Wednesday, 24 December 2008

beach chic at christmas

Where did you buy your Christmas decorations this year? This is where I fell in love.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

top 10 aussie baby finds

For my first post for Babyccino I wrote about my top 10 favourite baby-related products you can buy in Australia. What are your faves?

Image courtesy of Oobi

Monday, 15 December 2008


Ooops. I'm back again because...

I've been given the most exciting and amazing opportunity. A little over a week ago I was asked if I'd like to be a regular guest writer for the popular blog Babyccino. (It's had the likes of Cookie and Milk magazines raving about the site.) The idea is that the girls behind babyccino - Esther from Amsterdam, Courtney from London, Michela from Milan and Emilie from Paris - want a Sydney gal to join in on their online conversation about life, kids, style and fave products. How could I resist!

Image courtesy of Babyccino

happy holidays

I'm off to do some baking in preparation for Christmas. I won't be doing any more posts between now and the new year. And pretty much as soon as 2009 comes around I'll be back at work - no more maternity leave for me. I'm not sure how regularly I'll be able to post once I do start back at real living so I'd rather upload the site with features that you really love. So, please, if you can spare a minute I'd love to get your feedback. All comments are welcome... Oh, and thank you all so much for visiting this year. I can't tell you what a lifeline it has been being part of the blog world while staying at home to look after my baby boy. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Image courtesy of Nikole Herriot

Friday, 12 December 2008

blogger grace bonney

Grace features in last month's Domino magazine

Grace's stylish pad in Brooklyn

A poster for the Biz Ladies events

We see her here, there, and everywhere

Kelly green as a "mini trend"

Where in the world would we be without Grace Bonney and her design*sponge site! Since it was launched in August 2004, it has completely changed the way we think of blogs. It sets the standards in terms of design and content. And it is not only a reflection of Grace's incredibly good taste but also her skill and business acumen too given that she has established Biz Ladies. It's no surprise that the site attracts more than 20,000 daily readers. If that's not enough Brooklyn-based Grace is also a contributor for Domino and The New York Post among many others.

Which five words best describe you? Energetic, optimistic, impatient, analytical, curious.
What's your proudest achievement? Design*sponge. I never imagined in my wildest dreams that I would be doing something like this. Being able to travel across the country and meet with designers and women running their own businesses has been the greatest joy.
Who inspires you? Anyone who's driven by a passion that's all-consuming. I'm always intrigued by people who do something because they can't imagine doing anything else. Artists, athletes, doctors - anyone that really lives and breathes what they do.
What are you passionate about? Food. Life. My cats. A good cup of chai tea.
What's the best lesson you've learnt? That you have to make mistakes to learn. I have a strong perfectionist streak in me and I'm always trying to accept mistakes I make and learn from them a bit more - it's taken me a while to not freak out about them and instead use them as a chance to learn something new.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet?
Martha Stewart. I'd love to be stuck on a long train ride with her and a bottle of wine. That way i could really pick her brain and hear about her life in detail.
What's next? Oh man. Who knows? We're thinking about moving out of Brooklyn, NY, and setting up on the west coast so I'm looking forward to being influenced by a new area and its artistic influences. But in the short term - I'm working on a web-version of the Biz Ladies series for 2009 - because the American economy has me unable to travel to different cities this year.
What are you reading? The
Twilight series, Gourmet magazine.

Images courtesy of design*sponge, Domino, Vanity Fair

Thursday, 11 December 2008

hôtel bourg tibourg

I must be due for a holiday in Paris because no sooner have I put down Taschen's Paris then I am drooling over these images of Hôtel Bourg Tibourg. I actually came across the hotel via Vicki Archer's blog French Essence. But as coincidence would have it, the hotel is featured in the aforementioned book and Angelika Taschen says: "My tip is the room on the top floor, facing the street, which has a small balcony for breakfast and from which you enjoy a magnificent view over the roofs of Paris. The petit dejeuner is a special insider tip - home-made jam, jars of yoghurt, fresh fruit and the best croissants in Paris." Definitely a place to bookmark.

Images courtesy of
Hôtel Bourg Tibourg

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

crafter tracy bull

I fell in love with Happy Owl Glassworks when I saw a studio tour via My love for you is a stampede of horses a little while back. It got me nostalgic for New England. Okay so I've only been there once, but it was for two weeks and during the fall when I got up to some "leaf peeping" - seriously, that's what they call it!... I digress. Happy Owl is such a happy business and keeps Tracy Bull busy along with her blog. And I have to admit that I have a secret love of owls. What is it about them?!

Which five words best describe you? Creative, sardonic, reclusive, meticulous, happy.
What’s your proudest achievement? I am so proud of my business, Happy Owl Glass, and how far I've come and how long it has been around. Not to say I want it to last forever, but sometimes I don't know if I give myself enough credit. Oh and I must say I'm proud of having such a charming daughter, Maisy. But that may be more luck than anything. :)
Who inspires you? Friends inspire me, mostly. I have a few close friends who are extremely creative, and I admire their talent immensely! I am more one to be inspired by people I meet in person - people who I can actually have a conversation with. I also have a very supportive husband who is always challenging me, which helps me grow creatively.
What are you passionate about? I'm currently passionate about food! It is a closet relationship, but one I've been diving back into lately. I absolutely love to cook and bake. Also, the animal kingdom will always be a passion, and I consider myself an amateur naturalist. But right now, food is a calling.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt? Not to take myself so seriously, and to step back and laugh at myself when things seem rough. I truly believe that humor is the most important quality to have!
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Going with the personal side of me, I would love to have met my great-grandfather. I grew up in a not-so-creative family, and everyone always spoke about this guy who was a poet and musician. Perhaps he also inspired me in a subconscious way, being that I was the "artistic" child in the family. How interesting it would be to meet our ancestors.
What’s next? I am making a few new items for next year that I'm very excited about - mostly jewelry. Some new imagery and a fresher look to everything. I can't wait to reveal next year's line in January.
What are you reading? I'm reading
Then we came to the End by Joshua Ferris. I think I have some lingering office affection since I started being my own boss three years ago. I am completely entertained by corporate life being that I'm no longer a part of it. But I must say I'm making a list for my next book from your sidebar reviews! :)

Images courtesy of
Happy Owl Glassworks and My love for you is a stampede of horses

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

artist jane gillings

I really seem to be caught in a time lag when it comes to art exhibitions at the moment. Just checking the date of Jane Gillings' show at NG Art and I realise it finished this weekend just gone. Ggggrrr. So for now I'm going to have to content myself with these images and get a Filofax or a better diary system happening next year. As for Jane, well, it's no surprise that she worked in the taxidermy department at the Australian Museum. Or that she describes herself as a hoarder. It just goes to show what beauty can come out of someone else's rubbish.

Which five words best describe you? Compulsive, disciplined, spontaneous, organised, capable.
What's your proudest achievement? I had a dream once where I had an argument with an art dealer. He was telling me my artwork was rubbish and to come back when I had something good to show him. I told him that I had already done my best work and that he would never be able to afford it because it was priceless. I turned and pointed to my daughter. She will always be my greatest achievement.
What was the starting point for this exhibition? I've been sculpting using discarded plastic for a number of years now and sometimes make things for friends and family for special occasions. I made a satin bowerbird as a gift for my brother on his 50th birthday. We are both collectors and hoarders. I thought the bird was a good metaphor for the both of us. I made it using pieces of plastic a bowerbird might use to decorate his bower and it started me thinking that I could make all sorts of other birds with plastic. Like so many people, I love birds. Looking at them, watching their behaviour, marvelling at their sometimes spectacular plumage. Why not just make some?
Who inspires you? People who persevere.
What are you passionate about? Right now? My new skateboard. It's a
What's the best lesson you've learnt? Don't give up.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet?
Fiona Hall. I did meet her once but I was a blabbering mess. I must have come across as a real loony. She had just installed her retrospective at the MCA and looked exhausted. I was in awe and had trouble speaking. I'd talk hand tools and potential sculpture materials.
What are you reading? Always reading and re-reading
Art and Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland. It's an inspirational book and relates well to questions 4 and 6. I'm also currently looking at bird books.

Art images courtesy of Jane Gillings and NG Art; image of Jane in her studio courtesy of SMH and Edwina Pickles

Monday, 8 December 2008

designer anna laura

I can barely keep up with the avalanche that is my email inbox but every now and then something catches my eye and I have to investigate further. Kara Smith - who I interviewed here - was having a promotion, which involved the beautiful badges of Melbourne designer Anna Laura. So, off I trotted and got in contact with Anna and was delighted to discover some of her other creations too, including a way-too-cool card collection called Able and Game and the stylish purse collections of Viva La Primaire! And to think that Anna grew up on a sheep farm - what a distance she has travelled.

Which five words best describe you? Impatient, messy, obsessive, vague and impulsive.
What’s your proudest achievement? I bungy jumped off Bloukrans Bridge on the Garden Route in South Africa. It was pretty crazy thing to do, but I was only 22 at the time. The other would be leaving my teaching job to work on my business full time. Again, a pretty crazy thing to do and I can't blame it on being only 22.
What inspires you? I find I am really inspired by manmade lines created from tall buildings in the city and the lines from the wires above railway tracks.
What are you passionate about? Good television shows. I love talking television and whenever I find someone who loves my shows I feel like they are suddenly by BFF and I want to spend hours talking to them about everything to do with the shows. I am also passionate about the value of art in society. I don't think people realise the foundation art has in so many things and they take it for granted and try and distance themselves from it. I saw this a lot as a teacher, the art department was always the subject that got pushed aside to make room for more literacy and numeracy, both of which can be taught within an art framework.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt? I'm still learning lessons on how to stay tidy and keep motivated. I think I will be learning the tidy one for the rest of my life.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? This is a hard one because I would like to say someone like Brett Whiteley or Jackson Pollock, but both might not actually be that much fun in reality. Maybe relatives who I didn't get to meet, or don't remember because they died when I was young.
What’s next? Valentine's Cards and stationery under the label Able and Game with my partner Gareth. I've just started illustrating them and they feature dorky guys making big statements of love. I just started a new
blog with the images and I'm hoping it can be a daily update of romance with a dose of humour. I've also just finished my new range of screenprinted bags and accessories called Viva La Primaire! I've spent the last few months working on the designs and products and it is inspired by primary colours, one of my favourite colour combinations.
What are you reading? I think I need to start reading some Mills and Boon for some romantic inspiration for the cards. At the moment it is a lot of craft and design blogs,
The Age online and sometimes a bit of Perez Hilton. Picnic at Hanging Rock is sitting on my bedside table waiting to be read.

Images courtesy of Anna Laura

Friday, 5 December 2008

taschen's paris

About a week ago I received the best present yet, and it wasn't even Christmas-related. It was Taschen's Paris. What is it about Paris? It's like the city has managed to bottle all that is wonderful with the world and set it free somewhere between Ile St Louis and Ile de la Cite. Paris seems to be one of those cities that just brings all sorts of wonderful memories and thoughts to people. For me, I love that everyone there is so passionate about their life. From bakers to florists to policemen. They all seem to take pride in their work. So, yep, I am one of those who gets all misty eyed about the city of lights. And while Paris is my favourite city in the world. Taschen, well, that has to be my favourite publisher. This is, after all, the company that has just re-released the exquisite Peter Beard diaries. Anyway, back to Taschen's Paris. It is a collection of hotels, shops and restaurants all hand-picked by Angelika Taschen. Looking through the pages makes me happy. It reminds me of all the wonderful experiences I've had there... and has my fingers twitching to organise another trip back!

Thursday, 4 December 2008

designer mademoiselle a. aka thymbyl designs

I recently featured one of Thymbyl Designs' advent calendars here and loved so many of her other items for sale - which included not just her crafty projects but gorgeous antique finds from antique fairs and high-end flea markets in Germany, where she lives. I was curious to learn more about the mysterious Mademoiselle a.

Who inspires you? People who think outside the box and who don't swim with the mainstream.

What are you passionate about? Good stuff. This can be anything, but it has to set off this funny inner "passion alarm".

What’s the best lesson you've learnt? Patience goes a long way, and passion is its best fellow traveler.

What's next? Regarding trends? The "handmade" trend will lose its status as a hip, indyish grassroots trend and will get exploited by mainstream mass produce: products with a "handmade" look and feel, but produced in masses, by machines or underpaid labourers. Regarding me? I've been wanting to write the first German "Tezukuri Zakka" book for nearly five years now. Unfortunately, this trend still hasn't reached Germany, and I fear that what may eventually make it here will be a "Zakka" how Americans understand it (which is often not what it really is in Japan).

What are you reading? There is lots on my reading pile; mainly business books, some craft books, a lot of research literature; one or two classics make it to the pile every two months or so, print magazines about graphic and web design, business, lifestyle and fashion. And the newspaper, of course.

Buying in by Rob Walker

Marke Eigenbau by Holmm Friebe, Thomas Ramge

Zakka Sewing by Therese Laskey, Chika Mori

Printing by Hand by Lena Corwin

The pity of it all by Amon Elin

Images courtesy of Thymbyl Designs

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

advent calendar part iii

Okay, so I'm three days late with this one. But December just suddenly appeared like Rudolph with his fellow reindeer and I'm still scrambling to find the mince pies. For anyone else out there who is also playing catch-up, and a little flexible with the rules, here is my final and favourite advent calendar. I love that you can use paper that's already at home - so it's inexpensive, easy to make and looks great. It comes via the busy fingers of Lisa Tilse(and Belinda Graham for highlighting it too). Go to this link for stepped out instructions on how to make it.

Images courtesy of Lisa Tilse


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