Monday, 31 December 2012

it's finished.

The deck extension was actually finished a few days after my last post but with Christmas, trips away and lazy summer days, it seems my blog has been on holidays too and until now I haven't had a chance to post a photo of it in all its glory.

I absolutely love the small but significant addition. The barbecue has now moved, the old deck was also revamped with a new coat of oil and we went all out and put LEDs in the deck facing so the surrounding grass is illuminated at night - great for spotting and avoiding cane toads when venturing into the backyard at night - eek. Next on the agenda is a front step, but that can wait until well into 2013. Now it's time to enjoy it.

 Happy Holidays and all the best for a wonderful 2013!

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

all good things come to those who wait.

Not long after we bought our house two years ago, I started to drop a few subtle hints that it would be great if our back deck could be extended....

I didn't get much of a response, so I patiently waited and waited... then dropped a few more hints, but it seemed to no amount of persuasion could convince my other half it was a great idea. So when it seemed like the deck extension was an absolute lost cause, I changed tack and downgraded my plans to a few large timber stairs coming off the deck. I measured out the planned stairs with rope to share my vision... Still no movement or sign of interest...

However, an early Christmas present of a seven piece Makita drill kit changed everything! Much to my delight and absolute surprise I walked out the back on Sunday night to see the power tools had been used and little construction site had been established. Measuring had taken place and by Monday morning the holes for the bearers had been dug. I could not believe it! With a little patience and the gift of a new Makita kit good things can happen.

On Tuesday the bearers and joists went in.

This morning we did a little timber shopping.

And now it is well and truly underway! Christmas for me has come early.

Monday, 10 December 2012

all the trimmings.

Although I am sure most die hard Christmas devotees would have already decorated their trees, I wanted to share a few of my favourite decorations which I came across over at Outliving. I do love a Christmas reindeer and a few penguins in the mix.

Friday, 7 December 2012

getting into the christmas spirit.

I love unique christmas decorations, cards and embellishments and upon popping over to upon a fold I found lots of lovely festive things which will no doubt inspire you to send a little merriment in the mail. There's also of plenty beautiful paper pieces for table tops and crafty types. Check it out!

a card and decoration all in one
santa surprise card
snowflake washi card and ornament, a card which just keep on giving

you can reuse the embellishments
perfect for presents and table tops
the coolest christmas coasters I've seen
beautiful gift tags

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

they're back.

I have loved Zaishu stools ever since I first spotted them way back in 2004. Simple slot together creations made from plantation timber, it seemed no two were the same, as Zaishu collaborated with a range of artists and fellow designers such as Julie Patterson from Cloth, David Bromley, Nicola Cerini and Kat McLeod. Although I loved them, I never nabbed one and always wished I had, particularly as it seemed Zaishu had vanished into obscurity. However, the good news is they're back and lucky Melbournites can checkout the new launch range at The Big Design Market this weekend. I wish I was going!

I had this picture from the Zaishu brochure above my desk for years. I'd glance at it longingly and covet the wire old wire chair too.

For the creators of Zaishu their product is much more than a sustainable clip together seat/table. It bridges the gap between art and design, and is integral to numerous large social projects and exhibitions where it is utilised as an expressive canvas for artisans and creative individuals world wide.

Thanks for coming back Zaishu, you've been missed.

Monday, 3 December 2012

profile mel french - dick + dora.

I was a big fan of Dick and Dora books when I was a kid and loved reading about Fluff and Nip's adventures. Now I am older my appreciation for Dick + Dora extends to the accessories - homewares - decoration label of the same name which was inspired by the primary school reading books. Designed and made in Tasmania, the Dick + Dora range is created using a mix of acrylic and timber and features motifs of sausage dogs, rabbits, boats, elks and owls, reminiscent of the simple yet charming illustrations from the original books. This year their Christmas decorations are super cool and as owner and chief designer Mel French explains, they're incredibly popular. If you are looking for a few more embellishments or presents, checkout the entire range here

How would you describe yourself?
Inquisitive, devoted, I try to be giving, a bit of a McGyver.

What was your childhood dream?
Not sure I ever had a strict career in mind, more a need to be hands on in whatever I ended up in.  

What led you down your current path?
I’ve found myself more by accident than design in a variety of creative roles over the years since art school, including years in visual merchandising and I am always happiest when I get to build things all day. I was keen to take on the challenges of running a ‘lifestyle’ business although it can be crazy at times- like Oct/Nov in the lead up to Christmas!

Who are the chief designers at Dick + Dora?
Myself and husband Chris when he’s not too busy teaching graphic design.

What is the inspiration behind some of the designs?
It’s a mix really between whimsical nostalgic images, things that make you smile and nature. We seem to switch between the not so serious more literal quirky pieces to more designed based pieces with lots of clean lines. This years Christmas is a mix of traditional bauble shapes with detail based on vintage fabric designs.

What are the advantages of using Tasmanian materials?
It gives me much more involvement in the process- I know where the materials come from, can be completely hands on in the process and support local industry. Plus Tasmanian timbers are quite unique.

Who do you admire?
People who make the best of each day are not afraid to have a go. Glass is half full type of people.

What are your top creative resources?
I love work by book illustrator Jan Pienkowski, Australian artists  Mirka Mora and David Bromley, blog wise the design files, and I my favourite music is jamiroquai.

What is your idea of happiness?
Lazy days with family and friends that are too few and far between but I live in hope for a few more over the summer.

What are your plans for Christmas?
Time at the shack on the East coast, morning ocean swims and lots of fresh flathead! 

What are Dick + Dora up to next year?
The wholesale side of things slows down early in the new year but we’ve got a couple of the busiest markets for us between xmas and new year, so will just have to get them out of the way first. We really want to develop our Christmas range to include an extended range of products. There’s been so much interest in our oversize decorations and wall art as store merchandising props this year, after Life In Style that we’re thinking of looking into doing some designs especially for that purpose. My years in department store VM might actually come in handy!

When the weekend rolls around what do you love to:
Read – Jasper Forde Thursday next series.
Watch- grand designs & later with jools.
Cook- chicken korma is at the top of the list.
Create- at the moment endless Christmas craft with the kids. I'm loving  made by joel.
Listen to-  Florence & The Machine.
Dream about- The end of this years Christmas decoration bag  packing!
Look forward to- The first cup of tea of the day.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

it's summer.

Pinch and a punch for the first day of the month and the start of SUMMER! I absolutely love summer. The hot days, followed by a cooling swim, all the summer fruits, the long days, the afternoon storms, the sound of the ceiling fan ticking away all night long. Everyone seems to be in a relaxed holiday mode and there seems to be so much more time to do fun stuff, like play table tennis before breakfast. Happy summer, I hope you enjoy it too.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

christmas windows.

What do you do with 900 shuttlecocks....make a Christmas garland of course!

The very talented Leesa Gordon who I profiled back here, couldn't resist the temptation of 900 shuttlecocks on ebay and as she doesn't play badminton, decided the next best thing was to use them to create a wonderful garland for her store Lamington. Nestled at the end of Hastings St in Noosa it's one of my favourite stores as Leesa always seems to whip up incredible displays for the window which draw you in. Sneaky...and inspired.

There is also a tree made from vintage books and what appears to be pipe cleaner trees. Love love LOVE IT.

Another window which caught my fancy this week is Flax Flower's display. Florist extraordinaire Amanda Court is ever-inventive and her take on the Christmas wreath is no exception. Made from re-purposed spray painted dirt bike wheels, orchids, bull rush reeds and proteas, it is simply stunning!

Dirt bike wheels have never looked so good!

Sunday, 25 November 2012

profile ivy & lil - jenny pemberton - webb.

jenny pemberton-webb of ivy & lil

When I discovered the label Ivy & Lil a little while ago I let out a shriek of excitement. Although I have seen art and homewares inspired by Australian road signs, I'd never seen any which struck a chord quite like the ones created by Jenny Pemberton-Webb, the mastermind and creator behind Ivy & Lil. After two decades working in the arts, it was a six month road trip which inspired Jenny to head down a different path and utilise the graphic roadside motifs to create screen printed cushions, tea towels, greeting cards and decorative artworks. I've always been drawn to the 'old school' sign which depicts a lady in a mini crossing the road with a child, and when I saw Jenny's cushions embellished with the iconic image, I it was ingenious! I love Jenny's work and I am sure you will too, you can checkout here entire range here.

How would you describe yourself in five words?
Energetic, kind, creative, passionate and determined.

What was your childhood dream?
To change my name to Sharon.

What led you down your current path?
I have spent the last two decades working in the arts in various roles predominantly around project management and public art. My own art practice fitted in where there was time and I painted for my own fulfilment. Then in 2010 while on a six month road trip around Australia with my husband I realised it was time to give my creativity a much stronger voice, and the idea for Ivy & Lil evolved.


What do you love most about what you do?
Being a printmaker I’m hooked on process. I’ve always loved the buzz you get when you lift up the screen to reveal the print you’ve just created. My eyes run over every detail taking in the depth of colour, the edges of the print and how well the colour sits on the linen – I love that! I also enjoy the diversity of skills that you need. Taking care of all aspects of Ivy & Lil from the designing and making to the promotion and administration is really exciting for me.

Where do feel most inspired?
Travelling in outback Australia where all the noise of life gets turned off and your thoughts are so much more pure and uninterrupted. When we go away I always come back with a jolly great list of what to do next and a clear sense of direction.  We’ve been on three more remote outback road trips in the last two years, so now it's part of how we live.

Who do you admire?
As well as keeping an eye on my peers including artists and makers who are a few years ahead of me, I admire artist Miranda Skoczek for her use of colour and composition and the beautiful work of sculptural basket maker Harriet Goodall. I am completely moved by the work of the late Rosalie Gascoigne and her ability to express artwork that is so totally Australian in its content, colour, materiality and scale.

What challenges have you had to overcome?
My inner critic needed some managing when I was starting out and getting everything set up. These days it doesn’t get so much air time, but it's never too far away!

What attracted you to the signs?
My attraction to road signs is really focused on their simplicity and graphic qualities. I’m interested in how you interpret them in new ways once they leave the road and enter a domestic setting. They seem to offer something nostalgic and humorous.

What struck you about the signs and why were you inspired to reproduce them? 
After hours and sometimes days of travelling through the outback, I was always amazed when coming into a small town at just how many signs there were. They are so familiar, relatively unchanged for decades and our brains process them immediately. I loved the idea of taking them into a domestic setting and repurposing them onto soft backgrounds such as cushions and tea towels.

What hurdles did you have to leap over in order to reproduce the images?
Before I could use the designs I obtained permission from the authority that owns copyright of Australian Standard Roads Signs and we entered into a license agreement. Some of my products use the designs in their existing graphic form whilst others are my own designs that use road signs and symbols as inspiration.

What's been a 'pinch yourself' moment?
Recently one of my favourite pink fluoro cushions featured in the 2012 winter Dulux promotion on their website and printed catalogue. It was selected by renowned stylist HeatherNette-King so I was rather chuffed!

What are your top creative resources?
*I simply LOVE all the home and style magazines.
*Daily life including the colours and patterns that appear all a round me.
*Time out - to think through ideas, tease them out, draw them up.

What is your idea of happiness?
The open road and an endless horizon.

What's next?
New designs and colours are evolving all the time and I’m loving the whole process of refining and expanding what I’m doing. I’d really love to learn how to reupholster chairs so this is a new skill I’d like to master.

When the weekend rolls around what do you love to:
Watch- Pablo our whippet running around at the park.
Cook- An oven bake combining lean meat and roasted vegies
Create- I’m learning to knit.
Listen to- These days I’m enjoying peace and quiet, no music, no TV or background noise, just the silence.
Dream about- Having a sleep in.
Look forward to- The next road trip to some impossibly remote place.