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
Take advantage of these events organized by Waverley Council, and say no to waste and our increasingly throwaway culture. Fixit Fest is coming up, with workshops to passing on knitting, sewing, re-upholstery and darning skills – I’m keen on the upholstery one myself.
Drop-in knitting and darning workshop
Date: Sunday 5 June
Location: part of ‘Bondi the Beautiful’ Fair at Bondi Park, located near the kindy farm
Details: Learn how to hem, darn or knit with Fixit Fest’s volunteers. Bring an item to darn or use what’s there. Bookings not required – free hot soup for the first 50 people.
Upscale your upholstery workshop
Date: Saturday 18 June
Location: Rose Bay Secondary College, Dover Heights
Details: Learn how to re-upholster a chair to give it a fresh new look. Places strictly limited – book at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 02 9369 8242.
Funk up your wardrobe workshop
Date: Sunday 19 June
Location: Rose Bay Secondary College, Dover Heights
Details: Learn sewing, repairing and alteration techniques to make at least one fully-recycled, customized piece. Sewing machines provided but participants are encouraged to bring their own. Places strictly limited – book at email@example.com or call 02 9369 8242.
The premise of this new British book is brilliant: Chic on a Shoestring by journalist and milliner, Mary Jane Baxter explains how to create vintage-style accessories from repurposed or inexpensive materials. Plus the step-by-step illustrations make it easy to follow for craft novices.
My favourites are the feather fascinators (more stylish, 1940s-inspired feather headbands than the flowery appendages we’re used to), silk purses fashioned from old ties, and Baxter’s tip for turning lace-ups into a natty pair of brogues (which the gorgeous Marion Cotillard-lookalike on the cover is sporting). Each chapter takes an old item and explains how it could be usefully reinvented.
Well worth a look for the inspiration alone.
For the past few years I’ve been visiting the Akira sale whenever it rolls around, and always seem to find substantial offcuts of his elegant prints and well-designed fabrics for use on clothes and homewares. Well worth a visit if you want to find elegant accoutrements for plain pieces.
When: Friday 3rd & Saturday 4th June, 10-5pm
Where: 31 Meagher St Chippendale NSW 2008
Tel: 02 9557 0436
I just love Rachel Castle’s clean and colourful design sense, which mixes neutrals and fluoros for super-cool home decoration. Check out the website for new artworks and single bed sets for childrens’ rooms, recently created after huge demand.
We’ve got the spotty bedlinen in crisp white and yellow. Just gorgeous.
Congratulations to Zoe Sadokierski and Murdoch Books for giving me the most well-designed non-fiction book in Australia for 2010, as voted by the Australian Publishers’ Association this week, and thank you to Better Read than Dead bookstore for sponsoring the award.
Zoe received the accolade last Thursday night at the annual Book Design Awards. Hurrah for Zoe, and a big thank you to publisher Colette Vella for championing the final design, which was described by the panel of judges as “a very clever package which reveals itself, quite literally… plays with composition in a fresh way, and with a surprisingly minimal use of colour. This is a book for the female genre which is not overly girly, while still retaining femininitely.” Go Frocks.
When I was down in Melbourne a couple of weeks ago, Ashlea (my fab publicist from Murdoch) and I managed a half-hour visit to Empire Vintage in Albert Park. A magical little store, I recognised its storekeeper immediately after featuring her home here a while back.
It’s a magical little shop – overflowing with random items which somehow all work together and draw you in. I could have spent hours taking in all the special details. Here’s just a few, captured by Ashlea. Well worth a visit for the inspiration alone.
Remember Maja? She emailed today to share one of her creations for son Jasper. Isn’t it gorgeous? Just so soft and cosy-looking, it also seems to have some complicated knitwork going on there… I’m so impressed.
Maja’s top tip for knitters and aspiring knitters is to sign up to Ravelry for patterns and links to people everywhere knitting and crocheting – it’s like Facebook for crafters, apparently. I’m onto it.
And we shoot all the final images for book four tomorrow and this Saturday, plus the design awards (where A Life in Frocks has been nominated) are on Thursday night… very busy few days ahead. All fingers and toes crossed the sun shines on us, and my cold magically disappears. Wouldn’t that be lovely?
I have just had the most inspiring weekend. Which, considering I’m in the throes of a full-blown chest infection, was not expected. Conversations with creative people which resonated and made so much sense, from the Books & Nooks event yesterday with Pia Jane Bijkerk to a five year old’s birthday party next door.
Case in point: I was chatting to Maja, co-0wner and jewellery designer from Polli on Sunday. Maja’s gone mad for knitting; making jumpers and scarves and beanies and all sorts of complicated things lately. Because she runs a business and is a mother and no longer actually makes much jewellery anymore (like Dinosaur Designs, Polli started at Paddington Markets before growing massively both here and internationally, while retaining their Made in Australia, by hand ethos), Maja needed to find a new hobby, and knitting is it.
I can’t tell you how much satisfaction I’ve had in learning to crochet this week at Calico & Ivy. With sewing my job now – what with the books and workshops, etc. – it feels like a wholly indulgent, relaxing pastime again to be making for the pure pleasure of it. And it’s given me the confidence to think, what new dizzying heights of craftiness could I be scaling? I have a view to mastering knitting myself. The first project? A beautiful, bold-shouldered cardigan, taken from an original 1940s pattern. Wish me luck.
Olive’s been helping me tidy the crafts cupboard this morning, which was crammed to the gills. We spent two hours fossicking through ribbons, buttons, sequins and various other fascinations, turning them into collages and mobiles and, ultimately, a big mess on the floor. She then ran off to the opposite end of the house to squirrel them away (I know not where – yet). How easily they’re amused, sometimes… I was reminded of long hours playing with similar toys as a child, and forged a pact to create more mornings like this. Although if I have to play tea parties again this week, I might just crack.
Marty Wilson’s brought out a new book in his What I wish I knew series. Along with tens of other mothers I’ve contributed a dorky photo of my teenaged self and comments on what (I think) I’ve learned since the arrival of our bright, charming, wilful daughter. It’s a nice record of an experience shared, and comfort on days where it seems to take a billion years to leave the house or calm a screaming child. Keep an eye out for it, and enjoy.
Postscript: I’ve realised I didn’t mention what Marty added to his book from our interview yesterday. My big revelation was, you can be a mother your own way. Before having Olive, I felt anxious about not recognising myself, and being totally consumed by someone else’s needs. It’s not the case. You make a decision about how much you retain a sense of self and dispose of guilt. I never expected becoming a mother would give me more freedom, but it actually has – I doubt I would have written the craft books without her. Over and out.
Wherefore art thou, past week? I know you occurred, I can see the evidence in my diary, but for the life of me I’ve no idea where you went. A royal wedding, trip to Melbourne, editing, ogling at fashion week and other plans afoot… that would do it. Mainly, I prepared mood boards for the next book, so Natasha can shoot them in a week or so. A little sneak peek above: feel the romance? Hope so.
Melbourne was brilliant. Caught up with old friends, spoke at a couple of events, and squeezed in a spot of shopping – all in under 30 hours. Could have continued chatting with the women I met for much longer. Time, you are a cruel mistress.
And now I’m off to Calico & Ivy to learn to crochet. I told you, this is the year!