been out in the garden lately and it is looking lovely with all the late blooms from flowers everywhere

camellias

detailed camellias

madonna lillies

purple rushes

stone cat hiding in violets

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Category: general
Posted by: ali
my lovely friend mel mentioned that she really loved my 30th birthday pinata. so with that in mind, i made her a mini variety for her 30th birthday!

mel pinata

it measures about 20cm, and is covered in an ombre design of fluffy tissue. it was so much fun to make!

detail of snipped tissue paper... so much cutting!

and this is the picture of the little pinata in its new home and newly puffed up!

pinata's new home

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Category: craft
Posted by: ali
i've never really been that into photography. actually, scrap that, i've never been into it at all. photography was just something that you did that helped preserve memories. with film cameras in the 80's and 90's, it was especially a case of hoping that pictures would come out more than anything, not that they were particularly good, in focus, not too dark etc.
it was only when i was around someone who was into photography and when i was taught to use a digital slr properly that i found it a bit more interesting. it is then really hard not to be drawn into the world of other types of cameras, lenses, film cameras and so on.

minolta xd5

i was loaned a minolta xd5 - my friend bought a box of old cameras and stuff from ebay and it was in this box, along with some film. so we decided to go somewhere to try it out! we drove about 3 hours to canberra when floriade (the annual flower festival) was on. unfortunately, it was an old film and therefore only 4 pictures came out, which was a bit sad. but i am not going to give up - i'm so pleased with the ones that did come out (they have such personality and distinct characteristics that you don't get with digital) that i will buy some new film and try it again!

floriade - poppies

floriade - tulips and pansies

camellia

purple daisies

that, unfortunately, is it. but it will not be the last of me using the xd5!

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Category: general
Posted by: ali
so this is the final chapter of this - sorry it has taken so long! but here we go.... this one is going to be image-heavy, be warned, and i shall try my best not to be too verbose.... already being too verbose you say?? :)

my lovely and very talented cake-making friend prue dropped off my cake in the morning, then i went to get my hair all pretty, came home to a gorgeous flower arrangement that my mum had had delivered, then it was go-go-go time! so... here we go! a whole half year of preparations and this is it!

beautiful cake!

flowers from my mum

box courtesy of my best friend, worked perfectly as a plinth for the cake!

table empty

the "tablecloth" out of book pages took a good few books and well over an hour to make - though never fear, i only used reader's digest abridged versions of classics, which i didn't feel too bad about ripping apart (since, you know, it wasn't like a REAL classic). while everything was set up, i was putting on my makeup - i had this amaaaaazing costume glitter from america for eyeshadow, and these awesome falsies! then i was running around organising food...

amazing hair - very talented hairdresser!

make-up

laying things out

in hindsight that came just after i had put my dress on, laying food out on the table was not the best idea in my finery. but too late now! i was already running a little late!

table full!

amazingly beautiful cake by prue

ok i'm just going to put the rest after the jump - please keep going, i promise i'll stop talking!

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Category: general
Posted by: ali
as with most of my parties, there is an emphasis on desserts. i do have a sweet tooth yes, and it does tend to go down nicely with bubbly hehe. and as with all years, i catered all the food myself.

this was no mean feat - i took time off work and cooked relentlessly until my back was aching. not being one to do things by halves, i had a menu of 9 things i wanted to make. i did fall short of this by one, but it wasn't for lack of trying - the one i missed was macarons, which sadly did not make it off the baking tray... quite literally! they got stuck!!

i had printed out the recipes and set out a time schedule. first up: meringues! i love making meringues - they are easy, tasty and last for ages. they are also so pretty-looking!

meringue

meringues in the oven

finished yummy meringues

these were actually the best meringues i have made... from a laduree recipe and soooooo gooey and delicious in the middle.

next up was cheesecake brownies. these are a favourite of my brother's so i had to hide them from him until the day or they would have started "disappearing". luckily, you can freeze them and the freezer was a great place to hide them!

third on the menu was orange and passionfruit yo-yos... one of my favourites. oh the combination of orange and passionfruit in a sweet little treat is just so delectable!!

orange and passionfruit yo-yos work in progress

finished yo-yos - just need icing

i will understand if this is making you too hungry to continue... but please, do read more!

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Category: general
Posted by: ali
deciding on a theme and invites was only the first step in this process... along with it came deciding on a singular "look" for the decorations. being a crafty person, i love going nuts with the decorations, but bringing it back to one "look" is always tricky. deciding on colours usually helps, and i went with pink, gold and white with the addition of old book pages.

the first thing that i chose to make was a giant "30" pinata. I originally wanted to hang it out the front of the house but after all the work that went into it, it was far too valuable to risk someone pinching it! i must apologise for the dodgy phone photos - i'm not very good at remembering to take progress photos... the first step was to make a cardboard 3D 3 and 0

cardboard 3

no pictures of the 0 (again, forgetful), but it seemed a lot harder than the 3 to make out of card (winding a long piece of card between two 0 shapes was not as easy as i had anticipated). after that, i papier mache'd the joins together to make sure they stayed, then i gave the whole thing a coat of undercoat, just in case any of the newspaper used in the papier mache showed through. then began the very long process of cutting... i used a fabric paper - it was a lot tougher than tissue paper, not as annoying as crepe paper. so i cut out these long strips, folded them in half and proceeded to snip them. it took a very long time... i cannot begin to explain how looooong it took! i watched movies, tv shows, got through most of the hunger games trilogy on audio book while still cutting. then came the gluing process. at first i started at the top, then realised that that was a rookie mistake - it is easier to lay the strips on top than it is to push them up underneath. so i changed my process and it was much faster.

ruffles

all the way around the 3, and then a final trim and i was done!

trimming

and, of course, the final product:

30 pinata

i would suggest if anyone is wanting to do something like this, maybe get a group of friends to help with the snipping, or just allow extra time for snipping and fiddling around. yes they look awesome, but it was work. luckily next year i only need to add a 1!! much easier!!

i then had an idea in my mind that i wanted to have a main central table, with other little tables and chairs dotted around. this required getting extra tables from ikea, and i got 4 of the lack tables because they are cheap and useful. not the easiest to paint, however, as i found out after another long and fairly painful process. first step, choosing an amazing colour! ohhhh which hot pink to choose?! in the end, i went with 'cheeky'

choosing paint colour

i figured a good sanding, using some good undercoat, 3 coats of paint and two coats of polyurethane would make a tough painted surface. oh, was i wrong! i went through so much paint having to fix up scrapes - the tiniest touch to the paint and it would come off. but in the end, all was right. i added little caps in gold paint to the end of the legs (next time, i think i'd paint them all gold, it was so much easier to use!!)

painted legs

keep on reading for more! (things get easier, i promise!)

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Category: general
Posted by: ali
hello!
i am aware that i have not updated my blog in ages. to be honest, the reasons are so boring (not enough time, nothing to tell, etc).
however... all this is about to change. it was my 30th birthday this year and, like previous years, it was time to throw a bash, get crafty (and cook-y) and basically go crazy on a concoction of glue, sugar and wine!
i had seriously been planning this since january - deciding on a theme (and trying to limit myself to just one!), decorations, working out the food, guest list, my own attire, the invitations, the music and so on and on.

i would normally say "first, the invitations". but i had decided my theme (mostly) around january, and had kind of worked out what i needed in terms of furniture, some decorations and so on. i decided some trips to second hand shops and ikea were needed, as well as some (... a lot of) online purchasing. i think the postman is probably sick of delivering parcels to my house now, i ordered so much stuff! (more on this in the next post)

so with a theme finally set, and envelopes and paper having arrived from around the world, it was time to start on invitations.

invite in envelope

the theme i ended up with was 30: a good vintage. i thought that was very fitting for my love of vintage, my desire to wear a beautiful 50s dress at least once in my life, and also the feeling of getting better as i get older. as for the invitations, i originally decided that i wanted to hand-letter the actual invite in ink, but the result was not what i was after - it was not clean enough and there were a few areas i didn't like. so i drew the same thing out in illustrator, added a few bits and pieces, and it turned out so much better.

A4 invite

in the frame, i combined some art deco and nouveau elements, and used a multitude of fonts in the invite itself (including one of my own) to create something a bit whimsical.

the whole invite package also came with a dress code and rsvp card which was all bundled up using a strip of vintage wallpaper

invite pack

read on for the rest of the details!

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Category: general
Posted by: ali
oh my first update to my website in a little while went very smoothly!!

check it out: alisonrichards.net

as promised in my previous post, there are pics of my new illustrations, including the one that's featured in ammo magazine:

feathering in ammo

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Category: illustration
Posted by: ali
today is the first day of summer.
it wasn't a particularly nice day though, but i thought i would compile my list of my favourite things about summer in readiness for when it does arrive properly - with sunshine, blue skies and the like!

summer list

i have also recently completed a few drawings. i don't want to give too much away, as some of them are to be printed, so here's a quick look now. as soon as the magazine has been released, i'll update my website!

beekeeper detail

read on, read on!

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Category: illustration
Posted by: ali
after many years of dating, my friend jac finally got married to her long-time boy.

jac not-so-subtly hinted that she would like a chair from me, so i decided that i would make her one for her wedding present.

i spent a very long time scouring ebay and gumtree for a chair until i finally found something suitable! it would appear that the demand for nice single vintage chairs has gone up, since they were always too expensive or just plain ugly or too new. so it did surprise me that i ended up finding one i really liked, considering what else was out there. i have a few things i look for when i'm after a chair: 1. it has to be less than $40. i don't see much point in buying a chair for $100 only to have to spend lots of time stripping it back and buying upholstery fabric/stain/other embellishments. plus, if i mess it up, i don't feel quite as bad! also, i like the idea of taking something really cheap and turning it into something beautiful. if it's $100 and already a beautiful chair, then it's not really a challenge. which leads into 2. it has to be somehow different - i like things with a bit of quirk. and 3. it has to have enough wood or upholstery to allow me to change it. this one definitely had all 3, and it satisfied point 2 by having an almost completely circular base, two different style legs (front and back) and an oddly shaped round back.

so with all that in mind, i bought this wooden chair covered in hideous thick green paint. unfortunately, however, i got too excited about the prospect of stripping the paint off that i didn't take a "before" photo. very annoyed! so instead, this is how the chair looked after stripping the seat of the horrible green paint (which covered the whole chair but was flecking off in places to reveal thick white paint).

chair before

and this is what it looked like after... well, sort of (yes, i wrapped a chair!)

chair after - wrapped

see more photos, including how the chair actually looked, after the jump...

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Category: furniture
Posted by: ali