Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Xmas gift how to: Earrings in 3 super-easy steps

I'm all for super-easy How Tos and this one certainly ticks all the boxes - quick, simple & budget-friendly. Oh, and I'm not fibbing in the slightest when I say it's three super-easy steps. 

For this pair I just raided my jewellery kit (remnants spanning 15 years of collecting) - but you can easily source the above at your local craft/bead shop. All you need are 2 beading headpins per pair (I've used silver and they may be called different things in different shops). Beads of your choice. The only requirement is that bead's holes are not large enough to fall off the headpins. I have used a tarnished black jump ring at the base to stop the two large beads from falling off.

I chose the small bolt like beads as I liked the contrast they give against the round discs - one is very industrial and one is organic and soft in its shape. You can choose what ever beads, colour etc you like - you might just want to consider how heavy they are so that they don't weigh down the earlobe too much.

Threading the beads is easy. Just do as above in the order you wish - you can try as many different variations as you wish until you're happy.

Lastly, to bend the headpin into an ear wire use your fingers as your measuring guide. I place my two fingers from the top of the headpin and my thumb was then used to bend the metal. You don't need pliers. 

To package I simply brushed some gold paint over a small piece of watercolour card, let it dry and then folded it in half. I made two holes in the front of the card using a safety pin (or needle) and hung the earrings through. The folded back protects the earrings (you can use a little double sided tape on the inside if you wish) and also works as a stand on which to hang the earrings when they're not being used. 

Now these little beauties are being packaged up with love for a friend... 

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Xmas gift: DIY wine label

A few years ago in Oz there was an oversupply of wine and the 'cleanskin' supply was booming. My husband and I came up with the idea of dressing up your cleanskin - Would you go naked to a party? Dress up your cleanskin for only $2! The idea has stuck with me and it's still one of my favourite ways to dress up a gift. Here's how:

What you'll need:
• Wine of your choice - clean skin or labelled (you can always add your personalised labels to the backside of the bottle
• Gloss paper - special printing paper if you're using a colour printer - about 150gsm is a good durable weight. If you're drawing by hand and then colour copying use a good quality cartridge or similar paper.
• Colour printer - if you don't have a colour printer you can get the original hand drawn version colour copied. Coloured pencils/textas/paints if you're doing an original
• Cutting mat, metal ruler and cutting knife
• Double-sided tape

Step 1:
Measure the label size. Create a graphic on computer, or by hand within this size. You can use photos/images/words that are important to you - and you can use image sites for reference if you like. You could also download the above!

Step 2:
Once happy with your design set it up ready to print. If using a computer place as many of the designs on an A4 as you can. Make sure you include crop marks so you can trim easily once printed. If colour copying take original to copy centre. They may be able to set up many to a page. Make sure they print on a gloss stock.

Step 3:
Once printed, trim labels to size using your cutting mat, metal ruler and cutting knife. Adhere double-sided tape along all four edges and carefully adhere to bottle starting with top edge, running your fingers gently down so as to avoid any ripples.

Voila - done - easy! If you like you can also do a matching gift tag as shown above to 'finish' your gift. Now you just have to try not to drink it before you give it!

Thursday, 6 December 2012

How to: Honeycomb print t-shirt

Seriously quick, seriously easy - a gift for young or old. This t-shirt took me about an hour to make, including waiting for the paint to dry! You can even get the little ones involved (if you don't mind a slightly more abstract result)...

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

A very merry graphic just for you

I'm just going to ignore the fact that I haven't posted anything for months and get right into the festive spirit by giving you this cute, colourful and a little abstract 'Merry' graphic. Feel free to use it as you wish (perfect for gift cards or tags) - just because I'm feeling generous. Over the next week  I'll post a few easy to do yourself present ideas. For all of those of you who love leaving everything to the last minute!

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Do you prefer digital or film?

Digital - with NOTHING done to it

Film (a photo of a photo I took in 1999 in London, yep, I've lost the negative, the original is pin-sharp)
Digital or film? Most people would take digital - it's easy, fast, cheap... and you get to delete any bad shots straight away. Yes, I do love my digital camera, but I sometimes find myself missing the old days of using film and the unexpected surprise when you'd process a roll of film and realise you'd shot something beautiful. 

The black and white shot above I took in London in 1999 (unfortunately I've lost the negative and my scanner is broken so you get a blurry photo of a photo). I love this shot because it was one of those great surprises. I knew I had the framing composition - the bus stand and timetable running horizontally and vertically, but I had no idea I would get the truck with great type on it as the dynamic element in the shot. The dark and light was also spot on as it had just finished raining (even though it was summer). For me this is one of those times where it all just came together, and no, it doesn't happen too often. 

The gum flower shot above is of course digital - I took it last week while I was having lunch in our courtyard. I didn't labour over the shot and actually thought I hadn't taken anything too worthy (as I couldn't see the screen in the sunlight) until I opened up my photo card this morning and realised it wasn't too shabby... So I suppose digital can give you nice surprises too - and I do like the fact that when doing professional shoots you no longer have to budget for how many packs of polaroids you'll need for the test shots - anyone else remember that or am I just showing my age?!

Monday, 10 September 2012

I LOVE pinterest, but...

...Sometimes you just can't beat a real pinboard. 

When I first discovered the joys of pinterest in early 2011 I was out-of-my-skin excited. That might sound an exaggeration, but it's not. Finding a place where I could store inspiring images and catalogue them according to theme or particular projects meant I could keep my desktop (both my actual desk and my computer) clean and organised while working on projects. This especially made my husband happy as it meant my desk was no longer covered in clippings that I was, 'just about to file away'. 

But I still love being surrounded by a carefully curated selection of images. I like to daydream and I find that being surrounded by these 'real' pinboards gives my creativity a kick start. They're not project-based or themed - other than the fact they're colours, pictures and typographic work I like and which work well together. 
Oh and our study also runs off our bedroom (and there's no door) so it's important to me that when I lie in bed, the glimpse I get from my 'workspace' is one which makes me happy and makes my creative mind work - and not one which just shows me how many deadlines I need to meet that day!

Saturday, 8 September 2012

I finally made it into the 21st century

I. Finally. Made. It. Into. The. 21st. Century. 
Yes, it's taken me a while, but last weekend I said goodbye to my ancient Nokia and hello to an iPhone. (I do have a habit of being a little behind the times: I used a garlic crusher to mash my first born's peas for about 6 months until I discovered the joys of a mini-mixer.)
Of course, first stop on the iPhone was instagram (no, i didn't realise I could've been using instagram in my iPad for the last seven months). I will admit I don't quite get it. Yet. I'm taking photos, yes, but I haven't gotten a grasp of how to share my images on my spoonful of colour Facebook page, or how to follow others (please feel free to impart any wisdom my way!). So in the meantime I'm sharing my week according to instagram here. And feel free to follow me - if you know how...

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Happy fathers' day - free printable card...

...I'm a little slow on the uptake (again)and just realised it's fathers' day on sunday. So for all of you who are also, like me, a little behind here's a card you're more than welcome to download and print. Not quite sure how to do it so I've posted it to the Facebook page - the link is here. And if it doesn't work and you really want it just leave a comment and i'll email it straight to you!

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Hello... hello milky

It's my dream to one day be featured on the front page of etsy. Of course, that would involve me investing a little more time in the spoonful of colour shop (and maybe even having just a little more talent). You see it's products like these beautiful, handprinted cushion and cot covers by Hello Milky that make it to the front page. Designed and made in Melbourne by young mum and design student Jess these are my idea of perfect for a baby's room. Yep, I obviously have some work to do.

PS. I also love Jess's blog and the name Hello Milky (it's what I've called both my babies as they've been drinking their milk). 

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

A spoonful of sunshine

Apparently I have an obsession with Ikea PS. And yellow. This is not something I knew until this morning. Well, I knew about my love for Ikea PS, but the yellow obsession took me by surprise. I opened up my email to find images of the new Ikea PS range - and its key feature colour yellow - and my heart did a little flutter. Maybe this small selection of my favourite pieces will make yours flutter too... if nothing else, it'll certainly add a little sunshine to your day. 

Monday, 20 August 2012

Better late than never. I suppose.

One of the good things about having to feed a newborn baby is being able to justify time spent perusing the web while bubba drinks (and drinks). One of the bad things is that you stumble across sites you realise you really should have known about earlier. Especially if you like to think you're maybe even just the teeniest bit ahead of the pack. Obviously I'm not because I've only just discovered Of a KInd. Started by two (savvy, cool, etc) girls Claire Mazur and Erica Cerulo it's a site aimed at promoting on-the-rise designers. Ok so maybe that's not unique. But what is unique is that they get these designers to create limited edition, limited run designs just for their site. Coolest idea ever. Really, really envious I didn't think of it first. And yes, their blog is beautifully curated too. They probably, even, no doubt discover things a little sooner than me.

Sorry, almost lost my train of thought - above is their latest offering Madder and Logwood Arrow Necklace by Brooklyn-based designer Erin Considine. I was drawn to it purely aesthetically because I love the subtle colours and the glints of brass against the fine knit texture - after reading Erin's bio I realise there's a whole other depth to her work and her thoughtful and sustainable approach.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Aunt Lil's - like a kid in a soft pretzel shop!

When a client comes to you and says, 'I have an idea for a business, here's the name, you do the rest', you can't refuse. It's like the holy grail of freelance jobs. It's in this spirit that Aunt Lil's (at Highpoint and Chadstone shopping centres in Melbourne) came to life. For me it's especially exciting as my background is predominantly in publishing (although retail is in my blood), so to be given free rein to create a brand (identity, mood boards for its 3d look and feel and styling the stores once the designers ramvek had worked their magic) was like telling me that I was going to be flown to NYC for free and could spend whatever I wanted in abc home, Helmut Lang or Alexander Wang, Jacques Torres or City Bakery and Sephora (you get the idea right?). 
The product range includes soft fresh-baked pretzels (cinnamon is insane), fruit buns, gluten-free frozen yoghurt with fresh fruit toppings and fair trade organic coffee. In approaching the design I really wanted the products to do the talking and I wanted the kiosk to stand out amongst its competitors in the food courts as a warm, homely place to visit (like your favourite aunt's kitchen). For this reason I stuck with a black and white, type-dominant colour palette and warm wood was used throughout the kiosk design. While I wanted the brand to be warm and inviting I also wanted it to have personality and a little edginess to it – so I came up with a range of slogans which have been printed on packaging and the kiosk.
I even got to design the labels for their snack bars (sounds trite, but to be able to have brand consistency across all products made me ultra happy!). And giving each kiosk its own unique style with eclectic vintage finds and Aussie native flora meant I really got to take the job from initial concept on paper to finished, ready-for-business product. It really was like being a kid in a candy soft pretzel shop!

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Our front courtyard...as seen in Herald Sun Home Magazine

A little indulgent, bout ages ago Herald Sun Home Magazine ran a little story on our front courtyard. It's running again on the Herald Sun Homeshow 2012 website so I thought I'd share it with you all. It's nice to remember it being so neat, would like to say it still looks this pristine, but I'd be fibbing.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Paintings by Michael Muir

These paintings by Australian artist Michael Muir are my perfect idea of abstract art. The way he uses colour and shape so simply to represent childhood memories and nostalgia really resonates with me. I love the idea of being surrounded by memories without them being exact photographs - your imagination has to piece the memory together. Michael is represented by Sophie Gannon Gallery in Melbourne and is showing at Melbourne Art Fair this weekend.

I did do something similar with some photos in a post about my dad back in October last year (before I'd discovered Michael's work). Of course they ain't got nothin' on Michael's work, but it's kind of nice to know my idea wasn't all that naff. While I save up for one of Michael's works maybe i should print and frame one of my own...

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Gold, silver, bronze

A little Olympic-themed post. Sorry to get all caught up in Olympic fever, but I found these beautiful succulent sculptures in gold, silver and bronze over at WaterstoneSucculents on etsy and I just had to share.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Why black will always be the new black

It's no secret I love black. Am obsessed by it. Probably unhealthily. I can never quite articulate to people what I love so much about black clothing. Now I don't need to. These images from Factory by Erik Hart say everything I've never been able to properly put into words. 
Graphic, asymmetric designs with subtle layering and pleating...

...mixing textures and fabrics...

...and elegant flashes of skin in unexpected places are what I love about these designs.
And I can even appreciate the sheer beauty that is this subtle off-white dress
(and I'd like the jacket please).

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Another french connection...

   Just found my recycled newspaper bowl project featured on a gorgeous french site lait fraise mag. Feeling a little french-connected with a french-speaking mother, husband and daughter. Not to mention my name - maybe it's the world telling me I need to brush-up on my own french. Or maybe I'm reading a little too much into it. Either way, check out lait fraise mag - it's really well done and put together with great taste (even if I do say so myself!).

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

How To: Wire typographic wall hanging

Yep, I know, you saw this image yesterday, just keeping you on your toes!
I've been in love with the 'it's beautiful here' wire typographic wall hangings since I first saw them here and here. Of course they're crazily way out of my price range so I'd filed them at the back of my mind and almost forgotten about them - until I got busy doing up our playroom. I thought the phrase 'welcome to my playroom' would be a cute take on the idea - so I set about finding a way to create it. I first thought I'd use some wire from the hardware store, my jewellery pliers and then either spray paint or cover it in wool (yes, that would be time consuming). So off I went to my local hardware store - where to my delight I found red plastic-covered fuse wire - perfect thickness, perfect colour and easy to bend (i didn't even need my pliers). But the best bit - it's damn cheap (about 70cents per metre). Amazing!

Unfortunately I didn't take photos when making this, so I'm going to explain below how to do it. Don't want to undersell myself, but it really is quite simple.

What you'll need:
•Plastic-covered fuse wire from local hardware store
•Ball of string or cotton
•Ruler or tape measure 
•Small 3M hooks or nails (if you don't mind marking your walls)

What to do:
Step 1
Choose your word or phrase

Step 2
To work out how much you need, measure the length you'd like the wall hanging to take up from the start to end - the space I needed to cover was 90cm. Take a ball of string or cotton and roughly write the word or phrase on the floor making sure it takes up the distance you've just measured. Keep your finger where the word or phrase ends and then lay the string or cotton flat and measure the full amount with a ruler. I think I ended up with about 5m (the space was about 90cm long to fill), so I bought 7m just to be safe as you can't add to the amount. And lucky because I needed every centimetre.

Step 3
Start your word/phrase. Begin with a small loop (big enough to sit on a 3M hook) so that you have a starting point from which to hang it (see above left next to the 'w'). Continue each letter making sure to loop where necessary to keep the wire together. I looped at the bottom of the 'l', top of the 'o' and 'm' and bottom of the 'e' in 'welcome'. I then made sure the top of the 't' in 'to' had a loop big enough to sit on the 3M hook so that it could stick to the wall.
Continue the word or phrase, looping where necessary (see above) and finish with a loop at the end (see loop after 'm' above, big enough from another 3M hook). I didn't have any wire left over, but if you do, just trim any excess.
And there you go, your very own, very cheap, wire typographic wall hanging!

Note: You could also use this technique for illustrative or abstract wall hangings - your imagination is your only limit. (Sorry, that sounds like something from a self-help book. So not me!).