martha martha martha!
Ok so I got my Mothers Day present early and I bought it myself. but really, for those of you that know me you'll understand how I could justify spending big on Amazon to get these two weighty hardback tomes in my hot little hands. Say what you like about Martha (well not in front of me but you know what I mean) anyone who has a craft department as part of their empire is ok by me. And quite frankly these crafters taught me nearly everything I know - from printing techniques to how to sew up linen napkins. I still frantically text craft friends with silly questions but Martha's Craft Dept have really helped me out over the 17 years (!!) we've been pals. They showed me how to crochet, how to make candles (that was a scary year in my house), and most of all to explore new techniques and not be afraid to fail. And I've failed a few times let me tell you, but I keep trying and I get better with every project.
these books are a little like craft porn. Compendiums of the best projects from the magazine and tv show with some updating here and there to keep the crazy die hards happy. The first halves are made up of techniques (very handy for people like me who say would like to try Sashiko embroidery but don't have anyone to tell me that I need a special needle for it). I went through and counted 34 projects I had already done but then I stopped counting at 73 I'd like to try out.
It has cost me more money that I care to reveal as I've gone on a mad craft rampage online buying up supplies  - including glass beads to make someone special a corsage
these bunnies made out of suiting with silk lined ears are perfect for my new friends Rueben and Wolfgang
Any book that has a chapter devoted to pincushions is really more of a friend than a publication surely? As you've probably all guessed I've made my Christmas list and these books will be holding my hand the next 8 months. Now I have to go wait for the mail man -  I'm hoping the wool felt, Mexican oilcloth, wooden bag handles, beads and wire, and dare I say it..beeswax...arrive soon. RAMONA



global warming
I have to confess rather sheepishly I am not a 'find treasure by the side of the road' kinda gal. I don't get excited by hard rubbish or overflowing skips, I don't even go into op shops that often despite loving 70's pottery and old serving spoons. I never go to garage sales, flea markets, boot sales, nothing. I often enjoy the spoils of Becks trips to these things (shes an expert op shopper!) but all my shopping seems to involve food. Which is why I surprised my tribe by grabbing this globe jar from the nature strip out the front.
I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it. I have a friend in the fickle under 10 age bracket who I have long wanted to impress with a crafty project just for him. After a little internet research and a trip to the nursery (and toys r us) I had a magical terrarium ready for birthday delivery.

The trip to the toy store was for a Ben 10 action figure to go in my little jungle. Play to your audience that's what I always say! Now maybe I'll go look at that Salvation Army store up the road, who knows what I'll find...



The AgIdeas design conference is on at the moment (betcha didn't know that did you!) and they've got some cool associated projects and exhibitions. One of which opens tonight at the increasingly interesting C3 Gallery down at Abbotsford Convent. The Inaugural Australia Project has asked a range of Australian creatives what there take on national identity is. We can't think of anyone better than artist/jeweller Anna Davern to participate in such an endeavour. 
This brooch is call nag. She's not one to mince words is the Davernator. Should be a good one. 
Show runs to May 16 which is not as far away as you think.



little projects
It's been a very industrious week. I'm in full on project mode with work and home and my magic list of projects is getting longer (with good reason - more on that later in the week). I made a neck piece out of a t-shirt inspired by this
Another little felty thing for a friends birthday (she stands only 7 cm tall!- the felty not the friend)  
And with all the talk of denim over at Miss Pen Pens a long-planned tote with blue polka dot lining and denim flowers attached. This is the first Christmas present of the year! sigh. More of that craziness later too! ANd yes I promise to stop with the Hipstamatic photos...soon. RAMONA



Have you met Mr. Jones
well we'll be the first to admit we poo-pooed art melbourne a little last week, thinking that it was only going to be OUTRE gallery that would save the day. While we will also stand by the fact that there was really some god awful 'art' and way too many David Bromley impersonators (and possible David Bromley himself) on show we did find some right treasures. Once again Off the Wall deliverd some very exciting new arteests Ramona was quite taken with the Aly Aitken scuptures...

then we both kind of went nuts for the work of Claude Jones... he easily won Best on Ground, and given the cash we would have both dropped a cool couple of grand on works from his collection.

We were surprised and happy to see more nutty sculptures from a past postee Genevieve McLean

It was also good to see Chloe Vallance was included with more of her incredibly detailed people paintings

However we were unsure if it the quality of the art or the strength of our hunger pangs that made us fall for this ode to the kitchenaid by NZ artist Rob Tucker...

So we headed over to the Bromley cafe (see we told you he was everywhere) for coffee and a cupcake...

The fluffy pink frosting was a little OTT (somewhat like Bromley's infatuation with boobs some might say) and sent us off into a freaky sugar high...

Saving the best til last we hit Outre gallery's stand on the way out,

We were lucky enough to meet the lovely Gemma (thanks for the tix!) run into Irene of Iggy and loulou fame along with her handsome husband Peter and equally fetching baby Reuben and drool at the collection of works on show, I was particularly taken by the Rex Ray (pieces above) on display. And Gemma, if you're reading put those Yaniger bongo's on hold... I've told the boys they would make the perfect Mother's Day present!!!



Bag Lady

Yesterday while visiting Miss P (thanks for the Jam by the way, cannot WAIT for a lillypilly devonshire tea on the weekend) we started talking Japanese fabrics, as we often do, which reminded me that I hadn't posted the contents of my most recent care package from Tokyo. This one included a truly fantastic hand drawn canvas tote made by my equally fantastic neice Anna - who is quite the arteest, just like her Mum. On the front we have a Yayoi Kusama inspired spotty rainbow, and on the back...

...a collection of turtles, of course. I'd sent over a bunch of fabric textas last Christmas, so it was super cool to get something back she'd made using them. Kids drawings are brilliantly unselfconcious so i'm thinking of getting Maxwell his own set of textas so we can make some fabric out of his super scribble stylings...

I was also delighted to find this nutty pair of Zori in the bag for Maxwell...

Which reminded me to ask Ramona to borrow back the book I gave her after my last visit to Tokyo so I can whip up a pair of super sized rag slippers for me. They are just the thing for cool mornings and hardwood floors now that it's autumn, and a great alternative to the regular knitted or crochet versions of house slippers.  They're also a top way of using up clothes that even the local op-shop would say no too, and we've got a lot of that going on around here at the moment... believe me. I'll be posting the results next week, wish me luck!




Well I may not have made it to as many op shops as I had originally intended, and I had severe luggage restrictions due to the obscene amount of guff that accompanies toddler travel I DID manage to snap up a haul that i'm pretty happy with... as you can see I went a little crazy on the ancient little golden books for Maxwell (well me).  And you could probably say the same thing for the tapestries I collected, although I won't even pretend that they are for any other purpose than my studio wall collection.

Ok the blue boy does have rather a bung eye and the little leaf one is a little run of the mill but this last one (which I think is either Brittany Spears or Nikki from The Young and the Restless) was just so freaky I couldn't say know - I have handed over into Miss Pen Pen's capable care, I think it will make a nice centrepiece for one of her tapestry pouffes no?

I also snaffled up these three old craft tomes, because why wouldnt you want a mother and daughter crochet beach set.

and I even managed to fit in a twin set of vintage 60's english stoneware and yes you read right they were a ridiculous 25 cents a piece.

this top tin tray was also too good to say no too, and another 25 cent bargain

and I managed to find Ramona something rather special...(those of you who know the story of her name change on the way to hospital will appreciate this) although i'm sure the Truck Driving Historian will drive her crazy with guitar renditions day and night from here on in.

and finally, this little beauty...

all in all not a bad couple of days work!



oops! we did it again ...

Sorry about the tardiness of this weeks reporting, it's the middle of the week already and we're yet to get any hot tips to you. Let's just put it down to a combination of  holiday lag and technology glitches and get back to business.

Cheap as Chips

This weekend yuou could make a beeline for ART MELBOURNE, the annual showcase of 'affordable art'.
Always a bit of a mixed bag, and to be honest we have seen some truly terrible things there, they do have a very worthwhile section featuring the works of up and coming artists called OFF THE WALL. In the past this has featured such top craftsters as HML friend and I Make Stuff alumni Irene Grishin-Selzer of Iggy and Loulou fame. So you never know you might just find yourself up close and personal with a star in the making - and have the opportunity to grab one of their works before you're priced out of the market. This year there are some cracker galleries exhibiting their wares including perennial HML faves Outre and Kick, as well as free activities for the kids. So if you have a spare couple of hours and a spare $15 get on down to the Royal Exhibition Building and check it out. Friday 23 April until Sunday 25th April.

Drawn and Quartered

Blink and you'll miss it - today is the last day of FIRST DRAFT, an sneak peak into the sketchbooks of some of Melbournes top jewellers at Studio Ingot that lets you map the transition from initial sketch to completed work. Totally absorbing stuff and features another HML fave, the super lovely and uber talented Katherine Bowman - get there if you can.

you gotta know when to hold 'em.

Last but certainly not least is the new show by boundary pushing jeweller Kiko Gianocca  at Gallery Funaki.  I am popping across to Funaki today in my lunchbreak to check this out, so expect a review later in the week. For now just know that it comes from the same mad mind that brought us Sand to Wear (part of the Solutions for Better Living exhibition in 2005) I am expecting something completely unique. 


oh and one for out of towners...

Object’s annual DESIGN NOW! exhibition honours the year’s most outstanding contributions from design graduates across Australia. The 2010 group of 18 finalists were chosen from more than 250 entrants. No mean feat for the selection panel, and a testament to the depth of talent coming out of our tertiary and TAFE institutions. The Design Now! 2010 finalists are selected from six categories capturing the diversity of all forms of craft and design, from furniture and fashion through to architecture and animation. Above is a work from the Origamic Textiles series by RMIT gradtuate Amy Carr Bottomley. This innovative series of textile works transforms two-dimensional fabric made entirely from thermoplastic fibres produced from recycled plastic, into a three-dimensional sculptural forms. It's on for another month or thereabouts so if you're in Sydney or planning a weekend away to Sin City,  head on over to Surry Hills and check it out. Always worth a look. At Object Gallery from 10 April – 30 May 2010.




Greetings from Hervey Bay!

As you might have guessed, the iPhone Hipstamatic craze hasn't been held back by state lines, and just like Ramona (and Miss P) i'm obsessed by making all my new photos look like faded leftovers from my collection of instamatic holiday snaps circa 1976. However considering the cultural time warp i'm experiencing at the moment this seems completely appropriate...

Despite my grand plans of daily op shop raids, Maxwell's equally grand plans of daily sun, surf and sand raids have taken first place. For now. Tomorrow however is another day, and i'm hitting the Blue Nurse, Lifeline, Salvo's and local Tin Shed op shop (yes it really is in a tin shed) with the hope of filling up the suitcase with craft books, fabrics and ceramics from around the same period. Fingers crossed it goes as well as the photo taking. BECK.