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
I came across this word in a Jonathan Franzen novel recently (the man’s a genius – I can’t imagine forgetting Freedom like, ever) and keep returning to it. What’s it mean? The inability to experience joy when you really should be.
That’s about the exact opposite of what I’m aiming for. I want to remember why life is so awesome. Every. Single. Day. When lazing on the sofa, licking the bowl, mastering a tricky skill or experiencing the pure thrill of not collapsing after a set of crunches. Needless to say, a happy family, fine meal and all the other super good stuff should inspire paroxysms of the stuff. Yep. That’s my goal.
Seems like every email or newsletter I receive lately, someone is harping on about how busy they are. So busy! No time to breathe! I’m the same – every message or conversation starts with “Sorry I haven’t been in touch / apologies for the delay responding.” Note to self: journey, journey, journey.
I want to share with you this very American TED talk I’m trying to live by. It’s about training your brain to be happy and redefining your idea of success. Which can only be a good thing, right?
You know knitting’s on-trend when they start doing it at The Corner Shop… check out these free classes being offered in-store to promote the Campaign for Wool, and look to Lion Brand and Purl Harbour for inspiration on the coolest knits this winter. Planning to crack out the crochet this weekend… toasty!
Have you heard about Fashion Less Waste, the Australian Museum’s annual fashion design competition? I hadn’t, but it sounds brilliant: entrants are asked to design and construct an outfit mostly made from materials used for non-clothing purposes/recycled materials, which are judged by such luminaries as Akira Isogawa, Dinosaur Designs’ Louise Olsen and Kelley Sheenan of the excellent Peppermint Magazine. This year, entrants are asked to find inspiration from creatures of the deep.
Fashion Less Waste aims to encourage a more sustainable fashion industry and foster an appreciation of the natural world. Entrants can win cash prizes, have their outfit featured at a gala catwalk event, and the winners’ work will be on public display at Sydney venues including the Museum, Strand Arcade and Reverse Garbage. The finalists will be revealed at a fashion parade on 26 July at the Museum itself.
Entries close 5pm 8 May 2012. For competition details and more photos and videos from previous years, click here.
I love the girls at Harlequin Market – check out these fab new birdy brooches, just in. Perfect for adorning your cocoon coat this winter.
If you’re searching for costume sparklers, cuffs, Lucite bags, unserious Bakelite pieces from the twenties onwards and anything statement, this is the best vintage jewellery store in Sydney, with pieces sourced from all over the world by owner Bruna Harrison. Start saving those pennies.
Desperate to tag along on this divine-sounding adventure, but sadly I think it might be out of the question for this year… Perhaps you can go and report back? Promise to quell the envy. Dreaming of Dior’s Charlotte Smith has collaborated with Travelling Divas to create a tour of Vintage UK, including fashion, culture, gorgeous accommodation and stunning historic sights for an intimate group.
“I am so very excited to introduce this tour: London is my favourite city in the world and countryside UK is unbeatable, particularly in the Somerset, Dorset and Devon areas we’ll be visiting on our fabulous luxury journey. Dynamic, sophisticated, full of so much history, culture and now a true gourmet’s delight with some of the best restaurants in the world, this elegant and stylish tour is a combination of all the places I love most, with inclusions to die for.
We stay in beautiful accommodation at the Bath Spa Hotel, will be pampered at the divine Bovey Castle in Dartmoor (why not indulge in a little falconry or sloe gin making?) and finish in London at the stylish Montague on the Gardens, a converted town house in the heart of Bloomsbury which was once the favourite stamping ground of Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Set. Indulging our need for retail throughout, we visit some of the best vintage shops you can find, including those frequented by the celebrity set; in London we spend a day learning how to combine vintage with high street, including a private shopping session at Harvey Nichols. To get our fill of the fabulous British culture, we hit some of the greatest museums on offer and visit beautiful stately homes; spend time with a world expert on Indigo Dye and clothing on the silk route; go behind the scenes with the Curator of the Museum of London costume department; enjoy a private tour and breakfast in the Orangerie at Kensington Palace before it is open to the public, and spend an afternoon with Victoria & Albert, checking out the amazing exhibition of ‘British Glamour: Ballgowns since the 1950′s’, finally heading out on our own private London Bus for sightseeing and lunch at Fortnum & Mason’s. Oh, and did I mention French Bubbles on the London Eye? We haven’t forgotten pampering either with a spa treatment at Bovey; the food aspect is covered with many meals included (including a private dinner at River Cottage) plus a night at the Theatre. But with so much to talk about I think the itinerary is the best place to get the full details!”
For more info, click here.
Okay so it’s Autumn here in Sydney, but to celebrate the release of Crafts for Every Season (a.k.a. The Crafty Minx) with US publisher Thunder Bay Books, here’s the instructions for my super-simple ‘Spring is Here shopper bag’, made from lovely linen fabric from No Chintz. Fold and pop one of these cloth shoppers in your handbag year-round to avoid plastic and remember: it’s all about the print!
I’ve just returned from a two week holiday in the south island of New Zealand and week-long retreat at Varuna Writers’ Centre, finishing off the first draft of book 5 (more on that soon). Now, if I could just move The Remarkables mountains of Queenstown to Sydney (yes they’re really called that) I’d be in heaven.
Feels like I blinked and missed the last few months, but new projects have been keeping me busy and awake at night, as well as a determination to get fit (sadly I lost the right to use babyweight as an excuse when Olive turned 3… the 5am starts are a killer) and entertaining all sorts of life-changing thoughts. Namely, how can I do more with The Crafty Minx, keep everything else running smoothly and still find time to actually create? I’m up for the challenge.
One of my plans is to add short tutorials, author talks and how-to videos on my Youtube channel to offer you a bit extra in addition to the books and for international readers, and to introduce a wider range of crafts I’ve been investigating, such as bookbinding and quilting. I wrote The Crafty Minx to share how easy it is to find joy in making things by hand when daily life conspires to keep us away, so I’m hoping you’ll be inspired to try some of these skills yourself and spread the word.
If you know any videographers, cinematographers or producers who might be interested in taking part in my Youtube project, I have a small budget but elephantine memory for good works! Please ask them to email me at email@example.com, and stay tuned for more news,