Thursday, 31 July 2008

photo shoot sneak peek

That's me and four-week-old Little C on the photo shoot

Went into the office today to put the finishing touches to the pregnancy diary feature that I've written for real living magazine, which will be in the October issue (on sale at the start of September). Thought you might like to see a sneak peek at one of the pics from the day. (I'll post more when the feature is published.) The photographer was Damien Pleming and I have to say a huge thanks to him as he made me completely relaxed on the day - not an easy task with a crying four-week-old baby!

Image courtesy of real living and Damien Pleming

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

blogger belinda graham

Belinda's developed a creative streak since starting her blog renovate & decorate

The other end of the room belongs to baby Layla - such a gorgeous name

Zak's room indulges animal prints - a big hit with mum and me!

Belinda's son Zak is a happy little chap

Belinda spoke about getting one of these chairs for months
in the real living office - good to see she finally got one!
Belinda - happy at home

I have to say that I was completely floored when Belinda Graham said she was starting another blog. After all, it seemed like only a matter of days after she'd given birth. She was either Superwoman or completely crazy. A little bit of both, perhaps. To give you some context, I had only given birth the week before and was wondering how on earth I'd ever exit the abyss that is those gruelling early days with a newborn. But in many respects it doesn't surprise me. Belinda and I have worked together for a few years now at real living magazine. This girl is a real go-getter... and a great blogger! I'm totally addicted to her TWO blogs - renovate & decorate and mini meez.

What five words best describe you? Busy, mulittasker, patient, dedicated, supportive.
What's your proudest achievement? Professionally, being deputy editor of real living (which you'd also now know all about!). I can't tell you how chuffed I was holding the launch issue in my hands and knowing I was a part of it. Watching it evolve month to month makes me so proud! Personally, becoming a mum. I think any woman who's had a baby or two will quietly feel smug about it - just having a shower in your first week at home makes you feel like Superwoman, so anything else is a bonus. I'm not quietly smug, though. I babble too much about it all...
Who inspires you? Anyone whose success in life hasn't been reliant on luck. I witnessed my parents build two successful businesses from nothing (seriously: nothing. I've since discovered there were nights us kids ate bread for dinner and mum would have nothing... and yet we didn't have a clue! Had the bestest childhood ever.) and am in awe of that.
What are you passionate about? Babies and interiors. Ever since I can remember I wanted a gorgeous home to play decorator with lots of happy babies running/crawling around. I used to spend my spare time building homes for my Barbies out of blocks and books (how? Open to the middle and place it pages-side down on the floor. Little Golden Books were particularly brilliant for this!), drawing floor plans for dream homes and ripping out pages of things I wanted from magazines. And I was a pain for my parents when it came to decorating: I made them buy white paint for my room cause I refused to have the yellow they decided to paint the whole house in) and would always change my room around. And the living room. I was helpful when it came to assembling furniture though - that was my job! I still move things around way too much and am halfway through a never-ending renovation. You may have noticed I also like to waffle on about all things babies and interiors so luckily for my family and friends, I do this with my two blogs ( and so they don't have to listen to me!
What's the best lesson you've learnt? That if you want something bad enough there's always a will and a (legal!) way. Or as my hubby would say: no one ever drowned in sweat!
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Oh I wish I could sound all impressive and intelligent and say the Dalai Lama or something, but I'm going the frivolous route and saying a celebrity: Audrey Hepburn. Love her, her movies, her style, her grace, her heart. I'd just bask in her glow and maybe steal her Salvatore Ferragamo shoe wardrobe. Sadly, I know enough about her to know they'd fit me!
What are you excited about? Watching my babies grow. Every tiny thing they do is fascinating and I love seeing their little personalities develop. My son, Zak, is the funniest, most adorable child and I can't wait to see how Layla will turn out!

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

tiffany blue

Carrie's apartment is given a makeover in the Sex and the City movie.

The blue wall in my apartment - featured in Oct 07 real living - is incredibly similar.

I still love - and prefer to some extent - the thrown-together charm of Carrie's "old" apartment.

The hall stand with the lean-to artworks and rows of mags

in the bookcase give the place a "real" feel.

Sure the rug has to go but check out the mid-century sideboard
and chair - long before everyone else was going for this look.

Looking again at the Manchu wallpaper in the previous post I remembered I wanted to share my love for the colour blue. And I can't tell you how excited I was to see a wall in Carrie's apartment repainted in the Sex and the City movie to a shade remarkably similar to the colour I chose for my living room wall. (I actually took along a Tiffany advertisement in a glossy magazine to the paint store so I could get the exact match.) Carrie's wall is slightly darker but I think it's close enough for me to feel somewhat up with the times. I have to say, though, I miss the mid-century touches to the room.

Friday, 25 July 2008

manchu wallpaper at domestic textiles

It's raining outside. My eyes are struggling to stay open. I've been patting and ssshhing Little C for so long that I've managed to almost send myself to sleep... and hopefully he's on the land to nod, too. How my Friday evenings have changed! But I am still not averse to a pretty piece of wallpaper. I look at this and think perhaps it's time to do some decorating. Well, when I get some free time. Ha! Free time! It's from the latest collection at Domestic Textiles showroom in Melbourne.

Image courtesy of Domestic Textiles

Thursday, 24 July 2008

artist rebecca pearson

Oh no. I just realised I've been caught in a baby warp as I completely missed Rebecca Pearson's exhibition at Gallery 9 in Sydney. And I had so wanted to go after falling in love with her domes at the National Art School show last year. Well, for now, I'm going to have to content myself with these images and hope that next time Little C and I have our act together a little better.

What was the inspiration behind the exhibition? I was invited to participate in a group exhibition. It was an exciting opportunity to exhibit with other artists whose work I admired. In this particular exhibition they used film/projection which I have always found interesting.
What was your starting point? I started by collecting old souvenirs from op shops. These became my subjects and in some instances I re assembled them into new two and three dimensional forms. I created my own narratives to go with them as many of countries depicted I had never been to.
What was involved in creating each piece? I work with various materials and am often faced with many challenges. The pictures in this exhibition are made from wood, perspex and found materials. I tried to create a feeling of faded travel memories and nostalgia. The title for the series of works is called People, Places and things.
What did you learn along the way? I am constantly learning. I realize I have to be grateful for the mistakes I make as these are some of my biggest teachers!

Image courtesy of Gallery 9

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

picasso exhibition

A Modigliani painting from Picasso's private collection

The indefatigable man himself

If I wasn't living off what scant maternity leave I have coming my way, I'd jump on a plane tomorrow to Brisbane and visit the "Picasso & His Collection" exhibition at the Gallery of Modern Art. I am always in awe that Picasso was still painting in his 90s and he was prolific throughout his life: a true inspiration. The exhibition, which features artworks in his personal collection, is on until 14 September.

Images courtesy of GOMA

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

designer catherine manuell

Decadent luggage

And sophisticated designs

Gorgeous scarves

My favourite design!

Catherine, a very talented "bag lady"

There's nothing more inspiring than a success story. Catherine Manuell started her career as a teacher and then went on to design hats, learning lessons from her grandmother over afternoon teas (gotta love that). Then after stints designing for Witchery and Kookai, among other top brands, she launched Catherine Manuell Design.

What five words best describe you? Busy, determined, persistent, involved and passionate.
What’s your proudest achievement? Besides my kids (!), my Aboriginal Women’s Artist project. We reproduce the artists' paintings, and then we make the fabric into luggage and other travel-related design products. A percentage of all sales goes to the artists as the products sell, and they are given marketing support as individuals and for their arts centres. It has taken a lot of time and patience for it to come together but now it is rolling along nicely for all involved.
Who inspires you? I am inspired by all women who manage to successfully run their own business and keep and good family/life balance.
What are you passionate about? Creativity, equality, using creative enterprises to break down severe poverty.
Why did you start Catherine Manuell Design? I wanted to use my skills in fashion and business and create a more flexible lifestyle for myself that could support me and my family.
What’s the best lesson you have learnt? I have learnt to keep things developing and to persist, and also hardest of all, when to let go.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? I would love to meet two of the artist’s that I am working with. I have not met them yet, as one is new to the project and the other lives in a remote area. The plan is to travel to Central Australia with my family soon to meet with them in the next couple of months, so I would say the two artists, Evelyn Pultara and Dianne Robinson.
What are you excited about? Seeing my next range come to life in sample form and to travel to very warm parts of Australia to meet with some of the artists.

Images courtesy of Catherine Manuell Design

Thursday, 17 July 2008

artist geoffrey proud

Came across these images today and they put a smile on my face, which I figure is enough reason to share them all with you. Don't you think the last image would look gorgeous in a child's room. Reminds me of Peter Rabbit. The "Fractured Fairytales" exhibition of Geoffrey Proud's works is currently on at the Eva Breuer Art Dealer Gallery.

Interesting fact: Geoffrey Proud won the Archibald Prize in 1990 for his portrait of writer Dorothy Hewett. Also, one of his works is in the Elton John collection, London.

Images courtesy of Eva Breuer Art Dealer

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

photo shoot

Call me crazy, but today I had a photo shoot at my teeny tiny apartment for a feature I'm writing for real living. With a crying four-week-old baby I had a photographer, make-up artist, art director, stylist and my mum (to hold the baby while I had my hair and make-up done) at my place. But it's all worth it as I hope to get some gorgeous pics of baby C. I'll post some images when they come in. Oh, and this pic? It was the inspiration for one of the shots.

Monday, 14 July 2008


If you ever doubted what a difference good napery makes then these pics should surely dispel that idea. It makes me want to fling open my cupboards and rid them of anything that isn't fresh and funky. I recently featured Dandi's beautiful bamboo range so thought you might like to find out more about the brand that was founded and is run by six very talented women.

How and why did you start Dandi? We all met after studying industrial design and wanted to share our passion for fun, stylish and affordable homewares with a real Australian feel to them.

What has been the response? There has been a growing response to the range over the last few years but there has definitely been hype over certain products such as our halter neck 50s style pini, gorgeous ironing board covers and the new sustainable bamboo range.
How is having your own business different to what you expected? Despite the fact we are all trained industrial designers and love that aspect of the business in reality it's about 5% design and 95% marketing/sales/distribution.
What has been a highlight? There have been so many! Making the step from fabric products into the bamboo range has been quite exciting for us, it's great to see how it co-ordinates well with the napery range and still has a very Dandi feel to it.
Where do you look to for inspiration? We are crafty girls so we do a lot of experimenting and show and tell to each other. All of us subscribe to different design blogs and magazines as well as collecting objects which inspire us. These range from twigs, branches and seed pods that we pick up on our travels to vintage kitchen and homewares. Basically we are constantly on the look out for inspiration for both products and patterns.
What's the best lesson you've learnt? Don't wear high heels to a trade fair - no matter how glamorous you look!
What are you passionate about right now? We are trying to restructure our business to make it kinder to the environment. So far we have redone our packaging to make it recyclable as well as releasing our range of sustainable bamboo products. We hope to continue moving the Dandi brand forward with this in mind and have been looking at ways of recycling fabric remnants - see our
blog for some examples.
If you could meet one person, living or dead, who would it be? Audrey Hepburn or the Queen's Mother - we can't decide!
What are you looking forward to? Our dream of having a Dandi retrospective exhibition in Paris... maybe in about 20 years time?!
What are you reading? A Guide to Elegance by Genevieve Antoine Dariaux.

Images courtesy of Dandi

Friday, 11 July 2008

hang tags & wine journal

At the risk of being repetitive I have to nominate these latest products from Kikki.K as my most favourite recent find. Those Swedes are just so darn clever.

Images courtesy of Kikki.K

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

artist johnny romeo

NG Art Gallery in Sydney's Chippendale is fast becoming another favourite art gallery. I really respond to the work's they exhibit. The latest is from fast and furious artist Johnny Romeo - with a name like that he wasn't going to be an accountant, that's for sure! His Galaxy Cattle exhibition opened last night.

What five words best describe you? Progressive. Determined. Sensitive. Empathetic, Loyal.

What’s your proudest achievement? Well, being a painter I must admit that my proudest achievement is always the completion of my latest work. There is such an adrenalin rush, which charges your body when you've finally finished a work. You’ve worked for days battling against the canvas; your sensory awareness is peaking as you’re most engaged. Then there’s the fight, knowing what to work in, sensing what to work over, you battle and battle… and finally, victory! You’ve won and that’s your proudest moment, until next time and the next canvas.
What was the starting point for this exhibition? My current exhibition is called Galaxy Cattle. My work deals with the way we construct our identities from the vast array of images that pop culture immerses us in. The exhibition deals with LA pop culture, cultural homogenisation, the failures of blind consumerism, media saturation, celebrity fetish and brand name heroes. My initial starting point for this exhibition was the "LA Pop" movement of the 1960s and early 70s. Those wonderful American pop images, which transformed the image of Los Angeles. Those beautiful urban and suburban landscapes which focused on the ocean and landscape, suburban life, dilapidated houses in aging neighborhoods, streets and parking lots. Ed Ruscha’s photographs of gas stations and parking lots, David Hockney's paintings of swimming pools and tract homes, Dennis Hopper’s obsession with sunlight, Allan Kaprow’s found events, Claes Oldenburg’s ‘symbols of my time’ sculptures. These artists created in their works a new and different sense of space, the urban experience, and popular culture. I loved the energy of LA Pop’s "sun, surf, sand, sex, strip malls and subdivisions". The way those artist depicted Los Angeles; a protean city as a site of pleasure and emptiness, speed and stasis. I really wanted to recreate the same energy, zest, exuberance and colour in my Galaxy Cattle exhibition.
Who inspires you? I’m totally inspired by the beat generation, colour and all things pop. William De Kooning, Robert Rauschenberg, Jim Dine, Larry Rivers, Jasper Johns, David Hockney and Andy Warhol all very much inspire me. I love the writings of Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs and the music of Bob Dylan, Lou Reed and Leonard Cohen. I really dig Kurt Cobain and Jeff Buckley.
What are you passionate about? Painting. The process. The resolution. The solitude.
The jubilation. Nothing comes close. 100% total adrenalin! If you’re a painter, you’ll know what I mean. If you’re not, it’s one of those things you must do in this lifetime.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt? If you sleep eight hours a day, you have slept for 25 years by the time you’re 75.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Pablo Picasso. When I was a young kid at school, I found this old Picasso catalogue in the art room. I took that book home and practised drawing from it for years. That book taught me a great deal about modern art, about ideas and ways of seeing and thinking about art. If only we could meet, there are so many unanswered questions I’d like to ask him.
What are you excited about? I’m excited about showing new work, but I’m most excited about the resurgence in the Australian art scene. There are exciting artists emerging and good established artist showing great work right across the country, which has definitely enriched the scene. There is also great support by the community. I’m seeing more and more packed art shows. Artists have become the new prized athletes and entertainers of our time!!! There are more and more people talking and being interested about art. This is really exciting!

Images courtesy of Johnny Romeo and NG Art Gallery

Friday, 4 July 2008

ruby slipper

I was disappointed to recently learn that Heidi Albertiri was leaving the gorgeous little flower and homewares shop in Sydney's Paddington, Ruby Slipper. But it's for love... so she's absolutely forgiven. And then I learnt that Sam Findley was taking over the business and after speaking with her, it sounds like the shop is going into great hands. Can't wait to see Ruby Slipper blossom - pardon the pun!

Why did you decide to take over the running of Ruby Slipper? It sounds so corny but it truly was love at first sight. I have only known about Ruby Slipper for two months, which is crazy as I feel like I have been waiting for this opportunity for ages. My wonderful best friend Linda and I had finally been able to coordinate schedules to meet and go shopping in Paddington. And to her surprise and mine, now in hindsight, I had never been down William Street. Quite literally I walked straight up to the shop, waltzed in like it was already mine and immediately felt at home. I picked out some gorgeous vintage saucers and started to fantasise about buying so many of the beautiful things on show to help decorate my wedding (which is taking place in the country in October - awful timing! haha) and just started chatting to Heidi about how much I loved her shop - then I happened to mention my wedding and how "she couldn't go anywhere as I have just discovered Ruby Slipper!" She mentioned to me that she was thinking of selling and in a matter of five minutes we had started to talk about me possibly taking over the reigns. It was the start of what has been the most serendipitous couple of months!
Have you done anything like this before? Well... not really! So it is with a mixture of excitement and a little apprehension that I enter this! But I am so deeply passionate and can't wait! I have studied visual arts for four years and have been working in an art gallery for a while now. Prior to that I was working as a visual merchandiser in the giftware industry. But I have always loved flowers. My grandmother (we were very close) was a florist and had the most beautiful garden. Full of gardenias, roses and forget-me-nots. So I grew up with flowers. I also adore grouping things together to create visual stories - I can't wait to get in there and start playing!
Where do you look to for inspiration? I think of my grandmother every day and she is still a wonderful inspiration to me. But so many people inspire me; I am so lucky to have such wonderful people in my life to look to for inspiration (so corny! but true) but I love, love, love Tricia Guild, her work blows me away.
What are you passionate about right now? Ruby Slipper! I will always be passionate about art and creating and also I feel there is nothing more soothing to the soul than flowers - anything so natural that can fill people with such simple happiness is true magic. I am passionate about keeping Ruby Slipper the beautiful little haven that it already is and having it be the focus of this exciting new chapter in my life.
If you could meet one person, living or dead, who would it be? Hard one! Can I have two? I would love to meet Tricia Guild actually and pick her brain for a little while! I would also love to meet the late Linda McCartney - not just due to her love of animals, but to chat to her about the wonderful era that she lived in. There are so many people though!
What are you looking forward to? Working with the wonderful Ruby Slipper girls, meeting the wonderful customers and meeting new ones. Getting married (!)
What are you reading? A beautiful book On Flowers. It is a gorgeous book of poems, pictures, quotes and recipes all involving flowers. I am also ready (again) my favourite book: In the skin of a lion by Michael Ondaatje, author of The English Patient. And about to start On Beauty by Zadie Smith- looking forward to that one.

Thursday, 3 July 2008


As soon as I saw the chopping board I thought, "yes, why hasn't anyone tried to make these look good before". Perhaps they have, but I certainly couldn't find any good looking ones when I was searching for one about a year ago. And, that cheese looks mightily appetising, too (especially after not being able to eat soft cheese for months on end during pregnancy).

This range is from Dandi
- and the Australian design team have made this collection eco-friendly (they've used sustainable Moso Bamboo).

And as a nice Aussie touch each piece includes local flora and fauna, such as Lorri, a rainbow lorikeet and Willi, a willy wag tail. Cute!

Images courtesy of Dandi


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