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
A few weeks ago journalist Katrina Lobley visited to discuss the new book with Amanda & me. Click here to read her lovely article, featured in SMH’s Spectrum last weekend.
Last week we had a small shindig (at home, of course) to celebrate the launch of the new book. This was really so I could thank everyone involved for all their hard work and for being so supportive.
It was truly special working with the team we had on The Crafty Minx at Home. Here’s some of my favourite images – more to follow soon.
When I pitched the book proposal for The Crafty Minx at Home, I knew it had to include illustrations to convey many of the ideas in the text and balance out all the real imagery we’d be using. I’m so thrilled with the result, which I think offers more than the previous books in terms of sheer design and all the information we’ve tried to pack in to make it a home crafting & upcycling bible of sorts.
But this is still an intensely personal book - it’s about the way I live, and I think so many of us are heading towards a similar lifestyle nowadays. I feel so passionately that all of us need to consider and appreciate the objects in our lives, and avoid mass-consumerism; both for the environment’s sake and our pwn sense of personal fulfilment. Crafting’s one of the best ways I know to feel zen and connected, and I love sharing it with like-minded people. Upcycling also means we can keep our homes fresh by updating their style more often, without making overly costly mistakes. It’s win-win, and a therapeutic, amusing form of domestic curating.
Kristy Allen of The Pencil Sessions was our illustrator for the book, and here’s some of my favourite drawings which she created especially for The Crafty Minx at Home.
Kristy is one talented lady - she works as a designer for Australian Women’s Weekly by day, and moonlights in drawing by night. I first fell for her quirky scribblings when I heard about the +365 Project, where she vowed to draw a new picture every day for a year to track her progress as an illustrator and dabble in all sorts of styles just for the hell of it. And she’s about to launch her new range of greeting cards and illustration plates for framing soon through her online shop.
Follow her blog for more, and I hope you enjoy perusing her drawings as much as I do. And for all her Crafty Home illustrations, you can grab a copy of the book when it hits stores in a couple of weeks.
I popped into Calico & Ivy recently to source goodies for the event at Surry Hills Library on Monday (which went so well, btw – I had a ball!) and chat with the lovely Sarah Wheatley, my Girl Friday at the demonstration table for the evening. That’s where I found Designer Beci Orpin’s book, Find & Keep.
Now, I’m a little dyslexic when it comes to reading certain craft patterns but Beci’s book is a dream - totally gorgeous and inspiring and simple enough to undertake with kids. And yet the projects are all stylish enough for adults to be proud of, too. It’s easy to follow, with ideas for inspiration rather than prescriptive, tricky projects I would never bother attempting. Goodness, I just love this book.
Have a look at some of these projects. I’ve already made the mobile below (twice – one for us, and one for a friend who’s having a baby), Tiny Town, the succulent garden and Beci’s confetti. Olive and I spent almost the entire weekend crafting, and James even got in on the act chopping out bits & pieces for Tiny Town.
Her style is just so fresh and clean… did I mention how much I love it?
Grab yourself a copy post-haste, I’m sure you’ll adore it as much as I do.
And the good news is Ms. Orpin has a new one due out at the end of the year. Can’t. Wait.
Finally I’m able to share more about the new craft title (out on 1 April with HarperCollins) and the team who put it together. Stay tuned for updates over the next few weeks as well, because I’ll be posting some gorgeous illustrations and spreads from inside.
Firstly, the entire book was shot in my home in Sydney’s Inner West with the wonderful photographer Amanda Prior (Inside Out, The (Sydney) Magazine, etc.) over the course of two weeks. To see some of Amanda’s work in interiors, click here. Amanda and I worked together before on shoots for The (Sydney) Magazine and Sunday Life, so when the publisher and I were trying to come up with a new look for the next book, she was the first person who sprang to mind. I love Amanda’s style – she’s truly gifted at shooting still lifes, interiors and compelling portraits, which is rare in an industry where most people tend to specialise in one field. I adore the sense of calm and light Amanda brings to every shot, and she’s such a fun, easygoing person. Natalie Walton once interviewed Amanda for The Daily Imprint (which is sadly no more) - read this to see what an interesting character she is. Amanda also manages to juggle a successful career with two small girls, so she’s quite an inspiration.
Claire Delmar was our stylist - also a freelance mama who works for Quintessential Duck Egg Blue, Inside Out, Country Style and used to be at Elle Decoration, the top international interiors magazine. Claire brought such energy and passion to the shoot, and I honestly don’t know how she managed to stay so sprightly with all the running around and long days of constant shooting we squeezed in. Claire simply has impeccable taste, and it was a joy to watch her do her thing to create the mood and atmosphere we were looking for with the book.
I really wanted The Crafty Minx at Home to convey the sense of peace and pleasure I find in making things and creating a beautiful home, and everyone who worked on the book seemed to get what I was trying to achieve and add to it tenfold. Jane Waterhouse, the in-house designer at HarperCollins did a beautiful job of realising this vision, giving us a layout to be proud of. I love how she’s blended the various elements of design, photography and illustration (more on our exceptional illustrator later) as well as writing to create a harmonious style… not easy at some 300+ pages.
For more on the book or to pre-order copies now, click here, and more news to follow soon.
Only another six weeks or so until the new book is published here in Australia, and I’m anxiously awaiting my first advance copy. It should be arriving next week. In the interim, I’ve another fashion upcycling event to keep me busy and the challenging work of writing my first novel. Some days I’m buoyed by the pace at which it’s coming along, others I feel desperate it’ll never be finished. But through it all I keep writing… it’s all I can do, really.
Here’s the details of the Upcycle your Threads event I’ll be hosting soon for the City of Sydney and Green Villages, an excellent initiative to help people live in more environmentally-conscious ways. Hope to see you there.
I’ve been reading some ace books lately, a few of which rate a mention here and I’ve just realised they’re all non-fiction.
Grace: a memoir by Grace Coddington
I LOVE this book. US Vogue’s creative director takes you on a journey through all the ins and outs of the magazine and modelling biz throughout the 60s, 70s, 80s and beyond, and her dry (British) wit and stiff upper lip have me adding her to my dream dinner party list once again, after her turn in The September Issue. Totally, utterly absorbing. And quite moving and hilarious in places. Plus the publishers have gone to town on production – there’s so many fabulous photos inside which really add to the whole experience.
Bird by Bird: some instructions on writing and life by Anne Lamott
This is an old one, first published in 1995, but came recommended by three people before I bit the bullet and ordered in a copy. If you ever wondered about the writer’s life or you are a writer yourself, I can’t stress how much you need to read this book. It’s given me a whole new take on how I get through the day, with its sage advice and humour. A bit of a life-changer, for sure. I adore Anne Lamott for her candid self-deprecation and massive, beating heart.
Dilvin is the Australian Features Director of Cosmopolitan Bride and Cosmopolitan Pregnancy. Her daughter’s roughly the same age as mine and they happen to be in the same daycare centre in town. This book is an hilarious series of letters to her girl, written for when she reaches those difficult teen years. I’ll be handing it to Olive rather than having some of the awkward conversations myself, I think, and simply asking her to come back to me with any questions she feels she needs me to elaborate upon.
Again, it’s funny, authentic and moving (the very best kind of book), just like the two above.
Go forth and buy these titles. I promise, you won’t be disappointed.
A little while ago I received the most exciting news from my publisher at HarperCollins: Jane Brocket, author of The Gentle Art of Domesticity has written an endorsement for my new book. It felt like one of those dreams where everything’s going your way and although it seems odd that you’re living in a Left Bank apartment with your family, childhood dog, and a limitless account at Le Bon Marché, everything is right with the world. Except this time, I didn’t wake up.
Ms. Brocket has brought out several bestselling titles, but this book in particular changed my life. It was so inspiring, and so thoughtful – it gave me permission to write about things that matter most; family, friends, home, books, food and (of course) being creative.
If you haven’t read her blog or books before, you can find out more about all of them here.
And here’s what she said about The Crafty Minx at Home, out this April:
“A truly beautiful Minxy mix of charm, inspiration, practical advice, and pretty projects to simplify and beautify your life and home.”
More on the new book soon.
Yet another sneak peek at the next book with this quilt, similar to one appearing in The Crafty Minx at Home, which will be out early next year with HarperCollins (more to follow soon).
If you can’t wait till then, grab a copy of this month’s Australian Women’s Weekly for instructions. This took all of a day to create with vintage fabrics and beautiful new linen, Liberty print etc. from Calico & Ivy and Publisher Textiles. It’s my third quilt ever, and definitely my favourite.