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!).

Monday, 23 July 2012

Inside our playroom

Welcome to my playroom typographic wall hanging - I'll explain how to make one tomorrow

Our little 'studio' set-up - lucky 3-year-old gets my old iMac

All in the detail - quick colour-print from my computer pops against colour from handmade garlands

The animal corner!

Neon papier maché animals - easy and cheap to make - I'll explain later this week
Handmade circle fabric garland - subtle grey adds a little texture to an otherwise white wall

I'm feeling a little self-indulgent today, so thought I'd share some shots of our playroom. I probably use the word playroom a little too liberally as really it's just a small room with enough space for a single daybed, desk, wardrobe and some floorspace. The space is fairly narrow and long with a window at one end, a fireplace at the other and wardrobes lining one wall so there's not a lot to work with. I decided to keep the colour palette white (so that the room was as bright as possible) and bring in pops of colour in the decor. I've set up a little 'studio' desk with an inspiration board - at the moment I've chosen what's pinned up but am sure that will soon change! I didn't have any budget for artwork for the walls so have used the inspiration board, along with one of my animal prints as the main artwork - and I've also made some wire type as a wall hanging and a fabric circle garland. They're small extra details that I think give the room a little extra dimension. The best part of the room is that while it's kid-friendly it still has a sense of calm about it which makes it the perfect place to have some quiet reading time with both my girls. Well quiet and a three-year-old don't really go together, but I try...

Sunday, 22 July 2012

A kindred spirit in blog-land

I can't actually believe it's taken me this long to discover leif blog because I really think Stacy and I might be kindred spirits - in a non-psycho, design, blog-land kind of way! I say this based on her dipped in gold project that was featured on design sponge a couple of weeks ago (oh and the fact she's featured artworks from two of my favourite aussie artists Arite Kannavos and Kirra Jamison). Back in May I started doing some Make It projects for Herald Sun Home Magazine - and the first project I came up with was a gold-painted autumn leaf mobile. I can only show you my trial shot of the leaves for now, but you'll see the similarity - and I can't tell you how good it feels to discover someone as stylish as Stacy doing something similar to what you've dreamed up.
My very rough trial shot for my gold-painted autumn leaf mobile for Herald Sun Home Magazine.

Stacy from leifblog's beautifully subtle dipped in gold leaves...

...a stunning collection...

...with fine attention to detail. 

 I suppose blog-land has made it a little easier for people to find their kindred spirits - yay for that!

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Design for good

I love a bit of design for good (this really shouldn't come as a surprise as I began my career as the art director for The Big Issue Australia magazine) and this little illustrated story book ticks all the right boxes.
I was waiting in line at an H&M store in Geneva over Christmas (yes, it's taken me 6 months to write this post) when I spotted this gorgeous book. The cover was so catching I couldn't resist picking it up and inside I found the most beautiful illustrated (and i mean NO words) story. I bought one copy and lugged it back to Melbourne completely oblivious to the fact it was all for a good cause - you see, Moritz!, is part of an initiative 'All for Children' between UNICEF and H&M which aims to get children from Tamil Nadu in southern India out of work and into school, to improve access to health care and support their nutrition.
It was meant for my daughter, but I've become rather attached to it and am kicking myself I didn't buy more copies - for a good cause.

Birthday booty 2 - The cups I'm not supposed to have

These are the cups I'm not  supposed to have. Sounds a little dodgy I know, but here's the story: For my birthday I'd been obsessing about getting a full set of Mud Australia cups for our home (our kitchen cabinet has an eclectic mix of coffee mugs, and that's putting it nicely). So with much anticipation I met my mum at make Designed Objects thinking I'd race through the store, choose my Mud cups and get home. Simple. But that didn't happen because as soon as I ventured upstairs I saw this amazing collection of cups by Lisa Boyter. I just loved the loose ink like markings around the cups (you can't see but they're actually debossed - a subtle, defining detail). So there I stood with my (very patient mum) weighing up Mud vs Lisa Boyter. It took me ages because I'd been thinking about the Mud cups for so long and wanted to make sure I wasn't changing my mind on a whim. Four weeks on and I am so happy with my choice. They're the perfect size for a coffee, fit beautifully in your hand (the texture is less-rough than Mud which I actually prefer) and look great on our dining table. Of course, there was a small compromise:
One striking yellow Mud Australia cup. Perfect for my signature pop of colour! And apologies for the photo, I was trying something arty with my Lightly Bon Bon Vase*. I accept it didn't work, but I'm too sleep deprived to reshoot.

*Oh, and did you know that if you go to the Lightly showroom in Collingwood you get a discount on their RRP (can't remember, but it's somewhere between 15-25%). It's well worth the visit as the space is great and jam-packed with their range.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Birthday booty*

*As in treasure, not buttocks!
It was my birthday some weeks ago. In the haze of lack of sleep I managed to celebrate getting that little bit older with a little lunch and some really good cupcakes (from sweet crumble in case you're interested). But possibly the best part of my birthday was the perfectly chosen collection of presents from my sister. Yep, she knows me too well. To start with was the amazing neon balloon card above from gold tooth brooklyn (yep, she'd just been to nyc!). So good it makes me wonder why I design my own cards!
Second was this tome of inspiration for all things paper-craft. Embarrassingly I hadn't visited the paper + cup blog before - needless to say I have now. Often.
And the piece de resistance was my first Mud Australia acquisition. I love the simplicity of this vessel. I fear an obsession has been born! thanks little sis.... And tomorrow I'll show you what I got choose with my mum!

Monday, 16 July 2012

New beginnings...

She looks like an angel, right? (Maybe if you ignore the drool bubbling from her lips - trying to direct a 10-week-old is harder than working with animals!). Well, last night she was - for the first time since we welcomed our baby daughter into the world she slept for seven hours straight - which explains why I feel able to write this post. 
I've been thinking a lot about new beginnings recently. You see, the thing about having a newborn is that you have endless hours (all that feeding) to think about all the things you'd like to do, but not the actual time (or energy) to do them. So I've been thinking a lot about this blog - even though I've been showing it no love - and where I'd like to take it. I'm not sure yet, but I'm going to try a few things around colour and see where it goes. I have a few half-written posts which I'll (finish and then) share with you too. But first things first, I just need to get back into the habit of posting. 
So here's hoping tonight brings another good sleep and I can keep my word x

For now here are a few pops of colour I came across in the wee hours trawling the net with the little one feeding. Yes. I have a thing for neon and neutrals. 
Necklace by Minoux
Neon leather mouse pad from Freshly Picked.

Lamp from