Sunday, 4 December 2011

Somewhere over the rainbow...

I love this version of Somewhere Over The Rainbow...

It's such a beautiful song in its simplicity and message and why I have chosen to use it to tell you all that I'm off over the rainbow... with a suitcase full of dreams, albeit with one less cat :(

In the coming week I will be packing up my beautiful home and moving back to Sydney the following week, where I plan to stay with my mum for a while in the lovely southern suburb of Como... using it as a base to explore some options...

... to see if the dreams that I dare to dream really do come true.

A time of hopes and plans and dreams... that reach for the sky... on so many levels but mostly to do with the business as I really want to grow it to one that can sustain me long term and I think Sydney is a good place to do this. I have so many ideas that I would like to see become a reality.

My plan is to stay in Sydney for 12 months. Ultimately my dream is to move to the Northern Rivers area of NSW... Bangalow maybe... or somewhere around there. I think it is more my spiritual home than Sydney, even though I was born in Sydney having lived here for six years has made me appreciate the slower pace of life. I've always loved the country and the first time I ever visited Byron and surrounds, at the impressionable age of 18, I just felt at home and fell in love instantly. I love the rolling green hills, the beaches, the culture, the free-spirited and creative community and the way they care about the environment... then there's the markets, shops and eateries... it all just 'fits' with how I want to live my life.. a blend of rural and cosmopolitan living.

So I will be off the air for a couple of weeks... maybe more... depending on how long it takes me to get settled in at the other end and to then catch up with emails, blogs and the like. So until then it's hasta la vista blogland!

Thursday, 1 December 2011

In the media

My first ever magazine feature - yay!

I am so excited because the fabulous Nature & Health magazine featured my 'kangaroo paw' wine carrier in their current issue (December 2011 - January 2012). The item was featured as part of their 'joyful giving' 4 page spread by Helen Larson.

Front cover - Nature & Health Magazine - December 2011 - January 2012 issue.

My wine carriers are proving to be my best sellers. I get alot of interest, sales and wholesale orders for them... so it was a pretty good idea to incorporate them into my range and a wonderful way to use up smaller off-cuts of fabric which helps minimise waste and stops it from going in to land-fill.

Grab your copy of Nature & Health today and read all the wonderful tips and articles on natural health... a much better alternative for us and our planet.

Around town...

More Madeit love... this time lovely Tian emailed me to say my 'kangaroo paw' wine carrier had made it into their current Newsletter 'Xmas Gifts for Men'... thanks guys and there I am right next to my lovely friend Annaïg from Annaïg's Gemstudio (love her Manu Scriptum range).

NB: Due to the size of the newsletter I couldn't get a screen shot of everyone's lovely products, so to see the rest of the Xmas Gifts for Men click here

Friday, 25 November 2011

Around town...

I tell you... I'm feeling the love from Madeit - thanks guys! Sellers and staff have been showering me with love by featuring my items here and there over the past few weeks.

This time one of my Nippers series eco-friendly notebooks has been featured on the front page in Gifts for Paper Lovers :: Handpicked by Madeit (top row, 2nd from right)...

... but for reasons unknown to me when I try to reduce the Firefox page down to fit it all into a screen shot it disappears and so unfortunately I have only been able to capture half the creative goodness so you will just have to pop over and see it all for yourself...

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Around town...

Thanks to my lovely friend, Annaïg from Annaïg's gemstudio who featured my eco-friendly 'kangaroo paw' Greeting Card in her Seller picks (above - bottom row, 1st left). You may remember I did an interview with her back here and I would just like to add that she has now opened a store on madeit so you can purchase her lovely jewellery online.

...and another thanks to lovely Tian from madeit for featuring my eco-friendly 'summer holidays & daydreams' notebook in her Staff picks (below - centre row, centre).

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Inspiration from the garden

I just updated my garden blog with a bunch of images from my back garden, like the one above. Isn't the Grevillea a beautiful Australian native! Of course I'm seeing possibilities here for a textile design and even a new Greeting Card design.

As with most design ideas, before I even start I check out to see if something has been done on the subject matter before, to make sure there are no similarities but more often than not each designer has their own style which keeps our designs unique.

Here are some beautiful examples I found of Grevilleas from Australian textile designers:

Image courtesy 4 leaf clover website.
Above:  4 leaf clover is the small design studio of Fiona Budzynski. It is based in Sydney and produces contemporary, handcrafted homewares with a modern Australian sensibility. Visit the website to read more about the business and where you can also catch up with the blog and shop online.

Image courtesy of Paluma Print etsy shop.
Above: This lovely Grevilla tea towel is the work of Helen King. Her small hand screen printed textiles studio, Paluma Print, is located on the beautiful Redcliffe Peninsula in Queensland, a stone's throw from Moreton Bay. To find out more you can catch up with the blog or visit her Etsy store and Madeit store.

Image courtesy Laughing Bird website.
Above: In the Blue Mountains, Freedom Wilson's Laughing Bird screen print studio 'is all about illustrations and prints translating a love of Australia's natural environment onto original, fun, contemporary screen printed homewares.' To find out more visit the website where you can view the catalogue and shop online.

Image courtesy States of Nature blog.
Above: ... and on my doorstep just about... this Grevillea canvas print is the work of Newcastle-based designer Simone Madigan who runs States of Nature, a specialist printmaking studio. To find out more about the business head on over to the blog where you can also find a link to shop online.

As for me, it will probably be a while before I do anything with the Grevillea photo from my back yard but the seed has been planted and no doubt will evolve into a textile design one day in the not-too-distant future.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Eco Fabric Storage Baskets

I've finally been able to push ahead in the production room and get a bunch of stuff made for an upcoming market (will share details later) and have just stocked my online stores with more wine carriers and my NEW eco fabric storage baskets - yay!

stilelemente Eco Fabric Storage Basket 'wattle bird'
I've been wanting to make these for a while and am really happy with the results. They are fully lined with natural seeded unbleached calico which has iron-on interfacing for stiffness and although it is self-adhesive I have stitched it in place as well for extra stability. The baskets are cylindrical and measure approximately 20cmH x 16cmW.

Great for Christmas gifts or to fill up with little Christmas gifts to make a lovely hamper... there's plenty of designs to choose from and you can buy them here and here... and you'll find the wine carriers there too which also make great gifts!

... and, as I know I'm not the first to make fabric storage baskets, I would like to share the spotlight with some other great Australian designers:

Above: Ink & Spindle (image courtesy of Ink & Spindle blog)
Above: Memi Designs (image courtesy of Memi website)
Above: Paluma Print (image courtesy of Paluma Print blog)
Above: Yardage Design (image courtesy of Yardage Design blog)
Lot's of creative goodness and they all complement each other wonderfully so if you're hard pressed to make a decision support handmade and buy them all!

As for me... it's back to the production room with more items still to come, so stay tuned...

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Being in my production room makes me smile

Taking time out to soak up a bit of this glorious Spring sunshine but mostly I'm in the production room this week... with a couple of interruptions over the past 2 days, today is gearing up to be quite productive... will share the results here when it's all finished... with lots of goodies to stock both my online stores.

I love the morning light in my production room.

Just a small stash of what's ahead of me... lots of cutting before the sewing can start...

Are you having a productive week? Whatever it is you are doing I hope you are taking time out to enjoy the sunshine too.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Flowers make me smile

Even though they flower more than once a year these gorgeous daisies, picked from my garden, are a lovely sign of Spring. I just did a big photo post on my gardening blog to show the other projects I have been busy with... today I'm doing some stuff online before I head back into the production room next week to start making stock with my latest fabrics...

Enjoy your weekend and, for those of us in the southern hemisphere, this glorious Spring weather!

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Three new fabric designs

I'm slowly getting back into the swing of things and getting organised...

You might remember back here I shared the colour swatches for my three new designs. The fabric arrived some time back but I got side-tracked with things and just haven't had a chance until now to share.

Introducing my three new designs:

Lyrebird (detail) - Grey Bark on Latte hemp / organic cotton base-cloth

Wattle Bird and Bottle Brush (detail) - Callistemon Red on Latte hemp / organic cotton base-cloth
 Brachycome (detail) - Brachycome Blue on Latte hemp / organic cotton base-cloth

All three will be available for purchase in my online stores just as soon as I list them... all three designs will be available as ready-made products with the first two designs also available as yardage (like my previous fabrics) - however, this run of Brachycome has a design fault that prevents the perfectionist in me from offering it as yardage but it will be available as fat quarters, with the next print run being available as yardage.

For more images you can view my flickr photostream (select the Organic Hand Screen Printed Textiles set on the right-hand side)... comments and feedback are always welcome.

Thursday, 14 July 2011


Jed's feet dangling over the edge of the balcony - 2009
Apart from my absence over the past couple of weeks due to the sudden loss of my beloved cat I also want to apologise to my followers and readers for the absence of any of my own work from this blog and from my life in general over the past couple of months or more.

It's not until you start a business that you can understand how it is going to sit within the broader margins of your life, if you are going to like what you do, if you think you want to keep at it and so on.

I have found it immensely satisfying to see my vision become a reality, slow as it has been, so much to learn and absorb, so much to do when you are doing it on your own and again it's not until you are in it that you can start to shape it the way you want, see what works and what doesn't and determine how you want to proceed.

Once I reached that place everything sort of stopped but only because I felt this huge need and desire to 'organise' the rest of my life around what is gradually becoming a main focus in my life - my business... and so I wanted to tie up loose ends, clean out the old and make room for the new. I have a vision for where I want to take the business and I want to tie up those loose ends because I don't want any distractions, or I want to minimise distractions so I can give the business more attention from here on in and grow it to be one that can support me because I love living creatively and can't imagine doing anything else... but I also love that I (along with many other fabulous designers and business owners) am offering eco-friendly products to consumers who want to use sustainably produced items in their homes and to give as gifts.

Since starting the home-based business I had been gradually transforming areas in the home to become more functional work areas once I knew the general direction I wanted, the products I wanted to make and so on. I have shared some of these here on my blog as I did them.

In wanting to organise things around me I knew I had to address some unfinished work around the home and garden and this thought process led to a great desire to turn my home into a showcase for my products... plus there's nothing like a mini make-over to make things fresh. As with a house and garden there is always much more involved than you realise at the beginning and things just take longer than what you anticipated... so it is this that has been taking my focus away from the business side of things... this and taking the past couple of weeks to grieve the loss of Jed.

The make-over isn't big and fancy, I live the things I believe in, i.e. sustainably, and re-use and recycle where possible. My style is eclectic and rustic and most of the work around here has just been about painting but I also had to address some things like a water leak on the back balcony, rusted posts supporting the awning out the back, cracked concrete and so on... finishing one last section of landscaping and other odds and ends... and I am nearly finished with it all and am really looking forward to getting back to the business to start putting ideas into action. There have been some minor movements in the business these past couple of months, things I will share when they are ready. I will also be sharing more images from the home front once I get my act together and then I will be finally making some more products with my new fabrics... long overdue I know!

It's also been fulfilling finding this fabulous creative and supportive online community, finding other people who are doing what they love, finding other people that share the same ideals as you and finding this great movement back to hand-made, sustainable and ethical products.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Out of the loop...

Just popping by quickly to say I'm out of the loop for a while as something unexpected happened last week that needs my full attention. I can't even give much, if any, attention to all the other things I had on the go either, let alone business stuff - even though my new fabrics (new designs) arrived a week or so ago, just haven't gotten around to playing with them yet but as soon as things get back to normal around here I will share images.

In the meantime here is the link to my new Craftumi shop - Maker's Table - where I've started listing some of the wonderful and unique craft items I am selling. I've already made some sales so if you see something you like snap it up because once it's sold it's gone. This is another project that was interrupted last week and I will be listing more items here, including some fabulous vintage fabrics, once I get back on track.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Happy to be indoors

Are you enjoying your long weekend? I did have a nice lunch date with a friend on Friday, and a little outing on Saturday morning but was confined to the indoors yesterday due to another bout of wild winds and sideways rain. I kept very busy and am working again today, in a laid-back, relaxed kind of way - the rain has eased marginally but the winds are a little too strong for my liking, so staying indoors is a nice option :) This little guy thinks so too... soaking up the winter sun behind glass.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

A kangaroo or two - from idea to finished product...

I bought this beautiful print by Shane Audcius in December 2009 at the Art Bazaar in Newcastle (sorry I may be mispelling her surname as it's really hard to make out her handwriting). It was this print that inspired my kangaroo design, along with this design by Florence Broadhurst:

Above: Horses Stampede - image p71 Florence Broadhurst Her Secret and Extraordinary Life by Helen O'Neill.

I love the energy of both prints, particularly Broadhurst's and wanted to capture the essence of animals on the move. 

The design process for my kangaroo print was to look at images of kangaroo mobs and kangaroos hopping and it was interesting to see the kangaroo mobs don't necessarily all hop in the same direction, the same general direction yes, but not in a straight line so to speak... I tried to capture the essence of a mob by making some appear in the foreground and pushing others into the background. I then muck around with placement until I get something I'm happy with and that works in repeat:

Above: Adobe Illustrator
Above and Below: my kangaroo design hand screen printed onto organic base cloth.


Above and Below: It is a long process from design to finished product but nothing gives me more satisfaction that to use the fabric to make products.

I thought I might have been the only one to think that kangaroos was a good subject matter for both design and homewares, being that they are iconically Australian, but I found that Broadhurst also did a Kangaroo print, it is obviously lesser known than her more popular prints and in all honesty it's not one of my favourites of hers:

Above: Aboriginal Rock Art - image p115 Florence Broadhurst Her Secret and Extraordinary Life by Helen O'Neill.

I also found a couple of other designers who have used kangaroos in their work and love both of these:

Above: image - Vogue Living July / August 2008.

James and Hayley Baillie of South Australia's Southern Ocean Lodge commissioned Julie Paterson of clothfabric to create the kangaroo print you can see in the image above, on the cushion and rug (and it also appears on the menus).

Above: image - Spacecraft Australia website.

A new cushion from Spacecraft Australia - I really like how Spacecraft use a lot of photographic images in their work. 

...and I found this one too:

 Above: image - Laughing Bird website.

The Wildflower and Kangaroo Print tea towel by Laughing Bird, available in Navy on Natural, Grey on White and Blue on White.

So what do you think? Do you like kangaroos in the context of contemporary homewares? I'm partial to the popular botanicals as well, particularly Australian natives but I think our native fauna are pretty cool too and worthy of a design or two in their honour.

Monday, 6 June 2011

A funny animation for cat lovers

This is pretty much what happens at my place every morning... this animation had me in stitches, so clever - m.d39 knows a thing or two about cats >(*!*)<

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Home office - designs and ideas

I LOVE looking through house and garden magazines - they are a constant source of inspiration and a wealth of information. When I was planning my home office I was lucky enough to stumble across a great article in Australian Home Beautiful magazine (April 2007, pp 56-61 by Anna McCooe):

Above: This is definitely the one that inspired the design for my home office. I love how you get an idea from seeing things like this but you go and make the look your own. Being in such a narrow space and not have a wide-angle lens I couldn't get a front-on shot like this of my home office in my previous post but hopefully you can see some of the design ideas - a great way to utilise space under the stairs.

... and just the other day I linked to this gorgeous blog (from oeke design blog) and found this beautiful home office (below):

Image: Anna Malin - helt enkelt blog
For more pictures and the story behind this beautiful workspace see the rest of the post (you can translate it to English) - the helt enkelt blog by Anna Malin is simply beautiful. Her workspace is another clever use of under-stair space... don't you just LOVE her style!

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

At my house today

A couple of precious moments in the front yard...

Above: It appears I'm growing a cat! 
This is my beautiful Max E Mumjoy being just so adorable and silly.

Above: Rewards for looking... can you see the two divine Wattle birds hanging out by the bird bath - I love watching them take turns to dive and splash into the water. I wanted to get closer but alas they flew away.

What happened at your house today? Any nice moments?