Wednesday, 30 April 2008

musician ivy york

There's something irresistible about looking into people's homes - even if they're still works in progress. Ivy York, a talented singer and dear friend, sent some pics through of her London home that she's currently renovating. Love the wallpaper in the hallway! For more on Ivy, check out this previous post - here.

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

sleep sanctuary

The temperature was 5 degrees cooler than average this morning - who can say no to a cashmere hotwater bottle!
Slumber pack

The Sutton sisters

I cannot tell you how much of a baby I am when it comes to sleep. Baby in the sense of need lots of love and attention. So I've got an eye mask, ear plugs and lavender-scented hand cream I wear just before hitting the hay. For the nights when I'm really struggling to slumber I give my pillow a spritz of lavender essential oils - also known as "Slumber Mist" - which I got from Sleep Sanctuary a little while back. I cannot tell you what a worthwhile little luxury that is. Here is more from one of the founders Tara Sutton.

How and why did you start Sleep Sanctuary? Danielle (my sister and business partner) have both had trouble sleeping over the years, but me particularly when I was working in the corporate sector. I’d wake up every night at 2am and instead of sleeping, I’d lie there worrying about to-do lists and what I hadn’t done the day before. After speaking to friends and family I realised many people, especially women, suffered from the same sleepless nights. I’d started using an essential oil that truly calmed my overactive mind and sent me back to sleep. With Danielle’s pharmaceutical background, we were able to formulate our own range of aromatherapy-based products using this "magic" oil, and share them with people who also needed help switching off at night.
What has been the response? We’ve been in business for 12 months now. We’ve obviously got a long way to go but we’ve made a great head start with stockists all around Australia and a distributor in Singapore.
How is having your own business different to what you expected? It’s always on your mind - you need incredible discipline to stop thinking about your business every moment of the day.
What has been a highlight? Receiving feedback from customers, thanking us for our products because they’re getting a better night’s sleep.
Where do you look to for inspiration? I love reading success stories about Australian brands like Ginger & Smart and Aesop. New York’s retail spaces are also brilliant for inspiration.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt so far? Persistence pays.
If you could meet one person, living or dead, who would it be? Eddie Vedder (just so I could introduce him to my husband – he’s a big fan).
What are you looking forward to? My yoga lesson tonight. I’m a new convert and just love the peaceful feeling it brings.
What are you reading? I just got my new copy of the American magazine
Real Simple, so I’m devouring that every spare moment I get. It satisfies the inner domestic goddess in me, because she doesn’t always appear in reality!

Images courtesy of Sleep Sanctuary

Monday, 28 April 2008

photographer elizabeth soule

You may recognise some of these images - I featured the works of Elizabeth Soule a little while back - click here to check out the post. Now that she's finished moving, she's been able to tell us a little about herself. Enjoy.

What five words best describe you? Critical, crafty, observant, silly, inquisitive.
What's your proudest achievement? I'm pretty proud of just getting my work out there. It's a big step for me.
Who inspires you? There are so many artists right now that I enjoy seeing all over the web that inspire me each day. I also love to look through my photography books and admire works by
Keith Carter, Emmet Gowin, Andrea Modica and Sally Mann, to name a few.
What are you passionate about? Photographing and sharing my work.
What's the best lesson you've learnt? Not to be scared to put yourself out there. I have boxes of photographs and portfolios that few have seen, it isn't until recently that I've started to show my work. I was always afraid that someone may not like it or think that it is stereotypical and bland. I'm learning that I can't please everyone, but there is an audience for my work.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? I'm not sure about this one.
What are you excited about? Creating. I always have scraps of paper with the day's ideas floating around my bag and in pockets. I get excited when a new project becomes more than an idea on the page and forms into something more.
What's next? A new Polaroid series, some black and white work and some new ideas. I'd love to do a black and white documentary project on rural living and farming.

Images courtesy of Elizabeth Soule

Thursday, 24 April 2008

artist erin petson

Trying to track down Miss Petson is no easy task. So I thought I'd share these examples of her work in the meantime. Aren't they beautiful. She does private commissions, too, which is good to know. She has exhibited in London, Paris, Sydney, Liverpool, Hong Kong, Barcelona and Turkey.

Images courtesy of Erin Petson

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

regents court

I've been umming and aahing for a little while whether to share this post with you. I had wanted to feature it during my Design*Sponge guest editor stint. But just as I was about to publish, I learnt that the Regents Court hotel had just been sold. Sadly, the apartments have been sold - so there ends an era. It was modelled along the lines of the Hotel Chelsea in New York whereby a ground-floor studio was available for an artist-in-residence. Talented people such as photographer Tracey Moffat have stayed there. Sigh. I'd love to know of any other hotels that offer artist-in-residence options.

Images courtesy of Regents Court

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

artist charly wrencher

Coincidence is a funny thing. I'm currently writing a house feature for real living, and one of the paintings in this beautiful home is by artist Charly Wrencher. As it so happens I had seen an invite a little while back for his exhibition at United Galleries and loved his work so got in contact with him. Today I realise that I'm writing about the same person but in different contexts. Anyway, Charly has worked as an artist for 20 years and been a finalist for the prestigious Wynne Prize. He's short on words but big on colour, so enjoy.

What five words best describe you? Inspired, energetic, creative, happy, positive.
What's your proudest achievement? Having four children.
What was the starting point for this exhibition? Looking westward from my studio one year ago.
Who inspires you? Mondrian, Clemente Bacon.
What are you passionate about? Art and life.
What's the best lesson you've learnt? To be patient.
Which person living or dead would you most like to meet? Jimi Hendrix/Leonardo da Vinci.
What are you excited about? Travelling and painting.

Images courtesy of Charly Wrencher and United Galleries

Monday, 21 April 2008

little gypsies

It's so true when people say there are so many great things to buy for children now. Even so, there are still too many "made in China" products for my liking. Quality is always preferred over quantity. And if a product has a story, all the better. That's why I've fallen in love with the carefully selected pieces on Little Gypsies. Here's more about the online shop from owner Casey Arnaud...

How and why did you start Little Gypsies? The Little Gypsies website was launched on December 1 2007, yet the Little Gypsies concept was imagined about two years ago while I was travelling. It was on one of these adventures abroad that I first thought about how to capture the richness of travel and make it accessible for kids and their parents to enjoy. On returning home each trip, I was surprised and flattered by the amount of friends and colleagues who asked about my daughter’s eclectic, feminine wardrobe, exotic toys and general awareness of the world. I realised there was no one particular place that people could buy gifts for kids that were different to the standard mass-produced items. I started to work on my original idea and soon after Little Gypsies was born. Over the past few years, I have discovered some amazing clothes, toys and decorations that are fun, playful, well made and steeped in tradition. It has taken two years of thorough research to acquire a collection that is not only beautiful but also meets most of these five core criteria: ethical, charitable, traditional, educational and collectable.
What has been the response? Extremely positive and very rewarding. It is such a great feeling to know my gut instinct and research into a huge gap in the market has paid off. And the best bit is I really feel what I am doing is morally right; it feels great to create a multi-layered business that gives back to the community in various ways. Along with a great flow of sales since December 07, I receive gorgeous emails weekly from admirers of the Little Gypsies site and concept. Letters such as this keep me focussed and proud of this new concept I am making happen.
How is having your own business different to what you expected? The business itself is pretty close to what I had envisioned. Obvious though as it may seem what I did not take into account was the loneliness that can sometimes come with a web-based, computer-focused business. I am learning to balance my days better now to combat this.
What has been a highlight? Going to Laos with my daughter for the first buying trip in November 06. It was incredible to be there experiencing a new country and it's beautiful people with my little girl. We both grew a lot from that trip, experiences like that really create incredible bonds.
Where do you look to for inspiration? My four-year-old gypsy girl Sequoia and her free-spirited friends, all travels abroad, markets, alternative green magazines and photographic exhibitions.
What's the best lesson you've learnt so far? I think the key lessons I have learnt so far from my previous business Arnaud and the new Little Gypsies business are to firstly research the market to see if there is a gap or demand for what you want to do. Research your competition, be passionate and honest about what you do as this speaks volumes to people, and lastly be optimistic but also realistic with planning. Make sure all aspects of the business are taken care of; if you do not excel in an area hire the skills of someone who does and map out clearly where you want to be going, by when and how you plan to do this.
What are you passionate about right now? Little Gypsies velvet jackets I just got on my last trip: they are beautifully made, are really warm and look stunning on kids. And yoga and my health, as I am four months pregnant I am trying to do what I can to keep my energy levels high and body feeling toned.

If you could meet one person, living or dead, who would it be? Anita Roddick (The Body Shop founder), I think I would walk away feeling pretty inadequate and possibly quite intimidated by what one person can achieve in their life, but also very inspired. My first real job at 17 was at The Body Shop, and I was in awe of her then as I am now.
What are you looking forward to? My next planned trip to Mexico, early next year, the birth of my second child and my harmony in my relationship.
What are you reading?
Shantaram (unfortunately it has taken six months as keep reading emails instead) - it is an incredible story but due to the size of this novel I leave it at home for bedside reading only.

Images courtesy of Little Gypsies

Friday, 18 April 2008

madebygirl's jennifer ramos

While many of you may be familiar with the works of Jennifer Ramos - the creative force behind MadeByGirl - you might not know that she started out working with furniture - rather than her more well-known posters. Also, Jennifer's passionate about the environment. As she says, "we're all environmentalists, we all love beautiful sunny days and clean beaches".

What five words best describe you? Driven, ambitious, honest, loyal and fun.
What's your proudest achievement? When I made the cover of The View - the local paper here in Henderson, Nevada.
Who inspires you? Anyone who is truly passionate about what they do.
What are you passionate about? My work. I'm also passionate about LOVE.
What's the best lesson you've learnt? That no matter how rough things get, you have to keep moving forward.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? I love music so much, I would like to meet Sheryl Crow and sing with her on stage. Even though I'd be the unknown, the experience would be inspiring.
What are you excited about? Exhibiting and launching my line at the National Stationary Show
in NYC this May. I will be in booth 1842 for those interested.
What's next? I'm hoping to launch a lot more interesting & unique cards, as well as prints. We are hoping to print the posters on recycled paper too because previously we aren't able to. However, we are offsetting by donating a percentage of sales to

images courtesy of MadeByGirl

Thursday, 17 April 2008

sarah vintage by sarah green

There is something wonderful about people who decide to take the plunge and follow their dreams. Sarah Green is a shining example. After years of working in the catering and events industries she decided to design jewellery and sell the pieces in her own shop - in Paddington's gorgeous William Street. Oh, I how I love vintage-style jewellery. There's nothing like have a unique piece that you're not going to see 100 other people wearing.

How and why did you start Sarah Vintage? I started Sarah Vintage due to my love of the vintage era and mini "mid" life crisis after years in catering and events. (I really needed a job that didn't involve 24 hours a day of physical work and one that I could be girly in - years of hair smelling like food and no nails takes its toll.) I started designing a few pieces using vintage parts and my signature Glomesh earrings and decided that a shop would be easier than selling from home and wholesaling. (Very naive!). So I just did it.
What has been the response? Fabulous! And although it is a niche market the word is spreading well.

How is having your own business different to what you expected? I have pretty much always had my own business - but this industry is very different and fickle and establishing a BRAND had been a very steep learning curve. So, yes, I expected hard work but this has taken hard work to new heights. (I am impatient and a perfectionist, which often can be a curse.) What has been a highlight? There have been several highlights: seeing my dream come together; seeing huge shop posters as other brands use my earrings in their advertising; seeing the jewels in mags; girls dressing up and coming to my Girly Nights; BUT the most satisfying thing is seeing a person in the shop go out of their comfort zone put on a fab pair earrings or pendant and watching the smile spread across their face as they realise how great it looks.
Where do you look to for inspiration? I am lucky to have some wonderful old mags that my father collected (go figure) so I have all the Vogues from the 40s onwards. My fave era would have to be the 60s as it included the glamour or the 50s and the start of the geometrics - I so wish I had been my age then not born then.

What's the best lesson you've learnt? If it was easy the everyone would be doing it - it gets me through the hard times. And to trust your gut!
If you could meet one person, living or dead, who would it be? I would have loved to have hung out with Jackie Onasis.

What are you looking forward to? My new projects getting underway - all I can say is it involves getting girls to rediscover their inner glamour and celebrate it! With a glass of champers, of course.
What are you reading? The last book I read was
Making Noises by Euan Mitchell. At the moment I am catching up on the latest mags - luckily a perk of the job - don't want to miss any of your own editorial!

Images courtesy of Sarah Vintage

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

nursery storage items

This week is deadline week for real living and so my eyes are bleary with all the work that has to be done. So I apologise for the sporadic posts this week. But I thought I'd share some images I love. These were posted on The Scoop, which had used the images from Ohdeedoh - such is the circulatory world of blogland. My secret source, real living deputy art director Renae Lovett, passed them on after I sent out a plea to my colleagues: help, I need a nappy bin that doesn't look like a nappy bin for the nursery. I don't know if you've ever looked at nappy bins, but let me tell you - they're white, plastic and very ugly - not at all in keeping with the rest of the room's vibe. I wanted something stylish that could be put to other purposes as the baby grew. I didn't mind if I had to put a ugly bin inside - I just didn't want it to go on show. Anyway, Renae found these ones and now I'm just working out a way to create my own. These were made from old drums. Does anyone have any suggestions of what materials I could use?

Images courtesy of The Scoop and Ohdeedoh

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

shannon fricke

Shannon Fricke was one of the many talented Australian women I featured on Design*Sponge during my guest blog stint, and I'm so happy that Murdoch Books have decided to repackage her excellent books Space and Colour into one, hardback version. It is SO much better this way; exactly the sort of book I wanted to buy a friend a little while back as a housewarming gift. Anyway, the book will hit the shops in May so keep your eyes peeled.

Image courtesy of Shannon Fricke and Murdoch Books.

Friday, 11 April 2008

wallpaper & decor

Oh, how I wish every square inch of my walls weren't already covered. I'd definitely be considering one of these gorgeous prints from Scandinavian Wallpaper & Decor. Their designs are now available in Australia thanks to Ann-Louise Lollo Jansson, who is based in Perth, and distributing their wares.

Images courtesy of
Wallpaper & Decor

Thursday, 10 April 2008

photography cybele malinowski

I love it when I learn about people who haven't found their feet immediately in life. (Because it took me a little while to work out what I wanted to be when I grew up.) So it's refreshing to hear that Cybele Malinowski has an architecture degree under her belt and even completed half a law degree. Plus, she had stints trying out painting, acting, dancing and singing before discovering her passion for photography. Four years on and she has a photo business Blue Murder Studios and is about to have an exhibition - Loudlight - at the MTV Gallery (18-30 April) in Sydney after spending much of 2007 shooting Australian musicians for album covers and magazines.

What five words best describe you? Undercover-feminist, restless, cheeky, loud, tall.
What's your proudest achievement? Finishing my architecture degree.
Who inspires you? My brother and my mother. We are the triumvirate.
What are you passionate about? Photography and the eventual equality of the sexes. There's still some bra burning to be done.
What's the best lesson you've learnt? Think before you speak. I am still learning this one.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Annie Leibovitz: this woman has paved the way for photographers and women alike.
What are you excited about? My (first solo) exhibition. A combination of excitement and nerves are gearing me up for a milestone as frightening and arresting as finishing the HSC and university.
What's next? I will most certainly continue to shoot bands and music, however, fashion is where I am headed. This exhibition is a thank you to all the bands and music labels I have worked with; maybe next time I will have an exhibition to say thank you to the fashion labels.

Images courtesy of Cybele Malinowski.

Wednesday, 9 April 2008


You may recognise the work of Nathalie Rivet - she's the woman behind Imprintables. I've featured her "thank you" notes a few times on the blog. They're just so darn cute. Since then I've spoken to her a few times and love her passion for stationery and creating children's parties that AREN'T all about the money. And as she says so well, "In the age of emails, how unique is it to receive a thank you card, note or playdate invitation in the mail? It reconnects us to our thoughts. Words handwritten on a card or note are so much more powerful than an email, and the act of receiving this gesture is cherished."

How and why did you start Imprintables? I am a stay at home mum with two little ones and needed a creative outlet. Working as a graphic designer in the hospitality, events and marketing industry I enjoyed the conceptual work but missed the hands-on approach and thought this would be the perfect way to combine two elements of what I love to do. Also, I have always loved parties and the whole process of planning a party. My invitations are concepts for parties. When I design an invitation I’m visualising how the party will look, what games could be played and which colours will work, how a theme can be carried through.
What has been the response? I have received many compliments thanking me for creating beautiful, simple graphics for children. Imprintables is only two years old and I initially approached retail stores with many rejections as they felt the graphics were not bright and colourful enough. Fortunately I was lucky to meet Louise from Amity Child in Dural, NSW, and the super-stylish Natasha from Spoilt Rotten in Northbridge, NSW, who are supporters of my work. I now have a wonderful base of customers who are grateful and appreciative of my work.
How is having your own business different to what you expected? Having your own business gives you immeasurable satisfaction, is rewarding, and being able to create work that you love and meet so many fantastic people is fabulous. On the other end of the spectrum I’m not particularly good with managing my time, I sometimes feel the work and ideas consume me and have been known to wake up in the middle of the night with a brilliant party idea and commence design at 2am because I cannot return to sleep until I have created a rough sketch.
What has been a highlight? Opening my very first retail arm at the beautiful Amity Child in Dural. I think to actually see the product and envisage how the party will coordinate with napkins, party bags etc really makes a difference. I can also create one-off pieces, stationery and soon-to-be–released personalised stamps.
Where do you look to for inspiration? My father invented fantastic games to keep us entertained. A favourite was the simple cardboard box which transformed into a toboggan when sliding down a hill and the grand finale would be the water balloon fight. My mother would always make me a new dress to wear and bake a beautiful cake. I love the way they made an effort to please my guests and made sure everyone was well fed and left with a smile on their face. The main aim was to always have FUN! I look back at the photos and remember how I loved my new outfit - how grown-up I felt, being surrounded by my favourite friends who were here to enjoy this special day with me. These memories are re-told again through each invitation.
What's the best lesson you've learnt so far? To always look for opportunities. When I first commenced most retailers did not like my creative style. I then decided to start selling my range at a market to determine directly if mothers were interested in my work and fortunately my instincts were correct.
If you could meet one person, living or dead, who would it be? My grandmother is nearing 100 years old and I would love to have all the family reunite for a party [of course!] and so I am able to be introduced to relatives I have yet to meet. My father is the 11th child of his family, which means it would be one very large affair!
What are you looking forward to? We are having a family holiday in Fiji and I am looking forward to some R&R, although I’m not sure if that’s possible with a 3 and a 4 year old!
What are you reading? I’m planning to read Isabel Allende's
Portrait in Sepia. I love South American writers: they are natural story tellers and have a spiritual connection with people and their land. As described by Rachel Orvino, Isabel Allende “ is full of beautiful imagery and language so delicately crafted that reading the book is like being swept into the tangle of a spider webs: gossamer soft, yet enthralling”. And I would like to finish Blubberland – the dangers of happiness by Elizabeth Farrelly. I would like to consume less "things" but need to understand why I find it so hard too.

Images courtesy of Imprintables.


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