the girl with kaleidescope eyes

this seems to be a week of me coming clean and revealing my inner craft geek fanisms. So best to be up front and out myself as a massive Sarah Applebaum fan. Gasp! and Gadzooks!!! She's almost too awesome to contemplate and near impossible to talk up enough: soft sculpture genius, psychedelic snow gorilla wrangler, and extreme afghaner...
 So... rather than be blathering like a teenager with a crush I'll send you over to Sarah's website and the lovely Meighan O'Toole of My Love for you is a Stampede of Horses (ok so I also have a massive craft geek crush on her as well but that's another story) for a sneak peak inside Sarah's studio and a slightly less hysterical narrative. ENJOY!




truely amazing

the true stone house , fafe, portugal.

"Inspired by the Flintstones, this odd house was constructed between two giant stones on the hillside of Fafe Mountains in Portugal. Like most contemporary homes, it has a front door, roof, and selection of windows, while the huge spherical boulder on the uphill side of the house and scoop-shaped end give it a prehistoric feel."

Treehugger reports that the house has become so popular with tourists that Vitor Rodrigues, the home’s owner, has had to move away to avoid them. Sad because it's an awesome location and clearly an amazing abode complete with fully fledged creature comforts like luxury fireplace and swimming pool.
Wonder if we can rent it for the next hml holiday?



chairman of the board

Ok reveal time. My first boyfriend was a 6ft 4 blonde dutch surfer boy called Marco and his brother Rene made surfboards. As such I spent many hours familiarising myself with Dr. Zoggs Sex Wax (dont be alarmed and do follow the link) and reading Tracks Magazine and to this day I nurse a deeply held respect and admiration for the madness that is surf culture and am as envious as all get out of all those who can manage to ride a wave. So this exhibition by hollow board maestro Peter Walker's meticulously crafted boards at the Jam Factory has me pretty much delirious and ready to board a plane to Adelaide immediately.

Walker has paired with four friends and fellow designers including Jam Factory Director Stephen Bowers and fellow crafter and board rider Gerry Wedd to create what for me is the perfect synergy of form and function. Please do yourselves the proverbial Molly and check out a little more about this brilliant, humble and immensely talented man. Breathtaking.

or read this great blog post by his beach buddy (and hml hero) Gerry Wedd

Until 17 Oct 2010
Gallery 1, Jam Factory. Adelaide.

My other pick for the week comes via an unputdownable invitation I picked up at Craft Victoria, the heady combination of title and drawing literally stopping me in my tracks. I just ove this: the idea, the title, the works. Packed full of typography, assemblage, yarn, crockery, pasteups and illustration Vern Sherman Drinks Tea and Other Tales’ is the second solo show for eclectic Melbourne artist I & The Others Currently gracing the walls and sidewalks of Collingwood's Off the Kerb gallery, this particular exhibition features a series of works inspired by a  three and a half month tour of the United States in 2009. After visiting her website and doing a little web-stalking I found myself asking why hadn't I heard of her earlier and how can I get me some of her work!

Like a Coen Brothers exploration on the backroads from California to Oregon, Nevada to Louisiana and back again, encounters with deadly animals and individuals with highly irregular habits and suspect personal hygene are dilligently depicted. Tales of hitch hiking through Redwoods, pyromania in the desert and gregarious white monsters on Bourbon St are just some of the stories on show. The artist will be giving a talk about the works on Saturday October 9 at 2pm, followed by musical performances by surprise guests.Clearly given our love of all things twin peaky, coehnesque and musically mysterious Ramona and I will be attending this one in person.

Until October 15 (that's a friday peeps)
Off the Kerb
66B Johnston Street, Collingwood.




judgement day

The ladies of HML donned their 'professional' hats yesterday in a weird parallel universe kind of way. While I was judging the craft category in the Annual Veterans Affairs Art and Craft Awards out at the Red Cross Hall in Heidelberg, Beck was judging Fringe Furniture at the Newport Substation.
This is my 4th year of participating and it is such an honour, a real highlight on my calendar. It acts as a good reminder of how craft can be a comfort, can provide focus and can mark memory in a unique way.
I remembered my grandfather had been taught mosaics as part of his rehabilitation after a stroke, he was very proud of his craft forays! And Grandpa Joe was as tough as old army boots.
I absolutely loved this wood carved archangel sculpture and was disappointed it wasn't for sale.
already looking forward to next year. Hopefully Harry and the other chaps won't have eaten all the teddy bear bickies by the time I get my cuppa. RAMONA
you can see past years shows here, here and here.


This is the second year i've been lucky enough get a sneak peak at the Fringe Furniture show in my capacity as judge. Last year's show had some high points, like the oversized rust facet diamond garden sculpture for example... which really was a stroke of genius, and the perfect decon-bling for the urban enviro garden. This year we were treated to another great show, with some of the high points showcased below. This years "the city has a face, the country has a soul" theme may delivered an interesting starting point for exploration, with mixed results. Daniel Bucci's wheat bag upholstered chair, Toby Horroks cardboard log bookshelf and Christopher Goff's repurposed spoon and milk jug lotus light amongst them. However truly it was the new Substation venue that was the star of the show... that and the take away container lighting installation. Three guesses what the staff have been eating for the last few months.

milking stool chic

substation post consumer take away light show

cricket balls, hay bales, fenceposts and old lace

playing the spoons

separating the wheat from the chaff

granny takes a trip

seeing the forest and the trees
Oh and since we're still talking about things to do with the little peoples during the holidays be sure to check out the list of things to see and do as part of Fringe Kids as well as the rest of the program. LOADS on. BECK



pass it on
Continuing on our school holidays theme we thought we'd give you a heads up to the best cooking with kids website resource we've found. Kidspot is another 'let's tell you everything you need to know about parenting' website which can be quite irritating really but they have a brilliant cooking section. Even when not cooking with or for kids it's a great resource for simple recipes like anzacs, lamingtons, sponge etc. There seem to be alot of kids on tv at the moment tempering chocolate and deveining prawns, but I wonder if they can make scones or banana bread?
How we learn to cook, where we get our food knowledge is a very personal and subjective thing. I certainly don't want to knock anyone who hero worships Neil Perry et al. But there is something to be said about having some basics in your armoury.
For my recent birthday the Intern bought me a new, beautiful linen covered notebook to transpose all the recipes into (you can see the old book is a little out of control). The first recipe in there will be one for basic scones. This was the first thing I learnt to cook, and the first thing I passed on.
She and her other 16 year old mates are having a tea party this afternoon so the intern is rising before noon to make two batches. There aren't any left from yesterdays cooking exploits. The last one was polished off this morning for breakfast! So who is doing the washing up?



spring break
On RRR last week Beck and I were talking about school holiday crafts. There are plenty of fantastic old and new crafty books that can inspire even the youngest in the household (sometimes the oldest too!) We admit to being very project oriented people and have probably passed this onto our offspring. So it's no surprise that we've become addicted to kaboose.com.
essentially a good looking parenting website out of the States it has the most comprehensive list of craft projects for children that we have ever seen. Imagine summer camp, boy scouts, kindergarten, 1975, Martha Stewart, and old boys and girls annuals all poured into the one resource that is pretty and functional at the same time. Not just glam styling but the instructions on how to make a paper boat...
...or grow your own herbs out of a tin can. You can search by age group, media, length of project, topic, and seasons. There are lots of printouts for instructions and colouring pages. All the projects are inexpensive and pretty much fool proof. My Thom is obsessed with all things nature so we'll be making pet rocks and coffee filter butterflies. Beck and I get the boys together every week so there will be some shared activities too.
If you don't have kids yourself there is still a lot of inspiration to be found here (especially come Christmas time). How about putting a kit together for nieces, nephews, neighbours or friends kidlets?
Because you are never to young or old to learn that crafting, simply for pleasure, is totally where it's at. RAMONA




The fantastic Helen Round is again curating one of the Fringe Festivals best events the Museum of Particularly Bad Art's Itchiball Award. This event has now been going for 6 years now and the work gets worse every year

There are three things you are alway guaranteed to see at a MOPBA show -unicorns, nudie bits and Elvis.So bad it's good. But like all things, once collected and displayed it does take on a different quality. A sort of melancholia. After all, none of the artists really set out to make bad work, none of us ever do. We can't be that self conscious in our failures or our successes.

Fringe has lots of good stuff on offer. We'll bring you highlights and lowlights as the 3 weeks rolls on. Those of you with Iphones should download the app. Those of you who don't should jump on their website, it's terrific! RAMONA



c'est magnifique

Ohh la la! While on an epic gallery crawl last Saturday I was directed to level 2 of the Nicholas Building to the amazing L'uccello. One of those shops that just takes your breath away. Crammed with vintage haberdashery, beautiful books, gorgeous craft kits. It was just dreamy. This wasn't your average pretty frou frou either. We're talking proper ricrac, horn buttons, and enough millinery ephemera to make me dream of an elaborate spring hat!
I allowed myself a couple of treats. Some new old buttons for a much loved cardigan and a couple of pretty fat quarters that will probably sit on my bedside table before I work out what to do with them
really dreamy and well worth rambling up and down flights of stairs. Oh I miss the lift ladies on the weekend. RAMONA.



Ramona and I will be doing our monthly report from the Craftiverse live on RRR's Grapevine this morning at 10.30 in the AM. We'll be talking up bad beasts, christmas lists and things to do with toilet rolls and dried pasta with the kids come the school holidays next week. Happy listening peoples! BECK



lucky charm

Opening tomorrow night is the new collaborative exhibition BAD BEASTS DO NOT HARM ME by two of our favourite 'new jewellers' Natalia Milosz-Piekarska and Karla Way. We gasped our first gasp over these ladies works at their RMIT graduate show at 35 Downstairs a couple of years back, immediately identifying them as 'ones to watch'...  Which of course is what we have been doing ever since, and we've been eagerly anticipating this new show since we first saw it come up on the Craft Victoria exhibition calendar. Bad Beasts is a joint "investigating the transcendent and transformative capabilities of materials." Their collective interest in superstition, ritual, divination ritual and belief made manifest in highly personal objects that draws inspiration from the extensive pre/history of jewellery and hollowware. Maybe it's just me but I find the experience of viewing their work reminiscent of that scene in the Blair Witch Project where you first witness the hairy wicker bits hanging in the trees en masse... spooky, dark, increadibly disturbing but utterly compelling. I have been lucky enough to watch the installation come together and couldnt resist taking a few shots to give you all a sneak peak of what you might see tomorrow night. Really and truly one NOT to miss.

Opening Thursday 9 September, 6-8pm

September 10  until October 17
Gallery 1, Craft Victoria
31 Flinders Lane Melbourne, 3000




Craft ACT

My trip to Canberra was pretty wet and windy. Crazy weather did not make for the easiest of gallery tours on Saturday. Of course we had to brave the rain to get to Craft ACT. Their new shop space is spartan but full of the most beautiful local work. My favorite was the ceramic paper cups by Bev Hogg. We've all seen this sort of thing before but her citrusy colorways felt fresh to me and sitting all together they looked like a Pantone dream.

Ceramics are obviously pretty strong in Canberra. I thought that Debra Boyd-Goggin's work in the gallery space was really gutsy and delicious.

I was very impressed with the curated cabinets out the front that had a group show of miniature craft and design objects. I was disappointed this Peter Bollington chair that was the size of my thumb had a red sticker on it!

My favorite craft object of the weekend as actually found at the Museum of Australia. A small stuffed pig toy from 1946. These very austere toys are all the rage at the moment. Can't you see this resting on some design festival trestle table or on a little bed in Vogue Living?

Of course we had to stop off for baby chinos at every cafe in town. You can take the baby out of Melbourne but you can't take the Melbourne out of the baby.

Tomorrow I'll give you a peak inside the Gallery of Australian Design and show you the amazing glass work of Wendy Fairclough.  In the meantime I have 30 loads of washing to do. RAMONA