Friday, 31 October 2008

daisy chain

I love, love, love this image. It's summer. It's fresh. It's colourful. It's where I want to be. Hmmm. Maybe I'm getting bored of being at home. This desire to get out and about seems to be a reoccuring fantasy. The image also reminds me of the Sofia Coppola's The Virgin Suicides - loved the film and the brilliant book by Jeffrey Eugenides (that doesn't often happen).

Image courtesy of Amy Butler Design

Thursday, 30 October 2008

lauren hutton

This image of Lauren Hutton stopped me in my tracks when I was checking out The Sartorialist the other day. It's ridiculous, really, that a high-profile woman who chooses not to have botox and plastic surgery is someone to take note of. But that's the reality of our youth-obsessed culture. So, thank you Ms Hutton for showing how beautiful ageing can be.

Image courtesy of The Sartorialist

Wednesday, 29 October 2008


Today I wanted to showcase another blogger who inspires me - Pia Jane Bijkerk. "Enhance the everyday" is her motto. And I couldn't agree more. Pia does this through her work as a stylist, writer and photographer, a path she turned to after running a homewares store as well as a teahouse in Sydney's Northern Beaches. Now she divides her time between Paris, Amsterdam and Sydney.

Pia's beautiful Parisian apartment (pictured, top) was featured as a before and after story here.

Which five words best describe you? Passionate, candid, rambling, quiet, flawed.

What’s your proudest achievement? Any time that I am able to express myself clearly and succinctly I am a bit proud. It doesn't happen often.

Who inspires you? Right now I am totally inspired by my fellow bloggers and blog readers. I love blogging. In my humble opinion it's the best technological creation to date.

What are you passionate about? Life: mine and everyone else's.

What’s the best lesson you've learnt? To just get on with it.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Songwriter and musician Ani DiFranco who is able to not only express herself clearly and succinctly on a regular basis, but also has the ability of "getting on with it".

What’s next? My first book will be published next year, and I have a few fun projects in the making that include more writing, more photography, more travelling, more styling, more drawings, and more music.

What are you reading? Just finished reading Mary Shaffer's The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, and have just started reading Sean Condon's My 'Dam Life. The two books couldn't be further worlds apart, but both inspire and intrigue me equally.

images courtesy of pia jane bijkerk

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

the drill hall emporium

The Drill Hall Emporium is, without a doubt, one of the best antique stores I've ever visited. It has the right balance of drool-worthy pieces and others that you can afford. And everything is so beautifully presented. It's such a pleasure just to step inside the building. It was definitely one of the highlights of my recent trip to Tasmania. Here, Tammy Baird reveals how she created such a gorgeous store.

How and why did you start The Drill Hall Emporium? I started The Drill Hall Emporium around 12 years ago with my older sisters, Donna and Juliet. We would spend our weekends travelling around in Donna's old Mercedes Benz sourcing vintage wares for the shop. The shop allowed us to have a fun and challenging weekend job whilst we continued our studies at college and university. Donna and I, with our Mum, have now committed ourselves wholly to the shop. Donna and I, together with our husbands (who happen to be brothers with their own antique shop), enjoy searching further afield in the UK and Europe to keep The Drill Hall brimming with unique and usable antiques.
What has been a highlight? I was walking the streets of Lille in the north of France and I realised that I wanted to end my career as a pharmacist to become a full-time antique dealer. The Drill Hall Emporium was already an antique shop but it needed a full-time commitment to reach its absolute potential. I felt a huge rush of excitement at the thought of doing what I really loved to do, hunt for special treasures and see the world at the same time. I couldn't sleep on the plane home as I was already planning the first buying trip overseas and worrying whether Donna and mum would think I had lost my sanity in France.
Where do you look for inspiration? A (never-ending) supply of interior magazines; international antique fairs; the simplicity of nature; and my husband, Todd.
What is the best lesson you've learnt? Hard work and dedication will bring reward and satisfaction.
If you could meet one person, living or dead, who would it be? I struggled with this question, but I would have to say Nelson Mandela. His fight against injustice and his enduring vision for the future are beyond compare. "I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die" - Nelson Mandela, 1964, his speech in his own defence at his trial.
What are you reading?
The Shell - A World of Decoration and Ornament by Ingrid Thomas; Axel Vervoordt- Timeless Interiors by Armelle Baron and Christian Sarramon; and In Cuba I Was a German Shepherd by Ana Menendez.

Images courtesy of The Drill Hall Emporium

Monday, 27 October 2008

artist shannon rankin

I'm always fascinated by how each of us interpret art differently. When I looked at these images by Maine artist Shannon Rankin I was thinking about peace. I guess it's the doves. But I wasn't just thinking about peace in terms of an end to wars and fighting, but finding an inner peace. This is especially on my mind given the continuing economic woes that are reported on the news each morning. Then when I interviewed Shannon she explained that through her works she explores the ideas of "travel, healing and time". To me, that's peace just under another guise.

Which five words best describe you? Kind, positive, loving, intuitive and quirky.
What's your proudest achievement? Recent acceptance into Juried Biennial Exhibition at Center for Contemporary Art, Rockport, Maine.
Who inspires you? In addition to authors such as Alan Watts, Carl Jung, Henry Miller, Joseph Campbell, Carl Sagan, and now Eckhart Tolle, I and am also inspired by my artist boyfriend - Justin Richel
. And a number of artists I have found via flickr: Betsy Walton, Maxwell Loren Holyoke-Hirsch, Allyson Mellberg, Robert Hardgrave, Alexis Anne Mackenzie and Hernan Paganini.
What are you passionate about? Mostly making art!
What's the best lesson you've learnt? To allow for mistakes and take time for moments of rest.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? I'll name 4 people. Barack Obama, Eckhart Tolle, Alan Watts and Bob Dylan.
What's next? Winter and a whole lot of art making!
What are you reading?
A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle; Henry Miller on Writing by Henry Miller and The Book by Alan Watts.

Images courtesy of Shannon Rankin

Friday, 24 October 2008

emma jay designs' secret garden collection

I love everything about this image. The cushion. The chair. The greenery. How I wish I was there right now. And there's hope now this week's grey skies seem to be clearing. The only thing that would perhaps top off the fantasy would be a good book and a glass of Champagne. And birdsong. Now that would be perfect.

Image courtesy of Emma Jay Designs

Thursday, 23 October 2008

blogger joanna goddard

If you're anything like me you can't resist your daily dose of blogs. Certainly, I don't know how women coped with motherhood and maternity leave before them! If I didn't have my daily fix I'd feel incredibly isolated and out of touch with the world. And so I wanted to salute some of the people behind my favourite blogs in the next week or so.

Many of you probably have already met Joanna Goddard AKA
A Cup Of Jo. She is a woman after my own heart - a writer. And an incredibly busy one at that. Not only does she have her own blog but she writes a daily relationships blog for Glamour Magazine called Smitten. But what makes me not only really admire Joanna - and a touch envious - is not just that she lives in Greenwich Village, New York, but that she writes for publications such as the New York Magazine and Cookie. Sigh. Plus, she was editor-in-chief of Bene, a quarterly magazine about Italian life and style. Si, sono molto gelosa!

Which five words best describe you? Energetic, cheerful, neurotic, friendly, loving.
What’s your proudest achievement? I am really happy to have written for New York Magazine. Even though it's a city magazine, it's very well-respected and well-read. They have such clever articles, and I had wanted to write for them for a long time. Then, last spring, I wrote
my first story for them about New Yorkers who wear only one color (pics, above). It took ages to scout the people, but I was thrilled with the way it turned out and just so excited. Since then, I've written other stories, such as articles about kids making tons of money from lemonade stands and New Yorkers' over-the-top fabulous closets. I hope I'm able to keep writing stories for them. It makes me feel really proud to be part of such an smart, funny and creative publication.
Who inspires you? If I have to name one person right now, I'd say my dad. He's always had tons of energy and taught us to live life and really go for it. I remember on a family vacation two summers ago, we were all lazing around a waterfront B&B and lying in a hammock and reading the paper... when all of a sudden, I looked out on the water, and my dad was kayaking by! It made me burst out laughing. I hadn't even realised he was gone! His joie de vivre really inspires me.
What are you passionate about? Magazines. Riding my bike. Contemporary photography. The blogging community.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt? "You can have the life you want." That advice was written by
Stephanie Congdon Barnes on the blog Unruly Things, and I love it and try to remember it.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Jerry Seinfeld. It would be so much fun to just pal around with him. Even just looking at him makes me crack up at this point.
What’s next? A nap, I hope! For now, I'm concentrating on my new
Glamour blog.
Down the road, I'd love to write a book about weddings, collaborate on a poster with the designer
Mike Fusco and move to Europe.
What are you reading? For work (and pleasure), I'm reading a brand new book,
Labor of Love, about natural childbirth. It's really, really fascinating to hear these women's stories.

Images courtesy of Joanna Goddard and New York Magazine

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

sculpture by the sea 2008

One of my first blogs was when I visited Sculpture by the Sea - the annual event held on the stretch of coastline between Bondi and Tamarama. Well, this weekend we checked out this year's offerings. It's always a pleasure, and busy - even though I went at about 8am on a Sunday morning. Surely only people with babies are out at this time, I thought. Apparently not.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

artist deborah sleeman

If I had a garden I'd want one of these amazing artworks as a sculpture to put on display. They remind me of the ghostly Miss Haversham from Great Expectations. They are part of Deborah Sleeman's current exhibition "They All Fall Down" at Harrison Galleries in Sydney's Paddington.

What's your proudest achievement? Having and raising a daughter.

What was the starting point for this exhibition? Our relationship to the natural world and beautiful materials, ie, recycled pressed tin scrounged from all over SA.

Who inspires you? Artistically, so many people - Antonio Tapies, Anselm Keifer, Botero and of course Rosalie Gascoigne, sculpture from early civilisations.
What are you passionate about? The natural world.
What's the best lesson you've learnt? One can always be a better person.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Virginia Woolfe or Georgia O'Keefe off the top of my head, but if I thought about it seriously I'm sure it would be someone else.
What are you reading? Always two or three at once:
Stories of God by Rainer Maria Rilke; The World Without Us by Alan Weisman; and a biography of William Dampier, pirate and explorer.

Images courtesy of Deborah Sleeman and Harrison Galleries

Monday, 20 October 2008

designer sasha rossman

Part of my job as deputy editor of Real Living is going to trade fairs. I have to admit that I don't often see too much of interest. Sure, it's a chance to check out the latest products from companies I'm familiar with - and I get to do it all in the one location rather than schlepping from one end of town, or the country, to the other. But every now and then I do find a product that I fall in love with and this happened when I first spotted Pad. At the stand was the stylish owner Sasha, who was busy talking to potential customers at the time (always a good sign!) and so I just had to contend myself with grabbing a business card vowing to contact her later. Since then I've learnt that her and her partner established the company in Germany five years ago. A year later they set up shop in Australia and now they're in New Zealand, too. I love their fabrics and can't wait for them to launch their bag and scarf line at the February 2009 trade fairs. For now, check out the exclusive launch shots from the 2009 European/Australian collections.

What five words best describe you? Spontaneous,enthusiastic,reliable,tidy and exhausted.
What's your proudest achievement? Establishing PAD and watching it grow throughout both Australia and Europe.
Who inspires you? My husband. He is my rock and the coolest dude ever. He still goes night clubbing in Paris.
What are you passionate about? Travelling. I love getting lost in a foreign city an avoiding all major tourist destinations. There is something magical about finding the essence of a culture in both the food and people.
What's the best lesson you've learnt? Never assume anything about anyone.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Barack Obama! The most important man of the moment.
What are you excited about? Having people come and visit us over the weekend at our beach house. It makes a hard working week worth while, otherwise what do we work for?
What are you reading?
Bright Shiny Morning by James Frey. Easy and uncomplicated read which means I can put it down and leave it a few days. I obsess other wise.

Images courtesy of Pad Concept

Thursday, 16 October 2008

designer lisa tilse

"An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but will never break" - so says an ancient Chinese belief. And with such a wonderful sentiment, Lisa Tilse named her business The Red Thread. After studying visual communication design at Sydney College of the Arts (UTS) and working as a senior designer in Australia and the UK, she started her own business in 2005.

Which five words best describe you? Visual, calm, creative, open, nurturing.
What's your proudest achievement? I'm hoping the best is yet to come, but I do feel proud that I have always made a living from doing what I love. On a smaller scale whenever someone buys my work it's like a little affirmation that I'm on the right track and it feels good to know that someone will get pleasure from something I created. And on a personal level I am proud of my beautiful four year old daughter who is an absolute delight.
Who inspires you? So many people for so many reasons! Brilliant creative people whose work I admire like Dutch designer Tord Boontje, architect Frank Gehry and illustrators from the '50s and '60s like Alain Gree. The resurgence of craft and indie crafters is a never-ending source of inspiration to me. There are so many talented and creative people who are making beautiful things, as evidenced on a grass roots level by etsy and madeit. People who champion humanitarian causes: I recently discovered the website which was set up by John Breen in conjunction with the UN World Food Program to help end world hunger. I'm sure we all think that as individuals we can't possibly impact something as huge as world hunger, but John Breen has done something about it, and what's fantastic is that allows every one of us to make a contribution. It's fun and it's free. I'm inspired by people that take action.
What are you passionate about? I'm passionate about design, art and creating. I don't seem to have an off switch.
What's the best lesson you've learnt? That's a tough one. I'm going to cop out here because I can't think of one that stands out. There are so many lessons...
If you could meet one person, living or dead, who would it be? I would give anything to see my dear Mum again and for her to meet my daughter Roxy.
What's next? I have lots of new product ideas which I'd like to develop for The Red Thread. I'm also very excited to be embarking on a new venture with a business partner. It's the perfect scenario for me: he will handle the business side and I will be able to concentrate on designing. I haven't had that luxury before.
What are you reading? Quite a mixed bag of things. I am totally addicted to reading blogs at the moment - it's such a wonderful way to feel connected to the global creative community. I really do spend too much time going from one blog to another, but I find them fascinating and inspiring. One of my favourite authors is Barbara Kingsolver - I loved her book
The Poisonwood Bible. I am currently reading her account of her family's year of eating only food they have grown themselves or sourced from their local community. It's called Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. Our Year of Seasonal Living. I am also dipping in and out of Handmade Nation: The rise of DIY, Art, Craft and Design. And I am on the last pages of The Unthinkable. Who Survives When Disaster Strikes - And Why. It's a fascinating personal account of survivors of disasters, and the science of how the mind and body respond to crisis. I told you it was a mixed bag!

Images courtesy of The Red Thread


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