Monday, 30 May 2011

It runs in the family

I laughed yesterday when I spoke to my Aunty and she said she'd seen the thing in the paper. She said she'd looked at the page and thought, that person has the same handwriting as Pascale and Brian (my dad). Then she read it and it all made sense.
It's true, my dad had beautiful handwriting (much neater than mine) and he had a great way with words. I've kept all the cards he gave me (the only things i hoard are cards) and I reckon this gives me an excuse to share some of them with you. Miss you daddy - every day.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

So now you know...

... I really am a hopeless romantic. 
Herald Sun Home magazine obviously thought my paper wedding vows artwork wasn't too soppy an idea and featured it in Saturday's mag. 

So now our vows have been said in front of friends and family, made into an artwork, put in print and now featured on this blog - I really want the world to know!

Thursday, 26 May 2011

How to: Three-step statement ring

I'm a big fan of rings. I like them unique, I like them to make a statement... and I don't mind if they're cheap (so long as they don't look it!).

What you'll need:
•a flatish, round bead with a relatively large hole in the centre. I chose this one (top right) because I wanted the contrast between silver and brass. I think it was about $2 from a bead shop.
• 24 gauge brass beading wire from a bead/craft shop

Step 1: Making the ring base
Pull out the end of the brass wire. 
Start wrapping it carefully around the finger you want to wear the ring on, making sure to leave about two centimetres free to help secure it when you've finished. Do it slightly looser than the circumference of your finger (so it can fit on and off over the knuckle). 
Wrap it around until you get the required thickness - I would think at least 10 times is good. Carefully wind the free piece you left at the beginning around the ring to secure it. Then cut the other end of the wire about 2cm long and wind it around the same area.
You should end up with the ring base as seen in the top left of the image above. 
Step 2: Making the ring top
Pull out a long piece of wire from its reel. Start winding it through the centre of the bead and around the sides, as shown in top image above. Do this carefully and make sure the wire doesn't get too buckled as it will already have curve from being wrapped around the reel. Patience is the key.
Continue until you have wrapped the entire bead, as shown in image 1 above. I chose to use the plain side of the bead for the face of the ring top. Cut the wire from the reel leaving about 4cm (better to do too much than too little). You will end up with two pieces of wire either side as shown in image two above. Make sure one is tucked under one of the loops to secure it in place. You are now ready to connect the ring top to the ring base.

Step 3: Connecting the ring base and top
Using the two free pieces of wire, wind them around the ring base in the same place you wound the wire to secure the ring base in step 1. Continue until the wire is finished and the ring feels secure. Make sure that you tuck the wire ends into the top of the ring base away from where it will sit on your finger so it doesn't irritate you.

There you go...a little glamour and luxury for about the price of a coffee!

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

It's grey today

Well, it is if you're in Melbourne (go on, say it, it always is). 
But I reckon it wouldn't feel so grey if you wandered out to your letterbox and found one of these lovely word cards in it.
Oh, did I mention you can get them at my etsy shop?! Shameless...

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Tea time...

I "took tea" with a lovely group of girls yesterday afternoon. This morning I thought I'd post about a cool, modern, minimalist take on high tea...but then I came across this gorgeous packaging. It's actually making me think I'll take tea this morning rather than coffee. And that is a rare thing.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

How to: The one brush, 20 minute painting!

I've had a blank canvas sitting on my work room floor for a few months now. Yesterday I felt like making something colourful, so I grabbed my one paint brush (yes, I've used it here before!) and my small collection of paints, and 20 minutes later this is what I got!
What you'll need:
•blank stretched canvas 
•paint brush (my old 5cm wide cheapy did the trick)
•plastic lids or plates for mixing paint
•different coloured acrylic paints
•scrap paper to test designs on
•paper to protect surface you are painting on
Step 1:
Mix up a range of colours you think will go well together. On a few scraps of paper do a few brush strokes in different colours to see how they work together (above left). Also do some trial compositions to get an idea of what you like (above right). Practicing your brush strokes also helps you to have confidence when you do the real thing.
Step 2:
Once you've decided on colours, mix up each one on a separate plastic lid or plate. I chose to go with two slightly different types of orange, a red and a grey which i mixed using black and pearl white (to give it a slight sheen).
Step 3:
You will be working one colour at a time (unless you happen to have four brushes the same - one for each colour). You need to do thick, confident brush strokes - one full line at a time. Do not mix the paint with water, unless it is really thick, and use a dry brush as it is nice to get some texture from the canvas coming through. You will need to wash and dry the brush well between colours.
I started with the grey because I thought that colour would work best to frame the canvas. To work out the distance for each stroke, break the canvas into the width of the brush (so if the canvas is 20cm wide and the brush is 5cm you know there'll be 4 brush strokes). To do the top grey stroke, I measured two brush strokes in from the right to give me the point at which I needed to end he grey stroke. Next I did the orange, and then the red.
Step 4:
Next I used the darker orange, the grey (again) and then the red. This left me with the white space you can see in the above picture.
Step 5:
With the space left to fill in I decided it would work best to use the brush on its side (to get a thinner line). I then painted to the edge of the canvas on all sides. I painted the sides of the canvas too as I wasn't going to frame it.
So there you go - the one brush, 20 minute painting!

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Table for two

Miss Chloe left her Bunny at our house... Malie's taking good care of him!

Monday, 16 May 2011

I wish I could take photos like this

My travel photos never seem to turn out the way I'd hoped - in my head they look like these. In reality, well... This beautiful set is my current favourite from etsy seller little brown pen. I'd love to hang them on my wall and pass them off as my own!*
*Don't worry, I'd never do that, I'm too damn honest

Sunday, 15 May 2011

It's that kind of a morning

It's Monday. I really need a coffee. It reminded me of a running joke my husband and I have had since we met: the only French I'd ever need to know was 'un espresso avec deux sucres'. For our anniversary this year I made him this print to sit above the coffee machine.

Thursday, 12 May 2011

A slightly unhealthy obsession

I'm well on the way to needing a twelve-step program to help me deal with my obsession for interiors. Today I want to share with you a few of my favourite spaces.  
1. I love the darkness of this living room against the fluoro pink and mustard yellow. (The book, A Girl's Guide to Decorating, by the Ahern sisters is now  #1 on my wish list)
2. This pendant is my ideal - I love the curves and the white-on-white simplicity.
3. I have been wondering for ages how to fill a similar space in my workroom. This three-tiered pendant works amazingly - it's giving me some ideas for a future How To.
4. Yes, you may have noticed I also have an unhealthy obsession for orange and this print would feed it perfectly.

Note: All of these beautiful images came from designsponge. You can also visit my pinterest board here.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Visual candy

I'm sure you were all wondering what was inside those orange goodie bags you saw so much of last week. Well for bigger girls (ie. not babies) I made these gorgeous garland necklaces. 
You can use my Easy peasy felted ball garland How To and substitute the cotton thread with two strands of embroidery thread in whichever colours you choose. In this one I tied one knot after each ball so they wouldn't move round too much. And best of all, they have all the colour and excitement of lolly bags, with none of the sugar! 
Oh, and they also make the perfect birthday present. As you can see, this one was packaged and ready to go, with a spoonful of colour card of courseto one very special three-year-old in Sydney.

Monday, 9 May 2011

If only...

... I wore colour, 
...had cash to burn, event to go to, 
...the temperature was a little warmer,
because I would definitely wear this!
Go to my pinterest board here and click on items for more detail.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Back to nature...

...but not in a non-showering, live off the land kind of way! But we did go without internet or computer access - and I have to say it was the most relaxing weekend - without the temptation to check emails or work on that freelance job for just a few minutes. Of course now it's back to reality, which really means I should now get back to aforementioned freelance...

Thursday, 5 May 2011

I really want that cake

I was trying to take this very arty photo of Malie's second birthday cake...but somebody just wouldn't get out of frame! 

How To note: I just used a scrap of white grosgrain ribbon (which happened to be the perfect height) and then a stand of embroidery thread to wrap around the base of the cake. Works a treat I think...

Mini vanilla cake with butter icing and shredded coconut
Makes 2 10cm diameter cakes

Heat oven to 140 degrees celcius. Do not use fan forced.
Grease 2 x 10cm diameter spring-form mini cake tins

1 cup self-raising flour
1/3 cup plain flour 
2/3 cup caster sugar
100g chopped butter at room temperature
105ml milk
2 eggs at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla essence

Place all ingredients into a mixer and mix until combined and smooth (about a minute).
Spoon mixture into cake tins. Cook in oven for about 40 minutes. Take out of oven and allow to cool.

I used about 50 grams of icing and 1/2 cup icing sugar, adding a little sugar at a time while creaming with a fork to make sure mixture was smooth. I also added about 1/2 tsp of vanilla essence (and lemon zest would have been good too, especially with the coconut!). Once icing is at desired consistency use the back of a spoon to spread thickly on top of cakes. I then sprinkled shredded coconut over the top while the icing was still sticky to help the coconut adhere.

Seriously easy - and pretty damn tasty!

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

A How To I cannot take the credit for!

Today, exhausted by a little girl's second birthday goings-on I am doing a Cheat's How To!
On Monday I posted about the beautiful Painterly Party Cups DIY Project as seen on design sponge
They were the perfect idea for Malie's birthday party - and came up quite well - especially matched with these orange party bags (though I think the adults appreciated them more than the kids!).

A few notes from my attempt:
I used tiny espresso sized paper cups. I used a 1cm wide brush to paint them. I tried larger cups but couldn't get the same punchiness because I was using the same sized brush and it all started looking a bit fussy. I'd recommend using a brush at least 3cm wide for larger cups as it will minimise the number of brush strokes you need to use. And don't be scared to be bold and confident with your brush strokes!

One birthday party down...

Sunday, 1 May 2011

It's party time!

So it's Malie's second birthday on Wednesday. I'm thinking a rainbow theme. Though we're not having a real party, I am inviting a coupe of girlfriends and their kids around, so thought I'd better get into the party spirit. 
I'm loving the rainbow cake (though the fact I'm not much of a baker could be an obstacle), the painted party cups (which were a how to on design sponge last week) and the simple paper streamers
And to top off the rainbow theme I think we might do some coloured drawing or painting...