Posts Tagged ‘garden and greenery’

Plant now for spring

Thursday, June 15th, 2017

If you love a spring feast of broad beans, now’s the time to get planting – and Big Bunny has a colourful new treat for bean fans!

Red Hughy broad beans have stunning scarlet flowers instead of the more usual white – a gorgeous splash of colour in the spring vege bed, and just as productive as more traditional varieties.

Why not interplant them with white-flowering Coles Dwarf for a candy-striped effect? :-)

bigbunny red hughy blog


Get your Red Hughys from Big Bunny now »


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We’re tending some great gifts for gardeners…

Saturday, November 12th, 2016

Got a gardener on your Christmas shopping list? We’ve picked you a bunch of Kiwi made garden-inspired goodies to appeal to those with green fingers.

Check out our curated collection of gifts for gardeners in the Felt Christmas Gift Guide today!

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Peruse the Felt Christmas Gift Guide »

Check out the Felt Christmas Catalogue on Issuu »


To reach a port we must set sail: a life and craft shaped by the sea

Monday, October 10th, 2016

Karli Gould of Gould Marine spent ten years as a sail/cover maker before she and her husband sold up and went to Europe to have their ‘later in life’ adventure. They left New Zealand saying that they would be gone six weeks, six months or six years… and ended up being away for eight years exploring the Mediterranean, sailing on a classic yacht!

When they returned home they built their paradise in the Sounds with an eye to use it as a workplace – and it turned out to be a fantastic place to be inspired.

Karli at work

gouldmarine briefcase

What do you make?
What do I make? That’s a good question… what don’t I make that can be sewn!

Available from my Felt shop are items that can be posted internationally or nationally. Useful items for around the home, workshop, garden and leisure. I also make bigger custom made products for clients in my region of Nelson/Marlborough. These consist of roll up veranda awnings for preschools and homes, shade sails, gym mats, blocks and shapes. It’s always a challenge to work in the marine industry with covers for yachts and pleasure craft. I can undertake any cover replacements for spa pool covers, deck chairs and squabs. You name it and I’ll do my best to create it!

How did you get into your craft?
I have always been creative behind a sewing machine. My Mum taught me to sew from a very early age. When I was at College I won the ‘Make and Model’ contest with a woollen dress I made. When my children were young I made all their clothes and went on to do home sewing for friends and family. Once my children started school I went to work in a local sail loft. I learned to use industrial machines and worked with heavy fabrics. From there I went on to work in our own partnership business manufacturing sails and covers for the marine industry spanning 10 years.

Do you have formal training or qualifications in your craft?
I had no formal training for domestic sewing; my Mum taught me those skills. My dream was to go to design school as a high school leaver. I had training in industrial work from my business partner, a sail and canvas maker who was a recognised master of the trade, so I consider it was an apprenticeship.

Tools (3)

gouldmarine sail bag

the sounds

Your favourite materials, tools and processes?
My most favoured materials are the acrylic canvas used in manufacturing some of my bags and marine covers. I also like using PVC as it’s such a durable product. I love using old sails to make some of the bags. The idea of recycling these fabrics is fun, and they become character pieces with their own personality. My favourite tools are my scissors and fairing battens, which help to create the magic shapes into the difficult compound curves of many of the marine covers I make.

Tell us about some of the techniques involved in producing one of your bags:
To make one of my gear bags from recycled sail cloth, I piece together the used cuts of exotic fabrics, traditional white Dacrons and colourful exotics to make one big sheet. I use a template to create the sizes of bags and mark out where the webbing handles and reinforcing should be placed. Next I sew on the pocket if required, the zip and the ends are the last thing to be fitted. The result is a custom made gear bag with charm and character.

Describe your creative process:
I create my project in my mind first – envisage a plan (design, materials and functionality). I have a workbook in which I put my ideas, shapes, dimensions and options. This sketch is then transformed into a template or directly onto the materials chosen. Many of my covers are fitted on the job before the final stitching is completed. This ensures the perfect fit.


Wood work aprons

What inspires you?
My inspiration comes from ‘creating’, seldom are two products the same. My mind is always searching new things to make and materials to work with. I enjoy the challenge of designing and manufacturing an item that is functional and simple to use.

Is there a philosophy behind your work?
To produce an individual product that is serviceable and value for money.

Describe your workspace:
My workshop is to die for… located in the Pelorus Sounds. I have a view that looks out over Crosilles Harbour. Most people that visit my workshop say “How can you get any work done, with a view like that?” Once I am there I am very focused, my work area is the floor or the bench surrounding my machines. The workshop is insulated and double glazed with a wood burner keeping a cosy atmosphere in those stormy Sounds’ winter days. In summer the windows are all open with the fresh sea breeze wafting through. I am surrounded by pictures and post cards that remind me of our travels.

Karli floor work


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Five words that describe your mind:
Focused, imaginative, busy, inspired and grateful.

Your favourite feedback from a customer:
“After first experiencing Karli’s expertise and quality in sail covers, Dodgers and other bits and pieces to do with boats, we graduated to some of her other products. Funnily enough, away from boats, it was her firewood carrier that we found to be amazingly useful, not really realising how this simple looking piece of material could be so good until we tried it out.

The versatility and skill involved in Karli’s work is incredible – check it out!

Recently we asked Karli to do a big job on all of our upstairs rooms’ upholstery. We chose Karli because in all of our dealings with her so far it has been shown that we get totally honest and sound advice, excellent quality, honest pricing and a rock solid guarantee that if anything is wrong it will be immediately fixed. So far we haven’t had to call on that. The job looks amazing and we’re really pleased with it. Many thanks for all – you’ve got a great business, Karli and I’m sure we’ll be back for more.”

- Penny, Atawhai, Nelson.



What are you currently listening to?
I love listening to Tiny Ruins while I’m sewing.

Recommend an album:
Some Were Meant For Sea – it seems so appropriate for me.

What’s your favourite childhood book and why?
The Wind in the Willows – my next door neighbour used to read it to me and my brother. I still enjoy imagining Ratty and Moley messing around in boats.

What are you reading now?
I’ve been reading the Jack Reacher series, but I’m ready for a change.

Who is your hero/heroine? Why?
My heroine is my daughter – she skippered a yacht from Norway down to the Antarctic Peninsula and back – a two year programme. She is a super hero. She has two beautiful children and lives out of New Zealand, but faces all challenges with great courage.


A favourite quote
I like this quote from Franklin D Roosevelt: “To reach a port we must set sail – Sail, not tie at anchor – Sail, not drift.” I like to think this describes my life.

Tell us about your pets:
We have wild wekas around our house in the Sounds, we have learned to coexist with them even though they can be rather pesky pulling out seedlings as fast as we plant them!

What would your advice be for those starting out in a crafty business?
Have the courage to use your imagination… give it a go! Stay focused and hang on in there, good things always take time, so don’t lose heart. But you do have to put yourself out there and push.

What was the last handmade item you bought and what attracted you to it?
I usually don’t buy gifts; I give handmade gifts to all my friends and family.

What’s in store for 2016?
Go from strength to strength and grow.


Karli has very kindly offered a sweet prize for one lucky Felt reader of two of her cute wee ‘Ditty Bags’ (see above). These gorgeous wee bags are ideal for storing precious items, jewellery, small games or marbles. Measuring 20 x 18cm and fully lined, these ones are a special Christmas version – perfect to fill with goodies!

To be in to win this lovely prize, simply leave a comment telling us what appeals to you about Karli’s story and her products. The draw will be made on Friday 21 October and is open to New Zealand residents only.


Time for a spot of weekend gardening?

Saturday, September 17th, 2016

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Spring has had a bit of s stuttering start, but the warmer days are tempting us outside and into the garden. And we’ve got just the thing to get you started – our gorgeous range of home-saved seeds from Big Bunny! Big Bunny’s fresh spring range is now available on Felt, with seven new varieties to choose from: Butternut pumpkins, Early Gem sweetcorn, Kaanga Ma corn, Cayenne chilli peppers, Cocozelle courgettes, White Belgian carrots and gorgeous Skyscraper sunflowers.

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With over 60 varieties of vegetable, flower and herb seeds available, Big Bunny has a great range of local seeds, grown using organic and permaculture principles.

Now’s the time to get planting, so get your paws on some today!

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Introducing Felt Home & Living emails

Thursday, August 11th, 2016

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Summer gardening ideas from Felt

Monday, January 11th, 2016

Now’s a great time to pay some attention to your garden, so we’ve lined up a taster plate of great garden goodies to tempt those green fingers.

Got some serious digging to do? Get this great new broadfork from The Crafty Gatherer and your back will love you:


Need to get some new seedlings in? We’ve got a great range of seeds and accessories



We’re all in favour garden art here at Felt, and we love these beautiful windsticks from NZArt which feed our feathered friends too!


We have so many lovely ways to bring your garden to life this sumer here on Felt – have a browse of our garden and greenery pages today and get inspired!


Featured Seller: Big Bunny

Monday, September 14th, 2015

Jo Drysdall may be familiar to many in the Felt community as Felt’s support desk operator, but she also has a horticultural alter-ego which manifests as Big Bunny, the long-eared proprietor of a Felt shop specialising in organic seeds and gardening goods, grown in her suburban Christchurch garden.

What do you make?
Gardens! :-) I guess you could say my craft is gardening. I grow open-pollinated heirloom varieties of vegetables, herbs and flowers and save their seeds to sell in my Felt shop Big Bunny.

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How did you get into your craft?
I’ve always been a gardener and a wanna-be smallholder, I think. I blame my Mum, school garden clubs (wonderful things!) and over-exposure to The Good Life as a child.

Do you have formal training or qualifications in your craft?
Most of my qualifications are of the more academic variety, but I also have a Level Four Certificate in Horticulture from the BHU Organic Training Centre at Lincoln, which is sited on one of New Zealand’s oldest organic farms. I studied there for two years and really got to grips with the science of the way I gardened, as well as learning how to run an organic business – it was a privilege to learn and grow things there.

Big Bunny is not certified organic because I’m too small scale for it to really be a viable option yet, but my garden has been run on organic and permaculture principles for eight years, ever since my partner and I bought the property.

Your favourite materials, tools and processes?
Materials? Soil. Good, healthy, living soil is the basis of everything – and digging in the dirt makes me happy. Tools? Oh, so many! But oddly enough the one that springs to mind is my dibbling stick, that I use every summer to plant out my leeks. It’s just a gently sharpened piece of broken broom handle, but my partner made it for me in a few minutes when I expressed a need for such a thing so it has nice handmade, recycled, smile-inducing vibes.

There are fun processes at every part of the year – sowing, growing and harvesting. I’ve just finished processing all the dried seeds – podding, winnowing etc – which is a nice restful winter task, often done in front of the telly.

bigbunny seed processing

What inspires you?
I’m inspired by taking a bit of ground and leaving it in a better state than I found it, whether that’s my own garden, an empty lot I’ve scattered wildflower seeds on, or the gardens of friends and family. I see Big Bunny as a way of spreading things further – not just selling seeds, but propagating gardening knowledge and distributing true heritage seeds, not hybrids, enabling people to save their own seeds and grasp a bit of garden power and independence.

Is there a philosophy behind your work?
I’m passionate about showing people that a garden doesn’t have to be an expensive designer thing. A garden can start by turning some soil and scattering some seeds, and can be sustained by a bit of know-how and a bit of work, not piles of cash.

Describe your workspace:
I have a tiny garden on a subdivided section in Christchurch. It’s packed full of plants, all planned out on a very careful rotation schedule that takes into account disease management, minimising cross-pollination, and a chicken tractor. (That might throw up a really interesting mental image, but a chicken tractor is a movable run that fits your garden beds, allowing the chooks to do a lot of the garden clearance, fertilising and mulching work for you.)

We’ve just put in macrocarpa beds that I’m in love with, after our recycled pallet beds finally rotted away (eight years wasn’t bad for scrounged untreated pine!) and I have a gorgeous glasshouse kindly donated by friends who didn’t need it at their place. I grow all my seedlings in the sunny front bedroom, which does triple duty as a seed-raising facility, sewing/wearable arts workroom and guest room. Y’know the threat about sleeping with the fishes? I tell my guests to go sleep with the tomatoes…

This summer my partner has promised to build me a garden shed of my very own (in part so we’re not competing for space in the garage!) – I’m sooo excited!

Five words that describe your mind:
Constantly plotting and planning plots.

bigbunny garden

Your favourite feedback from a customer:
My favourite thing is seeing people’s pride and delight when they harvest and eat produce that they’ve grown themselves. Can’t beat it!

What are you currently listening to?
The chickens. They are always watching and commenting on what I’m doing in the garden. It’s very Gary Larson-esque.

Recommend an album:
Headless ChickensBody Blow. Not because I have it in for the chooks or anything, I hasten to say – I’m just on a nostalgia kick right now and Fiona McDonald did awesome vocals on that album.

What’s your favourite childhood book and why?
Watership Down. I think Richard Adams can take a lot of the credit for my knowledge of wildflowers – and my love of bunnies of course!

What are you reading now?
Michael Pollan’s Second Nature: A Gardener’s Education. Re-reading it, actually. It’s one of his earlier books about the philosophy that gardens (and gardeners) are a part of nature – they do not stand outside and apart from it.

Who is your hero/heroine?
In garden terms, I can probably limit it to four on a good day, but there are so many! My Mum, Monty Don and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall are pretty major influences on my garden style, and both Mum and Dad for bringing me up to see that a good education is about gaining knowledge and understanding, not just job training.

A favourite quote:
Well on that note it would have to be “If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.” – Marcus Tullius Cicero.

Do you have any pets?
One very elderly, huge Maine Coon cat called Mr Pushkin, three chickens (Bu and Dee, araucanas who lay beautiful blue eggs, and a very silly-looking but imposing black frizzle called Eva) and of course big bunnies – two of ‘em actually. They’re Flemish Giants called Holly and Denny. They are denied access to the vegetable beds, much to their sadness (apart from one glorious night when they escaped and ate all my brassica seedlings down to stubs!) but they do get spoiled with a steady diet of super-fresh carrot tops and outer leaves.

What would your advice be for those starting out in a crafty business?
I’m actually going to take off my garden sunhat for a minute and put on my Felt admin hat to answer this one, and my answer is take good photos! Good images are so important if you’re selling your work online. It breaks my little admin heart when I see beautiful creations, that have had so much time, love, effort and skill put into them, being let down by poor photography.

Try putting your work on a tidy plain background, in good indirect natural light, and take the time to experiment and get some really good sharp images. It doesn’t have to be high-tech: my Big Bunny seed packet images are taken with a hand-held, autofocus camera on an A4 sheet of paper, usually outside on a cloudy day. I then just crop them and do a bit of light correction using basic photo editing software. There’s lots of really good online advice and tips on photography, and there are a number of good free photo editing sites out there too, with great instructions. Your work is worth presenting well, so take some time over it.

What was the last handmade item you bought and what attracted you to it?
Some of Aporah‘s lovely irritable skin balm, which I buy regularly. It’s great for chapped gardening hands, and I love that she makes her products from scratch.

What’s in store for the rest of 2015?
At this stage, making sure I’m prepared for the spring and Christmas traffic. I’ve just finished processing and listing all my fresh new-season’s seeds for the shop, so I’m feeling quite ridiculously accomplished right now!

bigbunny jo in garden

Check out more of Big Bunny’s range of seeds and garden gifts in Jo’s Felt shop.

Jo has offered a prize of one of Big Bunny’s Super Nifty Gifty Gardener’s gift packs worth $28 (below) for one lucky Felt blog reader. To win this sweet wee prize, leave a comment telling us what you like about Big Bunny’s philosophy and products. The draw will be made on Friday 25 September and is open to New Zealand residents only.

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