No trip to Tokyo is complete for me without the purchase of at few japanese craft books - I have quite a collection that Ramona and I have dubbed "genki craft porn" that I love looking at but am yet to have a crack at the projects contained therein. On this trip I determined enough with the eye candy (well sort of) and hello to pattern books full of clothes I actually want to wear. Let's just say in the four books I collected I struck GOLD.
pattern for the best pants ever

the best kind of root vegetables

yes thanks ladies i'll have what you're having

to add to Ramona's mad christmas gift list
oh my mistake, actually these are the best pants ever

at last a louche look even old ladies can work

yes a button smock, stripey top, boots and headphones - heaven

bugger summer, here's my new autumn look

smiley face

button porn
mary ingles eat your heart out

perfect summer dress, hold the mary poppins references

half pint perfection

even bird flu can be fun!
I have been polishing up my pattern scaling skills in anticipation .Now I just need to work on my Kanji. EEK


MARKit redux

design frenzy

Well I figured that the weather, being as terrible as it was, would keep the peeps away. Well you know what? I was so very very wrong. The atrium was jam packed with enthusiastic shoppers (yes everyone seemed to be buying) and designers/makers/crafters were doing really well despite the drizzle and driving wind.

We were very impressed with the branding and publicity for this market. Posters everywhere, email newsletter, hamper giveaway and quality goods on show. Very inspiring!

We can't show you what we purchased from the lovely Anika of the Gently Unfurling Sneak because it's for the intern's Christmas stocking.

It was lovely to catch up with the ladies of Harvest Textiles

And I fell instantly in love with the illustrations of artist crafter Dawn Tan. Dawn was sponsored by Craft Victoria to have a stand at Markit and she was doing so well. But really, who can say no to a paper mountain range brooch? not me that's for sure. RAMONA


mo's and macaroons
Couple of ace things competing for my attention between wreath making and gingerbread cookie decorating. I could do with a break from Christmas (did I really say that? It's not event time to crack open the advent calendar!)
Beards Down Under is a short and curly  collaboration between Katie Jacobs and Brittany Veitch as part of the nutty Beardo Exhibition.They've reinterpreted Movember and hand crafted some mo's for the ladies. Yes the downstairs region gets a makeover like no other. Hilarity ensues!
Curator Kim Brockett (or as we call her at HML -the Pocket Rocket Brockett) is examining the rituals of High Tea. 11 artist were invited to explore this timeless and caloric tradition in any number of ways - luckily Bundoora Homestead has a cafe that does a great Devonshire tea. Burp. RAMONA

Beardo Hawthorn Town Hall Gallery until December 18
High Tea Bundoora Homestead until  February 6 (2011! omg!


Market of the week


 Quick people, here'a a last minute rainy day activity - get in your car or on a tram or train and head straight for the city... not only can you enjoy something delicious in a laneway to fulfill your afternoon tea needs but you can pick up a fantastic christmas bargain at MARKit at Federation Square! While i'm stuck at home babysitting Ramona is out and about enjoying it all - she'll post pics later this week. I am envious as hell people because its fill to the rafters with most excellent peeps and their equally excellent wares.

Everyone from Ask Alice to Thirddrawerdown has a stall (and if you dont believe me check out the link above and see for yourself) Of course some of our personal favourites including the lovely Irene from Iggy and LouLou, Anika from the Gently Unfurling Sneak, the lovely ladies of Harvest Textiles and Sunday Morning Designs as well as Mr Gregory Bonasera,  Beci Orpin and Betty Jo (aka Liz Jones) will also be there flogging their stuff - and you know how much we like good stuff!
Still open for a few more hours GET THERE and grab a bargain!



mellow yellow

As is was master Thom's birthday this week Max and I whipped up a batch of buttercakes for the Friday morning play date, Max is very proud of his burgeoning cake baking talents and wouldnt let me stir anything because "Max can do it Mummy away" - thank god it was a Donna Hay melt and mix version or we may still be at the kitchen bench...

Thom was very pleased with the addition of presents and cakes the usual array of cars, trains, slides and sandpit action, Max on the other hand, ever the critic pointed out that there were not enough sprinkles...

Thank God The Birthday Boy wasn't so fussy.





If you're talking paper products you cannot go past Japan for sheer diversity and weirdness. Really what they don't do with paper cannot be done, and there is clearly no surface safe from fat faced Kawaii creatures - let's just say Smiggle be damned and save your pennies for a trip to Tokyu Hands. This trip seemed to be all about the Panda and these two are just a small sample of the goodies that were got.

These mini notepads are for the intern (shhh dont tell her) to help with her hard-core VCE studies next year - how could these polka dotted pandas not help with the homework?

And these little mini patty pans (yes everything in minature) are for a certain little crafty someone who unbelievably turns TWO today... hopefully by the time Friday morning comes around they'll be filled with delectable cuppy cakes  for the boys to enjoy between sandpitting and train spotting.




Pot head

Every time I've been to Japan i've promised myself I would buy a little traditional teapot to make my sencha, matcha and bancha in... but four trips down I still hadn't managed to find just the right one. This time however with steely determination I traipsed through many a tea shop and ceramics store until I found it. It's tiny, just big enough for one cup, but it's beautiful and I love it's simple terracottaness hand painted stripes. While it may not constitute a traditional tea ceremony, I think it's definately going to become part of my morning breakfast ritual. Well worth the wait and yes I have one brewing right now... bottoms up!



Christmas Free Zone

You'll all be relieved to know that Beck is winging her way back from Japan as I type this and you will get a relief from my constantly banging on about Christmas. I spend a few hours last night catching up on some craft and design blog reading and I stumbled onto the work of New York artist Mark Barrow

 thought this woven work was so beautiful when I first saw it. Like Amish quilts, Klee paintings, modernist architecture - three of my favourite things

But on further investigation I discovered that the textiles are woven by his wife Sarah Parke and then he paints acrylic patterns over the top. For some reason this kind of irked me. The crafter in me felt that this was cheating. I've spent the last 24 hours processing my thoughts. I guess because he's putting it in a fine art context he can 'get away' with it. And they are still beautiful objects- in photos anyway

I came to the conclusion that I would have been happier if they'd listed the two 'makers' together - an equal collaboration - painter and weaver, husband and wife, artist and crafter.

So what do you think of the work of Mark Barrow and Sarah Parke?



ho ho hum

Well what was I to do? The library had put out a special table just for me -who was I to refuse? I was particularly pleased with the mid 80's publication Crafts to Make at Christmas...

who could resist the charm of this Kris Kringle disguise? Or perhaps the snowman centrepiece is more your style?

All I know is that the buttoned bedazzled sweater is for me...

Or maybe for Beck. Maybe a matching pair?


Santa's Workshop part #1

beady eyed

One of the mistakes I consistently make when hand making my presents is leaving the most important ones until last. Often the people I love the most end up with a book and a jar of lemon curd. Which would be ok if they hadn't watch me hand paint tablecloths, embroider pillow slips, bias bind hand towels, stuff lavender bags and mosaic plant pots for all and sundry in my 12 week Christmas countdown craziness. In fact I don't even think Beck and I exchanged presents last year and my dearly beloved's gift was bought in a dept store at 4:45pm on Christmas Eve!

This year I am a little more organised and at least have some little things planned for the Christmas stockings. The Intern is now 16 (can you believe it people! - when we started writing this blog she was 11!) and is quite the fashionista. She'd broken a beaded necklace some months ago and so I rescued it, added a whole new set of beads as well as a big bead to accent the piece. Took me all of $5 and 15 minutes. 

It's long and colourful and tres chic! I love it. Not quite as much as  I love the recipient tho...



Ok let me get this straight. A super cool group of contemporary Melbourne Jewellers are having a one night only event in Hosier Lane. The idea for Steal This, I think, is for us all to turn up at 6pm and just go berserk looking for treasure. Like pirates, like thieves, like crazy lovers of pretty things. It's tonight. And yes I will be there with a parrot on my shoulder. Learn a bit more about all this craziness here.



north and south
It takes alot for us to go to Nellie Castan's gallery. South Yarra just seems so far away. Its the whole crossing the river thing I guess. But we would walk 1000 miles to see new work by Kate Just, and walk we must as this is the last week of her show Inward Gathering
It helps that Paul Wood's creepy and beautiful ceramic work is also there in his crazy new show Antechamber. If I could buy the below piece for Beck I would! We both have a bit of a fetish for those cheapo figurines.

Closer to home I'm going to make a pit stop at Pan Gallery to see what the artists in residence are up to there.
And of course Friday evening Monash University opens the door of all its creative departments for a blockbuster opening night. Thankfully the show then runs from Nov 22 to Dec 3 so there is plenty of time to walk the halls. Will I make the drive south? Only time will tell folks. RAMONA