A truly beautiful Minxy mix of charm, inspiration, practical advice, and pretty projects to simplify and beautify your life and home. - Jane Brocket, The Gentle Art of Domesticity
…splashing about in a pair of canary yellow Hunter wellies. These are on my wishlist for Autumn.
We’ve just spent the entire day in the garden, weeding and planting and laying down mulch and generally remedying a month or two of neglect.
A while back, I found a three-piece outdoor cane sofa at a flea market and carted it home, sans cushions. James went to Clark Rubber to source some new foam inserts, while I stayed home sewing up the cases. Olive was content to simply play in the mounting pile of fabric scraps, god love her. They took all of three hours to complete and we’ve been enjoying them all summer.
This is our back patio, where we spend most cocktail hours, and here’s a few of my favourite things:
This is the latest craft feature I worked on with Australian Women’s Weekly, out now in the March 2010 issue. Grab a copy for the instructions on some fun Easter craft, and a little taste of what’s to come in The Crafty Kid: projects for and with children (out this June).
The gorgeous snaps are by my friend and ACP photographer, Dean Wilmot. Love your work, Dean.
Last night I went to a special preview screening of the Lawsons auction taking place at 12pm this Sunday at 12 Todman Ave, Kensington. It’s not an el-cheapo auction but there are some top finds here.
My picks? The Tim Storrier piece on the wall above and the zebra skin rug (I know, I know, but he’s long dead… better to be appreciated, otherwise that would be a complete waste) as well as the Paul Smith-esque striped parlour chairs, a rather fetching gilt bedhead that could do with a re-upholster, and any of the original vintage French advertising posters, amongst others.
For some canny auction house tips, click here.
Lordy I love a good flea market. For those of you in Sydney, I’ve unearthed some spectacular treasures at Rozelle Markets, the likes of which you’d be hard pressed to find even at Paris’ Les Puces.
But nothing beats this – a while back I woke up at the crack of dawn one fiery-hot Saturday, kissed my lovely husband and daughter goodbye and headed off. Stall holders were still setting up when I saw this black woollen dress hanging on a rack all by its lonesome. I swooped in and asked to try it on… possibly the only reason it hadn’t been nabbed already was the sweltering heat. But I purloined it early, and it fit like a glove. Joy.
I only hope there’s no bad karma attached… A gift from the former owner’s ex-husband twenty years before, the dress lasted longer than the marriage but she couldn’t bear to look at it any longer. Enter, me.
All it needs is a few stitches to the hem but it’s otherwise perfect. Sigh.
Ever since I bought a laptop, our study has become redundant. A guilty little secret, it was the dumping ground where we popped everything we had no cause to use often or, frankly, wasn’t pretty enough to have on display, and simply shut the door.
No more I decided recently (plus, we had James’ mother coming to stay from the UK so it needed to be sorted out, fairly pronto).
Here’s its new layout – the bed is a single Victorian enamelled number purchased from the Lewisham Auction House. While I was heavily pregnant, James and I ducked in there for a look. I pointed at the bedhead in a darkened corner, which was chipped, dirty and missing slats, and proclaimed it was the bed I’d always imagined for our future child. James said “me too,” and we had a soppy moment or two before buying it at the $90 reserve price. And yea, it will verily be Olive’s when she grows out of her cot.
We cleaned and fixed the worst of the chips, bought a length of pine for $30 from the hardware, which we had made into slats, and a super-comfy mattress. With the auctioneer’s commission it set us back just over $300 all up, plus an afternoon’s industrious labour.
The side table is a trusty Benjamin stool from IKEA, and the girly floral duvet set is a Queen size from Habitat – a remnant from my bachelorette days which I couldn’t quite bring myself to dispose of.
The poster I ordered a couple of years ago from the UK, although you can find them all over the place now. You might recognise the frame from the collage page of my book… it was a pinboard for a while but I re-purposed it for the poster, as its greenish patina just seemed to work really well with the red and white.
Next weekend, we’re installing a cavernous built-in wardrobe to house all those ugly odds and ends. Hurrah.
What a brilliant idea this is: Unravelling – ways of seeing myself is an e-course run by celebrated photographer Susannah Conway.
About the course:
“The Unravelling process is a new way to view your world, taking time to appreciate the beauty around you. And we do this in the simplest way – we stop and look. Beginning with your feet, you’re going to go on a photo safari into your own life to reconnect with who you are, where you’ve been and where you want to go next.
These definitely won’t be self-portraits in the traditional sense – we’ll be using the camera as a tool to unlock how we see not only ourselves but also the world we live in, including the immediate surrounds of our homes, places of work and our friends and family.
Each week you’ll be given a photo assignment that focuses on an aspect of you and your life. As you complete each project you’ll unravel another layer, exploring your memories, reflection, alter ego and favourite places along the way.
The writing exercises will support your photo projects and encourage greater self-awareness. Some of the assignments and exercises you’ll find quite easy, others you may find more challenging – the aim is to help you really see yourself and begin to tell your story so that by the end of the course you’ll have a new appreciation for your unique and precious life. You’ll also have a set of images that provide a fascinating insight into who you truly are.”
For more information, click here.
The man was a genius, no doubt about it – it’s always sad to see such talent extinguished.
Items available on Net-a-Porter.
My sister-in-law just sent me these gorgeous photographs of my niece, Aiya’s bedroom. My brother and sister-in-law are super crafty – they’ve completely transformed their (UK) home into a handmade haven. We stayed in this room a few years back when they first bought the house and I can barely recognise it.
Some information on the decorations from Vanessa -
Card collage: made from many of the congratulations cards we received on the arrival of Aiya. It seemed such a shame to throw them away or store them in the loft, never to be looked at again!
Ceiling lampshade: the original shade was picked up from a homewares store for £1.50. I removed the cheap covering and used it as a template for my material. The edges were hemmed and then the fabric pulled over the shade frame and stuck using fabric glue.
Floor standing lampshade: again, this is a cheap shade I purchased for £8. The shade diameter was over 50cm so I was pleased to have found this so cheaply. The original had a silky lining which I carefully removed and kept, then discarded the original shade fabric. I then cut two arc-shaped pieces of material (using the inner lining as a template) and sewed them together at both ends, leaving the top and bottom open. The material was then placed over the shade frame, as if putting on a hat, then pulled tight and the edges tucked under and over the frame and stuck down. I then hemmed the inner lining as it had frayed where it had been taken off the original, and stitched it inside the shade.
The lamp stand belonged to my great uncle. It’s wooden but we sanded it back and painted white.
Charlie’s paintings: The Phunky Penguin Series were painted on some old pieces of chipboard. I framed them using some old white frames I picked up and we then mounted them using cream card.
Shelves: the wooden shelves were made from excess stair treads from a building site, taken from an old bespoke staircase. We painted them white and the white brackets were purchased very cheaply from a garden centre. We have 4 shelves in Aiya’s bedroom and they cost a grand total of £10.
So I was spending far more time than I care to mention perusing the new collections yesterday and found this image in the H&M Spring 2010 lookbook. I love all these outfits, but it struck me immediately how utterly 80s retro this is – to the point where I could almost go to Rozelle Markets this weekend and find the exact same items in almost the same fabrics and cut, bar the rosy frill embellishment on that red bubble skirt (which is rather special).
There’s a whole section in The Crafty Minx on updating past-it frocks – if you have anything remotely like this, you could do some tweaking to get the same effect. Or head off to your local charity store where you’re bound to unearth an appropriate item or two.
Molly Ringwald, eat your heart out.
This is where I’m headed next week – the Life Instyle event in Sydney, “the most exclusive showing of beautiful things”. I met with one of the organisers some time ago and was so impressed by the amount and quality of markets-slash-events they have coming up over the next year in most major Australian cities.
And check out the gorgeous work of Melbourne-based card makers Able & Game below while you’re at it – just one of the many exhibitors. Fabbo.