Sunday, November 30, 2008

Fashion Awards and finally, some new items

I'm stoked to let you know that I was shortlisted for the 2threads Fashion Awards in the category of Best Women's Fashion Designer. Please vote for me if you think I deserve it. Click the image below to visit the voting page.

Thanks to whoever nominated Heidi & Seek!

In other news, I have ended my listing drought and put up four new items in my Etsy shop. My favourite is the last dress. Good for twirling. Everyone needs a dress you can twirl in. Yes, even the guys. Although they'll have to shop around because this one probably won't fit them. Gosh, it's been a long day and I'm talking nonsense. On with the show..

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Consumption Rebellion

Yesterday I stumbled across the Facebook blog network. I made a profile on it for Heidi and Seek and Ethical Fashion which you can join here if you're a fellow Facebooker.

Through the network I came across a fantastic blog called Consumption Rebellion. It's written by a mother of two and is about her experiences in ethical purchasing and awareness.

It's full of practical ideas about ethical living. Her latest post included a fascinating Youtube video, 'The Good Consumer', which you can view below.

The irony is so well done. It reminds me of 1984 by George Orwell. Except it's not narrating the distant future, it's about now. I find that incredibly creepy. It gives me a sad picture of the world.

However, I do think that the situation is not quite as bleak as the video suggests. It talked about how outcasted people are who don't follow fashion trends. In the cities of Melbourne and Sydney, at least, this isn't always the case. I know it must be more difficult in rural areas to feel able to stand out. I don't know if that will change but I do know that people can make individual choices.

You can choose to follow the crowd or you can choose to be original and stand up for your beliefs. I think that anyone who dresses well in current fashion can translate that good taste to ethical fashion.

The video was posted by Make Wealth History, a great site for learning about some of the issues surrounding ethical consumerism.

Friday, November 28, 2008

SALE and h&s update

I've just reduced the price of a bunch of stock in my Etsy shop. Here are my favourites from the sale items, both 50% off:

Check it out here.

I have a lot of other stock waiting to be photographed and uploaded. I was going to tackle it today, but Ellie is home from daycare with a slight temperature so it'll have to be done on the weekend or next week. She has barely noticed that she's sick and has been happily making drawings since she got home.

I'm going to stagger the new listings over the next few weeks. You can have a sneak peek at the ones that have already been photographed here. In the meantime I'll be working on a collection of pieces that will be made to order in the usual sizes. To help me out, soon I'll post a survey for you guys to let me know what you like and don't like.

I'm also in the process of moving my studio into part of our living room for extra space. It's been half-done for a couple of weeks now because I started the day before Jeffrey's stroke, and so it's been on hold. I've been helping mum out or going over there in all my usual working hours.

My to-do list is getting longer and longer. Hopefully it will settle down soon.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


In my absence I was featured on a couple off great e-destinations.

From the kick-ass blog Miss Malaprop, big thanks to Mallory, who featured Heidi and Seek the other day. Have a looksee here. The blog's tagline is "indie finds for your uncommon life". Plus part of their bio reads "where modern handmade meets sustainable design". I was pretty much sold and added the blog to my reader immediately.

And a huge thanks to Justine for featuring Heidi and Seek in the online ethical fashion e-zine, Check it out here. Conscientious Shopper is a great site for finding those elusive ethical fashion labels.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I'll miss you

My dad died last Monday. The bleed in his brain was too severe to fix. I held his hand while his life support was removed and his heart stopped. Then they wheeled him away to start the process of organ donation. It was the most painful moment of my life, but I'm glad I was there with him.

I feel like a part of me is missing. He taught me so much. He's the reason I am who I am today.

The funeral was packed with people he knew who were bewildered and sore like us. I got to know Jeffrey a bit better at the service. I learnt about his life outside his family, which he never really talked much about. He had touched people throughout his life and I had no idea just how much. It was so nice to hear.

I wanted to say a tribute to him as well. I felt that it was important that people know the kind of father he was to me, the kind of admirable person he was in my eyes. Here is what I said:
I always thought I’d scored pretty lucky when it came to my dad. When I was younger we sometimes had our differences, usually when I wanted to be frivolous and he recommended I exercise caution instead. But I felt that he respected my opinions. Particularly as I got older I felt like an equal with him, despite that he’d tell you he usually “won” in our disagreements.

I believe he had the perfect mix. He was encouraging and endlessly considerate. He’d go out of his way for me in a heartbeat, even if it meant getting out of bed at 3AM to pick me up from somewhere. He was practical and stubborn, and often inserted a wry dad joke at just the right moment. Plus, he didn’t mind when I started calling him Jeffrey, which I thought was pretty cool.

Mum often told me that I was his “little pet”, meaning that I was very similar to him and that he and I shared a special relationship where we just seemed to understand each other and agree on most things. I always smiled inside when she said it because I’m proud to be like him.

Jeffrey was the kind of parent I aim to be for my daughter Ellie. I’m so grateful he taught me that. I’m glad that he met and knew and loved her. I remember in his speech at his 60th, earlier this year, he said that Ellie was the new love of his life and that made my heart soar. I’m so glad I was able to make his life better through her.

I wish she would have known him like I do. But I’m going to do my best to make sure that the things that he instilled in me will be instilled in Ellie, too: strength, integrity, kindness and good judgment.

I’m going to tell her stories about him and show her pictures. I’ll tell her that he loves her still. We will not forget him.
I know that for some people, the way they can best cope with grief is by putting the deceased out of their mind. For me, I want to remember, even though it hurts. I'm letting the tears do what they want.

Now that he's gone the only thing I can do for him is honour his life. I can laugh at the funny memories and smile at the nice ones. I can remember the lessons he taught me. I can tell people about what an exceptional person he was. How he made people feel valued and was respected where ever he went. How he was a family man and put us before himself. How he was always wise and straight-forward. How he was witty and made me laugh.

I can keep his memory close to my heart. That's what he would have wanted.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The worst day of my life

On Saturday my 60 year-old dad had a sudden stroke. The night before he was laughing and joking with my mum, and the next morning he was being carted out unconscious by an ambulance with a huge bleed in his brain, and he hasn't regained consciousness since. It's very serious and they are quite sure he won't make it. We've spent the majority of the past two days at hospitals, talking organ donation, brain death, blood pressure, hope and memories.

I wish I could have said goodbye and that I love him. He is still with us, but not. Without the machines he wouldn't be with us. He is being monitored to see how we should proceed. It would take a miracle for him wake up, and even then he would probably have major brain damage.

I just wanted to let you know that I'll be absent from the blog for a while until things aren't so stressy and terrible. I hope no one else has had to deal with something like this. It feels like something that only happens to "other people". I'm in a constant state of surrealism.

Please, guys. Tell your loved ones that you love and appreciate them. Even if you think they already know, or you feel weird about saying it. You'll regret it if you don't.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

About you, about me

I'm afraid I'm too exhausted right now to do part two of the sustainability expo. So instead I wanted to let you know that I've added an 'about' section to this blog, in which I talk about myself and the reason I'm here writing to you fine folks. I backdated the post so it won't appear on blog readers, but if you'd like to read it it's here.

In the spirit of getting to know each other better, we want YOU to tell us about you, too. What do you do and enjoy, love and despise?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Sustainability Expo: Part 1

On Sunday there was a Sustainability Expo at my local town centre. Good fun, good info.

There was a stall run by fair trade local label Etiko. I thought their presence was great. They sell clothing, footwear and sportsballs, and let's just say they are incredibly inspiring in terms of ethical business. They won the Victorian Premiers Sustainability Award for 2008, as well as the Sensis Social Responsibility Award at the 2008 Telstra Business Awards. (Don't you just love when sponsor brand names are just stuck in the title of events and places?) I'll do more of a write up on Etiko soon.

Tim was particularly interested in electric bicycles - a quick and energy-saving alternative to driving and public transport. Why doesn't he just ride a regular bike, you ask? Because it's too long a ride when the roads between home and his work are riddled with huge hills. He's done it a few times but only had the energy to go one way for the day. The bike isn't within our budget for the moment, but it'd be nice when we have some extra cash.

I bought this book, The Conscious Cook by Giselle Wilkinson, while Ellie munched on a free banana.

The auther, Giselle, manned the stall and talked to me for a little while about sustainability and the contents of her book. It has pretty much everything you would want to know about eating ethically without being complicated. It's divided into parts: recipes, how what you eat affects you, how it affects the world and what you can do about it.

Giselle talked about the idea that there are so many things to look for when choosing ethical products - fair trade, water use, carbon emissions, and so on - that we should choose the ones that are most important to us and work toward making those issues prevalent in our purchasing. I loved this sentiment because it acknowledges that we are human and can't be perfect in every area.

The book is $34.95RRP and available in good bookstores and from the Conscious Cook website. Highly recommended.

I still have lots to share about the expo, so part 2 of this post will be coming tomorrow. Stay tuned. Also! I've added four items, skirts and a vintage blazer, to my Etsy shop. Check 'em out check 'em out.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Why buy handmade?

Buy Handmade Video from Etsy on Vimeo.

There's a handmade revolution going on. Check out to find out why and to make a pledge to buy handmade for the holidays.

I buy handmade because:
  • I'd much rather support the creative minds of individuals rather than making large companies richer
  • I can find great recycled or upcycled items, which is much better for the environment
  • I can find truly unique and beautiful goods for myself and for family and friends
  • Handmade gifts are more meaningful and special
  • I trust handmade sellers more than I do big business
  • I can contact the maker directly and have things custom made
  • There's something for every style or mood
Check out my Etsy favourites for some gorgeous gift inspiration for the holiday season. Or, since it can be a bit more expensive to shop USD, here are some Australian online handmade stockists:

Madeit (AU)
Georgie Love (AU)
Leeloo (AU)

And if you'd rather buy in person, this thread on the Talk Made It forum lists where you can find shops that stock handmade all over Australia.

Happy holiday shopping!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Ethical Fashion Australia on Facebook (and Twitter)

I'm going to be all social network site-y today.

Firstly, I've created a group on Facebook called Ethical Fashion Australia. It's mainly there to share ethical fashion shopping labels and stockists in Australia. If I also inform a few people about issues in the fashion industry that they didn't know about, it's a bonus. I know it can be hard to search for and find ethical labels, so I hope to take the fuss out and put them in one easy-to-reach place. There's not a lot there at the moment, because I don't have hours to spend searching for them. I'm hoping for some kind souls to help me grow it. So if you have any suggestions that aren't on the list, please send it to me. Although, I won't be adding organic or eco-friendly labels unless they are also sweatshop-free.

Join, be merry and share your thoughts on ethical fashion: Ethical Fashion Australia.

This wasn't the most relevant image to use for the group, but I don't have anything else that I have the rights to. If you have a better idea or are skilled with graphics or art please shoot it my way. I'll give you a big fat plug. (Also if you're wondering, this is one of the few dresses I made and kept. Because it's pretty.)

Secondly, have you heard of Twitter? It's a community of mini-blogs with mini-updates, good for networking and communicating. You post 140 character or less updates, sort of like Facebook status updates. I have just signed up. Here's my profile:

You can follow people's "tweets", respond to them and search for people with the same interests as you. I've also added a Twitter widget to my blog, so you can see my latest five Twitter updates on my sidebar. It's cute.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I'd like to introduce you to People Tree

People Tree is the "Fair Trade fashion pioneer". Not to be confused with the label Free People... or maybe that's just me. They're based in the UK. They have an online store, but their products are only stocked in stores in the UK and Europe, pooh. I completely aspire to their level. People Tree are way ahead of every Australian label that I know of, in terms of doing good for the world. I would love to follow in their footsteps by starting a similar thing in Australia, but for now that's just a pipe dream.

Let me explain.

They care about garment worker ethics as well as using sustainable processes for making the products. As they put it (much more eloquently), "For every beautiful garment People Tree makes, there's an equally beautiful change happening somewhere in the world."

Most of the cotton is fair trade and organic, and all of the dyes used are safe and natural. They source locally and choose natural materials over synthetics. They reduce their carbon emissions by employing handcraft techniques rather than machinery.

They work with 50 fair trade groups in 15 different countries in order to benefit as many people as possible. The groups are involved not just in making the products, but in crop growing, dyeing, weaving and more. To provide as much trade as possible, People Tree prefer to design items with extra features and employ techniques done by hand instead of machine, like weaving, knitting and embroidery.

Here's an excerpt from their site, about one of the communities they are helping:
If you're born to the 'pode' caste in Nepal, you are expected to clean the sewers and streets of the areas inhabited by higher castes. In return, you will be paid a pittance - sometimes no more than scraps of left-over food.

The Kumbeshwar Technical School in Kathmandu provides education, vocational training, and then paid employment to these most underprivileged of people. In the six years since People Tree became involved with KTS, the group of knitters and dyers has grown from 15 to over 240.

People use the money they earn to educate their children at the KTS primary school (which People Tree funds 50% of), which is something that they could never have dreamed of previously.

One knitter, Laxmi, describes it like this; "People Tree's orders are vital to KTS, to me, my family, my colleagues and grass-roots female producers in my country. Fair Trade orders empower these people socially and economically and mean we can educate ourselves and our children. Knowing this inspires me to work hard. I wish and pray for the success of Fair Trade fashion and People Tree."
I was captivated by the words on their site. They are plentiful and inspiring. I love that they are so open about their supply chain and their practices. They have nothing to hide. That is so refreshing when many labels withhold their suppliers, preferring to shield themselves from the blame in case one of the many levels is found out to be unethical.

The next time I need something I can't find second-hand I'm shopping there despite the expense.

Here are some items I'd love to own:

jute weekend bag
(If this wasn't sold out I would be insisting that I get it for Christmas)

They also stock accessories, menswear, kidswear and and some home products. Check it out: People Tree

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Our great green globe feature

There's an interview with yours truly over at Our Great Green Globe, a blog "dedicated to highlighting the small companies and artists trying to make a difference". Lots of eco-friendly Etsy shops have been featured there, so if you're looking for green handmade lovelies, have a browse.

Check out the interview here.

Monday, November 3, 2008

I feel for you

I have some news for you that you're going to like: I have significantly reduced the price of everything in my Etsy store. It's not a sale. It's a reflection of the current exchange rate between the Australian and US dollars.

I re-costed every item based on a new pricing spreadsheet, then calculated the conversion from AUD to USD. And that's what the current Etsy prices show. My previous prices were based on the exchange rate when I started, when the Australian dollar was very comparable to the US dollar.

This means that my Etsy heidi and seek garments are affordable for Aussies, and even more so for US residents. I'm going to keep an eye on the exchange rate, and my Etsy prices will reflect it, so Aussies can constantly get a fair deal.

I also have some new items to share with you, available from my Etsy shop:

And if you want to buy something, snap it up today to take advantage of the free shipping offer. Finishes early tomorrow!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Animal testing for cosmetics

Due to lab testing, "one animal dies every second in the US, in Japan every 2 seconds, and in the UK every 12 seconds" (source: Choose Cruelty Free). Over six million animals were experimented on in Australia in 2004 (source: AAHR). Although this figure doesn't address the severity of the experiments, it's still a staggering amount. Shouldn't animals have the right to live without this kind of exploitation, as we do?

The animals used for testing are: dogs, preferably beagles for their docility and easily maintained hair, cats, monkeys, mice, rats, rabbits, sheep and pigs.

image credit: quetxal

Animal rights organisations argue with those in the medical field about whether the testing is necessary. One one hand, humans and animals are biologically different, so the animal testing results can be irrelevant to us, and many of the testing results gathered have been ineffective. However, drugs have the potential to be harmful to humans if not tested first.

I'm not a scientist. I don't know who's right. But I do know that cosmetics are tested on animals as well as drugs. Animal testing for cosmetics is unnecessary, and proof of that is simply that vegan cosmetics are on the market, and nobody's died. Although cruelty-free drug options don't exist, cruelty-free cosmetics definitely do. I prefer to purchase those products and I encourage you to do the same. Here's why:

  • They're available at a number of different price points and some brands are very inexpensive.
  • For most items of cosmetics you buy, there is a vegan alternative.
  • If you care about animals, take a stand and show it by choosing not to endorse unnecessary animal testing for cosmetics.
  • They aren't necessarily hard to find. You can find cruelty-free cosmetics at your local supermarket.
  • The products not tested on animals aren't in any way inferior. I love my Nature's Organics shampoo a lot more than the Sunsilk and Pantene I previously used.
It's a simple way to make an ethical difference. Visit (AU) or (INT) for lists of accredited cruelty-free cosmetics. Another thing to note is that although product might state 'This product is not tested on animals', they may be sneakily hiding the fact that the ingredients were tested on animals. Check it on one of those sites first.

Here's a short list of Australian, widely-available cruelty-free make up brands:
Face of Australia

And cruelty-free hair care:
De Lorenzo
Organic Care
Nature's Organics

Body care:
Thursday Plantation
Nature's Organics

I also have to mention that, despite their reputation, The Body Shop lost its CCF accreditation: something to do with the L'Oreal takeover in 2006, perhaps. It seems they follow the animal-testing practices of their parent company now.

If you can't find a particular product in a cruelty-free version, Google it. There's a wealth more information available. I found a lot of the answers to my questions by searching the Vegetarian and Vegan Society of Queensland forum.

For more info:
Choose Cruelty Free
Caring Consumer
AAHR Medical research fact sheet

And if you're interested, I use:
Nature's Organics shampoo and conditioner - available at most supermarkets
Innoxa Satin Sheen Natural Finish Makeup - I love how light it is. Gives me a smoother complexion and looks like I'm wearing nothing at all.
Innoxa eye liner pencil - from a pharmacy
Thursday Plantation roll-on deoderant - I got this from a pharmacy, I think
Red Seal Natural toothpaste - available at supermarkets
Nature's Organics sorbolene cream - available at most supermarkets or pharmacies

Saturday, November 1, 2008

New listings and new online shop

I've been neglecting my Made It shop. I wanted to wait until they'd sorted out their technical difficulties before I started listing a lot there. But I decided to start again so that fellow Australians won't have to consider the expensive status of the current exchange rate by buying from my Etsy shop. It would have given an option to shop in Australian dollars. Unfortunately, the tech issues still exist and didn't allow me to list.

So instead I'd like to introduce to you 2threads. It's an Australian "social network with style", and they've recently included the option to set up your very own 2threads shop. Leeloo is already there, so I've hopped aboard as well to give Aussies more reasonable pricing.

If you're at all interested in fashion, go set up a 2threads profile. You can view photos, add your own, mark others as inspirations, check out the blog and browse the items for sale. Or set up a shop. You can sell your second-hand items, too. Speaking of items for sale, here's the garments I listed in my brand spanking new 2threads shop.

Plus, check out my profile and spread some love.

And no, I haven't forgotten Etsy. Here are the new listings in my Etsy shop.

Halloween costume

I had an email problem with switching my web hosting. For Thursday and Friday all my emails were bounced and I didn't get them. But it's up and running now, so please re-send if you emailed me something.

With that boring bit out of the way, here is my halloween costume from yesterday. I forgot we were going to a party until earlier that day, so I improvised with things from my closet.

And then I realised that the full skirt wasn't in the picture, hence this stupid pose:

Top: Vintage hand-me-down from mum
Red skirt and coffee-coloured skirt: both from Thailand

The random assortment of jewellery is part of my old and rarely worn collection, gathered from far and near.

I adore this multicoloured necklace. I bobby-pinned it in my hair for this look, which I heart so much that I might wear it regularly, too. I got it from Chiang Mai in Thailand. There's a lovely market there that lines the streets and includes an abundance of gorgeous jewellery. I came home with far more than I should have because it was during my spendaholic days.

Anyway, then Tim got home with Ellie and improvised his costume. It's probably a good thing I don't have pictorial evidence. He was dressed as a nerdy university academic, complete with white socks with sandals, shorts, stationery in his pocket and 'accidental' pen on his face. I was so inspired by his attention to detail that I thought my costume didn't have enough depth to it, so I tied a scarf around my head and hung a child-size skeleton arm we had lying around to one of my necklaces. Yes, just lying around.

It's actually part of a skeleton statue that Tim recieved as a Christmas gift. The arm of it fell off when we last moved. It sounds weird and it really is. I didn't have any pictures of me wearing it because we were rushing out the door.

Creepy, huh? I was a pirate wench or a gypsy. Or a gypsy pirate wench.

What did you get up to for Halloween?