewing, soldering, hammering, beading, painting and pasting. We donated our time, materials and products to raise funds through auctions, or we sent items to those who needed it most; those that had lost everything.

And gee weren’t we just a little surprised and a bit chuffed at just how successful our efforts were? What an overwhelming sense of unity, pride and achievement we gained!

Now with the holiday season approaching, I encourage you to once again put some time aside and turn your hand, head and heart towards helping those in need. Actually don’t wait for the holiday season to come around; or natural disaster. You can give any time.

Here are some fantastic organisations and charities that need your help. Spend some time on your own, in a group or with your family to support these deserving causes; this holiday season and all the whole year through. Your kindness will yield the most beautiful gift of all; that beautiful feeling that comes from giving selflessly.

Name: Softies For Mirabel
Type: Handmade Softie Christmas Appeal
Get involved: Make softies! Create 1 or more. Create as an individual, group or community then send them into Meet Met At Mikes.
Beneficiaries: Supporting children orphaned or abandoned due to their parent’s drug addiction. Children in need are matched to their perfect softie to help provide emotional support.
Period: Now until 5th December 2011 More info and register:

Name: Treasured Babies
Type: Clothing and Blanket Collection
Get involved: Create handmade, size appropriate clothing for miscarried, unborn and newborn babies such as night gowns, matinee jackets, hats, booties, as well as blankets.
Beneficiaries: Supporting bereaved families to begin the grieving and healing process after losing their unborn or newborn baby; by dressing, wrapping and bonding with their child.
Period: Ongoing - all year
More info and register:

Name: Backpacks for Aussie Kids
Type: Clothing, Essentials, Blanket, Toy and Bag Collection
Get involved: Donate handmade clothes, toys and blankets for children.
Beneficiaries: Supporting children who are placed in foster or kinship care. Backpacks and nappy bags are filled with essential and personal items for Aussie kids in care to call their own; after often being removed from their homes with little to no possessions.
Period: Ongoing - all year with a special Christmas collection More info and register:

Name: The Toy Society
Type: Random Toy Drop
Get involved: The Toy Society is an Australian project which has now gone world-wide. Crafters of varying skill levels make toys and leave them as gifts in their community.
Beneficiaries: Children (or people) in your community
Period: All year round plus a special Christmas Toy drop on the last weekend before Christmas. More info and register:

This article was origionally written for and published on 'tickle the imagination'; the Christmas edition. Please click through to see this wonderful online magazine, full of crafty goodness.

{Facebook} {Website}

Cheers, Chicken

Friday, November 25, 2011

Competition in the market place: an opportunity to be awesomely different

Many of my lovely Facebook friends will know that I have been doing my craft thing online for a few years now.

Like many crafters, I tried on lots of different products and styles, looking for my niche. I found it with fabric covered books, using a process and style that I developed personally over 2 years ago. They were clearly my most popular and sought after ite
ms, and I was proud of them. PLUS I enjoyed making them. They indulged my fabric obsession.

Since taking 12 months off to have my second baby however, returning back to Chicken Ink. has been more difficult than expected. It seems that the hole I left in the market place was quickly filled, and demand for my work just wasn't what it was.

So I was left with 2 options:

A: Sulk and stand in the corner

B: Accept that things change, and see this as an opportunity to push myself creatively

I have chosen B. A just isn't in my nature; and hardly inline with what I have discussed on my other blog, The Contemporary Handmade Alliance!

The competition in the market place with like products has become a massive opportunity for me. An opportunity to push myself to be innovative and different. Although my patchwork covers are unique to Chicken Ink., I wanted to do more. And what better time than now?

Now is the time to delve deep into the creative recesses of my imagination. Pull together all my years of arts and creativity training and go in a new direction. Push myself and stretch myself.

It has been the best thing for me!

I have always thought as my book covers as mini canvases. A frame if you will; a prescribed area for creatively, contained within the boundaries of the cover dimensions. This really came forward when I started patch working my covers. And now, the next step. Using lino cuts and fabric paint along with appliqué and stitching to bring an entirely new, original style.

This style really does pull together all my training over the years. My VCE (year 11/12) consisted of Studio Arts Painting, Studio Art Drawing, Ceramics and English. So I had lots of fun and got a good basic arts training. I am so glad to now be able to put it together with my love of craft and fabric!

I am at the very start of this new direction, and your support has already been fantastic. It has really spurred me on, and encouraged me that indeed I am on the right path. Thank you.

Stay tuned with lots more new designs to come over the next weeks and months. As always, your feedback and support, dear friends, is greatly appreciated and valued.

Cheers, Chicken

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Blog Contest: Winner Announcement

Thank you so much to everyone who entered and voted on the best phrase to go with my new lino cut design. I was thrilled with the outstanding suggestions that were made; you are all truly creative people!

The winner receives $50 worth of Chicken Ink. products.

In addition, I am excited to announce that I am also awarding 2 runner up prizes; as I love all the entries that came in the top 3. Both runners up will receive a notebook with their entry hand stamped on the front.

So without further do, congratulations to our first prize winner and 2 runners up!

Stay tuned: over the next few weeks you will see these phrases start appearing on different Chicken Ink. products.

P.S. don't forget to spread the word and suggest Chicken Ink to your friends.... we are less than 100 Facebook Likers away from the 15% off store wide sale!

Cheers, Chicken

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A new blog for Chicken Ink - and a competition too

I am excited to launch my new blog for Chicken Ink. Creative. It has been long overdue and I look forward to sharing lots of great stuff with you. Things from my head and heart, tutorials, behind the scenes of C.I. and more.... what ever takes my fancy. I hope that you will enjoy it.

Blog Launch Competition
Sooooo... are you a clever wordsmith? If so, then I need you!

This sketch is the design for my next lino cut and really needs a witty, snappy phrase to go with it.

Something that explains our drive to create. Our passion for fabric. Why we stay up til 3am sewing away the night before a market. Why we can't live without being creative.

You know, something along the lines of:
  • I breath, therefore I sew
  • Craft if the new black
  • I have dye running through my veins
Do you know one, or can you create your own?

No more than 10 words if possible please. If it is not your own, please tell me who created the phrase. If it is your own, please tell me that too.

The Prize
The winner will receive up to $50 worth of products from Chicken Ink. which will be custom made PLUS the thrill of seeing their entry printed on Chicken Ink. products.

The Process
Subscribe to my blog and leave a comment with your phrase, if it is yours or someone else's and your contact email address.

I will review all entries and put my favorite choices into a poll and ask people to vote. The entry that polls the highest number of votes will be our winner!

The Rules
  • You must not represent someone else's work/phrase as your own
  • You can enter more than one phrase
  • Winner will be emailed and announced on the blog and Facebook
  • Winner to claim prize before the end of 2012
  • Entries accepted until Wednesday 16th November 2011, followed by a polling period of 3 days.

I really look forward to seeing your entries!

Cheers, Chicken

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