Lucky Star

This weekend we're having a party for my neice at our place - this is especially special because its her first one with us in Australia. Just like her Mum and Auntie Beck she's an avid crafter, although it's fair to say she's far more talented than both of us put together.

So aside from the Brunetti's birthday cake, hot pink sneakers and matching scooter that were requested as birthday booty I've also put together this box of super craft supplies with her name on it. Literally.

I've used this excellent free name plate from supremely talented Canadian illustrator Helen Dardik to make sure no-one else (MAX, CHARLIE TAKE NOTE!) gets their greasy pawn on her stash. Helen has also very generiously supplied  birthday invitations, christmas gift tags and bookplates over on her blog Orange You Lucky which are equally awesome. Thanks Helen, and Happy Birthday Miss Anna. BECK




Just one place left in the Nikki Gabriel Workshop this Sunday at Cottage Industry. This is the hottest gig in town. The craft equivalent of finding a golden ticket. For $88 you get to spend the afternoon with Nikki - an incredible knitwear designer, you get a lovely hand printed tote with wool and instructions, you get to sit at the cottage - a dreamy inspring space and possibly partake in a ginger fluff sponge - heaven! You can head over to here to make your booking or call the cottage direct on 9419 2430.



boxy but good!

You know I've gone crazy for these pencil boxes. I had already made my friend Max a little box but I knew he love a companion one for his 3rd birthday coming up next month.

I'm going to fill it up with those fabulous model animals you can get a toy stores and perhaps a little journal for field notes.

These boxes are available at Bunnings for $8, the paper I used on this one is from October Afternoon - you can buy their papers online here . RAMONA




Well you all know that we are totally obsessed with Christmas at HML. I'm using the royal we here because Becks Christmas spirit doesn't rise until October whereas I am the ghost of Christmas past present and future! I have started making some decorations - just some little papery, woody, ribbony, glittery things for the kids trees.

I did them before I knew how to do that pinwheel concertina trick so they may be rejigged while I'm watching telly.

I also made a wheat bag for my lovely pal J who turned an unmentionable age last week. I didn't have time to do anything fancy but I copied Beck's cloud running stitch idea - they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!

I am a secret fan of the hobby that shall not speak it's name (i.e scrapbooking) and have been making little mini albums of Thom, to his delight. He loves the idea of books starring himself - so vain! And as much as they all poo poo my little hobby, there have been rumblings amongst other members in the family as to why I haven't dedicated a project to them.

There is something so satisfying about crafting in winter. Maybe its the accompanying pots of tea, the good smells coming out of the kitchen and the cosy quietness of it all. Needless to say I love Christmas in July! RAMONA



size matters

Well if you are anything like me you are suffering from festival overload, between the design festival, the film festival and the Gertrude St projection festival we are all a little more festive than usual. So I'm not going to tell you all about Craft Cubed (Craft Victoria's Festivus for the Rest of Us) just yet. Let's just say it is the jam filled doughnut of festivals and leave it at that for now.

Despite not officially starting for a couple of weeks there is an early bit of hot sauce from the program opening this week at Pieces of Eight gallery. Director and curator Melanie Katsalidis has brought together jewellers who began their creative practices as interior designers - hence the downsizing. How do you go from creating an environment to an object?
We are seeing more and more interdisciplinary practice, which is a great thing. It blurs the lines between craft and design, it gives people multiple income streams that don't include selling your soul to devil, and it injects new life and energy into what can sometimes be a closed shop. It will be interesting to see how these designers compress their ideas into the miniature and wearable. RAMONA

image 1 Suzi Zutic
image 2 Kim Victoria Wearne
image 3 Katrina Tyler

28 Russell Place
Melbourne City

Downsizing July 26- September 3



Nanny State

So it's State of Design time again. This year, as always i've been up to my eyeballs for months getting things organised for Craft Victoria's contribution to the festivus. With pod of trade stands by some of our favourite peeps there will be loads of beautiful wares for sale and show. Both of us agree Design Made Trade is always worth a look, and not just becuase over the past three years we've both been involved. Ramona is also wearing her Craft Victoria to the event by officially launching Craft Victoria's new business portal Craft Work (another labour of love) in her offical 'Chair' capacity on Friday.

This time round CV is also presenting the Open Studio program: twelve makers, six studios and four days of talented individuals making 'live' from the heart of the cardboard souk. Old friends and new faves alike will provide a rotating schedule in collaborative studio spaces that will provide a nice 'fingerfied' counterpoint to the more machine made parts of the show. I have to send a big shout out to supergirl Milly Flemming who had to pick up the maternity leave baton and get this project completed after I absconded to give birth to Finn - she's done a cracking job and these Open Studios promise to be the highlight of the show, I can't encourage you enough to make the effort to get up close and personal with this amazing line up of crafting superstars.

Also tied to the fest is Harvest Textiles mini program of satellite events called Make up, there are least three unmissable workshops, including weaving, chair making and teepee building which we'd love to be attending. And of course because its Melbourne and we all know each other, there is a lovely link to the open studios at DMT presented by Craft Victoria with the gobsmackingly brilliant Maryann Talia Pau appearing on both bills.


There are loads of activities for kids which look fantastic including Junk Puppets, the Makedo marvellous life size Maze, and a repeat of last years Paper Plane accademy  which we hope both our big boys will be attending.

And of course then there's the exhibitions... we want to see Bus Projects Critical Mobility , The Housing Project at hml fave venue the Compound interest, but we'll have to see if our families let us out of the house. Oh and if you're in the mood for some art but don't want to miss out on some retail therapy while you're perusing you'd be a fool to miss the Look. Stop.Shop window installations.

And because all that festivalling will no doubt make you hungry theres also food... Dining with Strangers, Design O' Pizza at Ladro Broadsheet's pop up Micro-Kitchen and for those that want a little highbrow action theres always From Buildings to Food at Heide.

Ah Melbourne...always a festival. So much to do, so little time.

State of Design festival runs 20 - 31 July
check out the website to make sure you at least know what you'll be missing.
Design Made Trade runs from 21 - 24 July
opening tonight for invited guests, tomorrow for trade and saturday and sunday for regular peeps
Harvest Workshops 23 - 31 July
book now to make sure you get in



je suis un knitwit

Last week my brother hit the jackpot while oppshopping in the country and found an original knitting nancy which he presented to me (along with a couple of other gems) for my belated birthday present. I love a little french knitting, and I have to say I was a demon with my original knitting nancy all those years ago.

Many a winter outfit and accessory for my beloved sindy - (the only bendable barbie alternative at the time with red hair and while the image above isn't actually my Sindy you get the picture) . So you can imagine I was very excited to whip open the box and get cracking.

Thankfully the inside box lid has a wealth of instructional information for the lapsed knitwit - however it looks a little more like you're giving nancy a labotomy rather than using her to create a masterful tube of neat stitches in Fig.3.

And just in case you feel your creativity waning the makers have very kindly provided an excellent mini fold out pamphlet of ideas... I'm absolutely loving that hankie holder in post war brittish green. Definately on the Christmas 2011 list.

Mind you I don't remember Nancy looking this grumpy back in the day... BECK


EXCURSION OF THE WEEK (well last month actually)

blow it

I'd almost forgotten to tell you about my trip to Canberra Glassworks! We almost didn't go because quite frankly even I can get a bit of craft/art/design fatigue. We were on our way to Silo Bakery in Kingston (a slice of Melbourne in the ACT) to get some lunch when we passed it and on a whim took a hard left to tick it off our list.

And I'm so glad we did because it was a real highlight of the trip. I've been thinking about this craft quite a bit recently. With the closure of Monash Glass dept I wondered if it was on its way out. Its incredibly labour intensive, highly skilled, dangerous difficult work.

Canberra has always had a strong glass community because of its great university course up there- but this place really seals the deal. It's amazing! House in an old power station, this state of the art facility allows visitors to watch the process from viewing decks - and we were absolutely transfixed. Sadly our budget meant we couldn't take a souvenir of the visit - and we missed out on a table at Silo too. Totally worth it. RAMONA



gifts and acquisitions

Thought I might share a few objects that have come into my life that I am enjoying. The above is a gorgeous cup by ceramic artist/superstar Bridget Bodenham which is way too pretty for coffee and lives on my bedside table full of blooms from Thom's garden (my two year old is a better gardener than I am).

The next is this very architectural honeycomb bangle my Canberra based designer Chris Hardy. Chris actually has a chair in my show up there and it was the perfect souvenir of my capital design experience.

The above is a good look at the back of a gorgeous brooch by jeweller Elfrun Lach. I'm a big fan of the backs of things - and this clasp is pretty spectacular. The brooch is a beautiful rich red and am amazing shape, it's more like wearing a sculpture.

The above is a pencil box I made for the Interns birthday next week. It will be full of goodies by then but I wanted to show you the papers which I love. I got my box from Bunnings for $8 (everyone will be getting one of these at Christmas I think). The paper is by an American company called Basic Grey who are just amazing. For $1 a sheet it's a pretty economical craft! The birthday girl has got her eye on those Elfrun Lach earrings. She should be so lucky... RAMONA




The Intern and I thought we'd brave the winter chill and do the rounds on Saturday. We always make Craft Victoria our first stop - it's at the start of the city so it's easy enough to clamber down the hill and see things. The much feted Bless design group have installed these strange and kind of wonderful garden boxes in collaboration with Melbourne groovers PAM (Misha Hollenbach & Shauna Toohey) Show grows until July 30.

I really loved the little work of Demelza Sherwood at Mailbox 141. Her show 'Notes to the Stallholder' was tinged with sadness and nostalgia and perfectly suited to this series of mailboxes serving as gallery space. Show runs til July 15.

The Intern was particularly impressed with the current platform show chockablock with girl street artists including the brilliant Baby Guerilla.

I think the Intern was so inspired after a trip to the Sticky zine shop that a publishing empire was born in her mind - too cool. I didn't take pics of everything we saw on Saturday (including gorgeous work at Pieces of Eight and E G Etal) but that gives you a little sampler. RAMONA



I had one of those weekends where I just ran around looking at stuff getting all excited about what people are making and doing around my town. I thought it best to finish my grand tour of Melbourne on Sunday afternoon to the Beci Orpin pop up shop at Harvest Workroom mainly so I can report back to Beck!

It was so very pretty and inviting, more like a street party than anything else. I did pick up a few choice items for the Interns birthday next week (won't show them yet!)

Beci had really captured a nice studio feel while still be welcoming. I was very fond of her paper mobiles.

Of course for me the main attraction was the awesome taco truck. Nothing like shivering in the winter cold waiting for the perfect fish taco. Seriously. Best food ever.

Make sure you check out the Design Files this week for the Harvest Ladies are guest blogging -too cool yeah? RAMONA



paper party

Just about the only downside to having Finn has been missing out on the Beci Orpin workshops at Harvest textiles. Really she's a bit of a hero of mine... totally a "what i'd like to be when i grow up" kind of craft crush i've had on her like forever. Thankfully both Beci and the lovely ladies at harvest have been blogging regularly so I haven't felt like i've totally missed out, in fact it's been really inspiring to see what's been happening... Hence my own little private paper workshop this week at home. 

So by hook or by crook i'll be making my way to the closing party of her residency this Sunday at the harvest workroom to make sure I make the most of the final hurrah of her pop up shop and snaffle some goodies before they dissappear. See you there. BECK

Closing Party 1-4pm
Sunday July 3
Harvest Workroom
512 Lygon Street, East Brunswick.