Monday 28 December 2009

I love stamps!

I love stamps! I often wonder what to do with them. I hate hiding them in books and boxes and wish that they were bigger so that I could show them off on my walls like posters. (Now I have made them a little bit bigger at least.) This is the tip of my stamp iceberg: I could turn this blog into the Agence Eureka of stamps as the collection that I have been given recently is so huge and gorgeous. Oh: the last stamp is actually from my lovely friend Anna, from a letter that her dear grandmother sent her.

Sunday 20 December 2009

Working 9 - 5: A Magnetic Girl

Having a play with an item that I designed for seed a few months back. The little girl is actually an 'extended version' of the Lady's Face which I first designed for November '08. The clothes in her holiday wardrobe are all from the current summer range, albeit in tiny magnetic form. (That was the boss's idea: if it had been left to me she would have had a red beret, a sailor suit, a Liberty floral dress, argyle socks and a Fair Isle vest. Sometimes the boss has a point.)

I like having her in my house. It's a nice way for me to keep a tiny souvenir of my
toucan and horse t-shirts too! Funny how tiny= cute.

Saturday 19 December 2009

My Place and Yours: The "Me" Wardrobe

Hello All! I am proud to announce that I have been chosen as Theme Queen for this week's game of My Place and Yours courtesy of the lovely Pip at Meet Me at Mike's. I have decided to take the theme a wee bit sideways this week, I hope that nobody minds! ;)

It's really easy to change your wardrobe every season, every week really, with all those cheap little shops everywhere. I should know -- I work in the fashion industry: some of my colleagues never wear the same thing twice and wouldn't be caught dead in anything from last season. I think that's a shame, not least because clothes take alot of work to make. They deserve a bit of love, especially as they do so much for us: keep us warm, looking pretty (even sexy!), show the world who we are and even what we think.

What's your favourite item of clothing, the one that you feel special in, the most "you" in, keep going back to, can be spotted in by friends from miles away, wear over and over and hope will never fall apart and die? Perhaps you've even had to darn it already? (There's to keeping an old craft alive!) It might be a scarf that you made, a pair of gorgeous red high heels, a vintage printed dress or even a pair of old pink flannelette pyjamas. Or it can be more than one!

How you show your item is up to you. If you feel too shy to play model, photograph it in a happy setting or maybe you could even draw it! That way if it dies you'll have a lovely souvenir...

Above: my chosen item is a heavy cotton embroidered Moroccan dress which I bought in the exotic locale of Malvern Road in inner Melbourne. (There used to be a lovely second hand shop there but it exists no longer.) This dress was a huge floor length djellabah. I shortened and fitted it and wear it day and evening in winter with my boots. No thought required, and I always feel special in it!
By the way, my apologies for being so tardy with this post. I had an unusually late night, enjoying The Black Eyed Susans and friends at The Thornbury Theatre. I am mentioning it partly to get out of trouble but also because I'll bet that at least one of my fellow My Place and Yours players was there...

Wednesday 16 December 2009

Home: Two Relaxation Spots

Those who know me well say that I am actually not very good at relaxing at all. However, when the TV is on and the phone rings, I take it to the quiet of my bedroom, above. (Note for patchwork freaks: the above quilt is made up of ready-cut squares of leftover Hawaiian shirt fabric that my mother bought at a market in Honolulu some years ago. They speedily became a very happy summery quilt!) Below is where I might otherwise lie and read a book (with my head resting between the four red roses on the lovely aqua pillow) or sit up knitting and listening to the TV. Please note reflection of photographer with bed hair in the small round painted mirror.
This post is part of a game started over at Meet Me at Mike's by Pip Lincolne. This week players were asked to show a place of sanctuary within their home. A lovely theme dreamt up by Pilgrim.
I am going to be Theme Queen next week. I hope that even in the midst of pre-holiday madness people find time to play! I might take the theme a little bit sideways...I hope that nobody minds.

Saturday 12 December 2009

Knitting Frenzy Part II

First Date Vest, unfinished. I made this last weekend: that's when the knitting REALLY got frenzied.....

Wednesday 9 December 2009


Again I am taking part in a posting game started by Pip Lincolne over at Meet Me at Mike's. I LOVE this week's theme by Myrtle and Eunice, which is (roughly) about choosing items one owns that would make any place feel instantly like home. I found it very difficult to limit myself to only a few things. Above: my patchwork mannequin. Although I love doing patchwork, I did not make this particular piece. I bought it from The Chapel Street Bazaar, where it was warming a wooden crib. The piece itself is unfinished: it is actually shaped like a giant hexagon, has been made entirely by hand, and has some very sweet 70's fabrics in it. Above: I am also a big fan of globes. This one is my favourite: not only is it a beautiful colour, all the countries and capitals are in exotic Dutch AND it lights up! A Chapel Street Bazaar purchase too, I think. Behind it is my Barbapapa wallhanging which I bought in Stockholm last year at a lovely little shop called Under. Another less visible item in the above photo is a red geranium. Flowers and plants are VERY important in making a house a home. Red geraniums also remind me of my grandmother.
Above: last but not least are my books. Without my books I would feel as though my brain had been put away in a box. In fact, last year when I did have to put my books temporarily into a very large number of boxes, I did feel exactly that way.

Sunday 6 December 2009

How a picture came to be

This post is for my dear writer friend Kate Constable, with whom I was recently discussing parallels between the process of writing a story and the process of making a picture. We decided that there were many. But I wonder whether anything important gets lost in the process sometimes? Above: the final Lady and Egg. Below: the initial sketch. I doodle sometimes, a relatively new habit, but one which always gleans at least one little creature worth dignifying on its own in a more "finished" medium rather than just remaining on a page of numerous biro scrawls.

Below: the first attempt at a "finished" picture, done using a fountain pen with pencil over the top. I thought that it looked too laboured, especially the egg yolk, which seemed too dark.

... I'd be interested to know which of these three pictures people like best -- the one that I consider to be the "finished" one -- the simplified one with the green background (top) -- might not necessarily be the one that viewers connect with. Let me know!

I have also been admiring the work of the French artist/illustrator Marie Delafon lately. I wonder whether I was thinking of her work while I was doodling that day?

Thursday 3 December 2009

A wall disguise courtesy of Melway's

I am again taking part in a game started by Pip Lincolne over at Meet Me at Mike's. This week, the theme is roughly this: what makes your place noice, different or unusual? (Of course this to be pronounced in Kath and Kim style.) I might have photographed my entire house for this post, being a 100 year old weatherboard place with all sorts of cracks, quirks and patch up jobs everywhere. However I decided that I was most proud of this particular disguise for my half painted and pock marked kitchen wall: an extremely large polystyrene board on which I have glued the entire eastern section of an old Melway's*: from Warrandyte to Fawkner in the north down to Dandenong and across to Black Rock in the south. People quite admire it. It also serves the purpose of actually helping to work out where you're going occasionally.

* two copies of the Melway's are actually required for this little project. A random patchwork of pages would look good too, although it might be very confusing for out-of-town visitors. Spare pages also make nice wrapping paper, I have found. Especially for out-of-town visitors.

By the way, the theme this week was dreamt up by Toni from Little Suitcase.

Monday 30 November 2009

Knitting Frenzy Part I

I have doing ALOT of knitting lately -- highly recommended in times of stress! This bag is the first result. The deer is a traditional Swedish motif that I found in a book, the little people holding hands are from my mum's old German sewing magazines. I had a short sleeved sweater with these motifs on them when I was a kid (in lemon and lime: it was the 70's) and I have loved them ever since. I've used lots of beautiful Australian and New Zealand wool and wool blend yarns which are soft but sturdy and highly recommended to work with. The bag is lined in beautiful vintage cotton which I found at The Chapel Street Bazaar. It's modelled here by my beautiful sister-in-law Esme in my father's garden (soon to be featured on Vasili's, by the way).
It is available in my etsy shop. The bag, that is.

Thursday 26 November 2009

A tiny part of my vintage scarf collection

Details of some of my favourite vintage scarves, above. Apologies as usual for my mediocre photographic skills. My criterion for a collectible scarf is largely subconscious: if it grabs my eye and doesn't look too much like something I already have (e.g. Italian tourist scarves) then I grab it! As it happens, looking at this little bunch I can see some common themes emerging: a certain level of kitsch, maps and travel themes, bright colours and a simple illustrative quality. The final one is my favourite: a relatively large Jacqumar London scarf commemorating the QEII, which according to last August's The World of Interiors may well be worth a couple of pretty pennies. Or it would be if I hadn't blu-tacked it to the hallway wall one summer and stained its corners permanently. I love it too much to part with it anyway.

This post is part of an ongoing game over at the lovely Meet Me at Mike's, which anyone is welcome to take part in. This week's theme of collections was dreamt up by Kate at Fox's Lane.

Wednesday 25 November 2009

Working 9 - 5: Painted Eggs

Above: I designed these A G E S ago and couldn't wait to show them here, and now that they have arrived in stores for the Christmas toy rush, I can. They are small handpainted wooden eggs that make a lovely sound when you shake them. Below: the artwork which was sent to China for the manufacturers to interpret in three dimensions. I think that they did a good job. (There was a fourth design -- a flower -- which was deemed boring by the higher powers and cancelled.)

Thursday 19 November 2009

Lessons in Australiana!

An important lesson about Australia for foreign readers of this blog (hello dear cousins!). Here, kangaroos deliver our strawberries...
Butterflies guard our homes (this one is quite close to mine actually)...

Pineapples help us to see...

...and our ubiquitous tomato sauce comes via a koala.

The last three images are from Barry Humphries' Treasury of Australian Kitsch, Melbourne, 1980 (though most of the images in the book seem at least ten years older). This book is out of print as far as my brief internet investigation has gleaned. Why, oh why?!

Sunday 15 November 2009

Hans and Huey

Above: Gustav and Franz now have a rather poetic little brother called Hans, who bravely asks "Do you believe in love?" inspired by the 1982 song lyric by Huey Lewis and the News. Click here to watch the video -- I know you want to.
January 7 addition: my little band of brothers are visiting a beautiful blog called Enhabiten, based in New Hampshire. They are very pleased with themselves!

Thursday 12 November 2009

My Secret Weapon!

I am taking part in a game started by Pip Lincolne over at Meet Me at Mike's. This week, players have been asked by My Bricole to share their special creative weapon. Mine has to be my beloved copy* of Auguste Racinet's The Costume History, first published in the 1870's. A seemingly endless, enormous treasure trove of people, costumes and cultures that I open at random pages regularly and always find something that intrigues me. There's nothing to beat the colour, pattern, detail, interaction between the figures, oddity and variety of human glory that it documents with Victorian zeal. And when I feel that I have been too saturated by this dip into history, I go for something cooler, like Vitamin D. But when I want to go back to the endless glories of human culture, I go back via (Un)FASHION by Tibor and Maira Kalman. Brilliant!

* Until recently I had been borrowing the E N O R M O U S copy of Racinet held by the City Library in Melbourne. Do NOT attempt this unless you have a wheelbarrow. I found my (smaller) copy at The Brunswick Street Bookstore, and it was pretty well priced as Taschen is celebrating an anniversary this year.