pop life

Its Melbourne, it's nearly December and pop up shops are sprouting up quicker than the weeds in my veggie patch - they're now so prolific it may be time to say we've actually got a plague of pop ups. Still we love the combo of special product, creatively installed in alternative venues as much as we like shopping so hell...like we're seriously going to start complaining about having even more reasons to head out together to look at gorgeous stuff. Now that we're in the last few weeks till Christmas we've hand picked a few of our favourite pop ups worthy of your attention and maybe even your credit card. We're also reminding you that some of these propositions are a blink and you'll miss it type situation - especially The Design Files open house and Crop at Lightly this weekend so get in quick peoples. And remember this is just the beginning!

The creme de la creme of pop ups - a gob smacking mid century architectural marvel filled to the brim with the best craft and design by the one and only Lucy Feagin. This is the second Open House and it's being touted as both bigger and better than ever, and we seriously doubt this is hyperbole. We're super happy to say that it features works by some of our favourite people ( see above you know who you are!) amongst the select creatives. And if you don't want to take our word for it check out the millions of opening night snaps here and hot foot it over to Windsor this weekend.
Open today, closes Sunday arvo.
27 Eastbourne st Windsor.

Super cool, super talented and super lovely Cindy Lee Davies is hosting a series of pop ups within pop ups at her gorgeous light filled studio in Collingwood. Entitled Crop this market/pop up hybrid features a fantastic group of serious craft and design specialists and labels we love.We will MOS DEF be making our way to this one but remember this too closes this SUNDAY and the works will be flying out the door. 
Opens 30 November to closes Sunday December 2
3 Glasshouse Rd. Collingwood.

This year is also the second for the Melbournalia franchise. In a great new venue down at the Queen Vic market it too is looking bigger and better in a brilliant new setting. None too surprisingly it's main claim to fame is showcasing the best local talent. Ramona raved about this one last year and thankfully it's open for quite a while so should be pretty easy to get to. 
Open regular shop hours Tuesday to Sunday's... more details here and here
155 Victoria Street Melbourne

From paper mache parrot headdresses (squark we MUST HAVE ONE hear that Santa) to hand printed bed linen this is probably our favourite pick. Lichen and Jitske  are not just great people they also have seriously great taste and they've put this pop up together to feature not just their own wares but some of their own favourite things. Trust us this space is filled with unexpected treasures that will be filling our Santa sacks this year. Read more about it here or here. or make your way on over.
Open until December 24
173 Lygon st Brunswick
Tomorrow we'll be talking up markets and open studios in the meantime happy shopping. BECK




I have been obsessing over Christmas villages. Having never made one I was unsure how to go about it without it costing a fortune or printing out someone else's designs (an exercise in folding was not what I was after) I remembered buying blocks online a few months ago that the same store had house shapes so presto - modern Xmas village. I've actually made this little set for my friend Max age 4 - who has long been the recipient of my handmade holiday hoo ha.

I wanted to keep them really simple and timeless but still fun enough to play with (just add matchbox cars and Lego people). I made this in an evening while watching the movie 'Ghost' for the hundredth time (probably the third time but it feels like more).

I wanted to make sure they looked as cool from the back as the front. I'm hoping to make a little calico bag for the town, hopefully there will be enough time! I know these are easy things to cut yourself if you have a jigsaw but if you'd like to buy them v v cheaply online I recommend the Craftumi store Supplies from the Studio

The plan for my own village is to keep the palette summery and have it resting on astro turf rather than fake snow. I'd like some trees too, not sure how to resolve that one. Felt maybe? RAMONA



Round and round it goes

We are going to do things a little back to front this week at HML with Show appearing at the tail end. I thought I'd share with you some of the little wreaths I've been making as gifts for friends and neighbours

I've been using air dry clay, silicon moulds, and embroidery hoops as bases. I have a Christmas elf to assist in the colour tinting. The amazement of being able to mix two colours to make a third is quite intense in a four year old crafter. Let alone five shades of green by adding bits of white.

The green one above is one of the first we made and I still love it. My new favourite below is for an amazing crafty friend whose name has been obscured to keep a small element of surprise. I find it especially hard to make gifts for my professional crafter friends but I know they always accept my small offerings as intended - with love!

I'm having a low key Christmas this year - I know it doesn't look like that but truly I am. Cancelled my annual BBQ, putting up the fake tree instead of struggling with the real one, planning a cold cuts Christmas lunch and a little pavlova to celebrate. Some years ya just gotta turn the volume down a notch. But I still love making gifts, it's my hobby after all! RAMONA



mind meld

Jill Hermans
If 2012 had a theme in the professional craft world that would be 'collaboration'. It seemed that everyone was in a caring and sharing mood. No strangers to that ourselves we here at HML are big fans of seeing how makers respond to each other, their ideas and aesthetics. Beck calls this the 'mind meld'. We are always aiming for that magic moment when our contributions are seamless together- it makes collaborating a joy.

Chloe McColl
I saw Jill Herman's work last year at Handheld Gallery and really responded it so I'm excited to see more. She has a really lovely eye for colour and I see her work more like abstract paintings than jewellery. The fact that they are wearable is a bonus. I haven't seen Chloe McColl's work in an exhibition context so I'll be really interested to see what she does and the connection between the two makers work

The show opens this Thursday and runs until December 15. Handheld Gallery is HERE




Well the ladies of HML do love a road trip it's true. If you can combine that with an open studio/christmas market/idyllic bush setting then we are there as fast as you can say 'scones anyone?'

Merricks North, down Mornington Peninsula way is home to a trio of makers Jeweller Flick Pope, Glass blower Leisa Wharington and artist Julie Niekamp. As is their tradition this time of year this Friday and Saturday they are opening their doors and gardens for a lovely handmade country market. Ceramics, textiles,  vintage stuff and of course art, glass and jewels!

Looks like a lovely mellow way to spend our Christmas coin. We'll be heading down on the Friday to take advantage of early bird pickings but it is open on Saturday the 24th too for those of you who feel like a country jaunt. Highly recommended for weary city slickers. RAMONA

PS for more info visit their facebook events page here
for those of you not on the book (rebels!) here are the details:

Friday 23rd and Saturday 24th of November 2012. 10am - 4pm.The Studio - Bulldog Creek Road
Merricks North. Melways 152, A12 (Access only off Balnarring Road - no GPS)

Take a rug and picnic to make a day of it - and cash, don't forget the cash!



shelling out

I've always been a big fan of dodgy shell craft - so useless, so kitschy, so dust collecting. Over the years i've found and proudly displayed everything from the ubiquituous bug eyed frog to the fancy pants coral and whelk lamp with plant hangers and dangly light shades a plenty thrown into the mix. The in-house architect as you might expect DETESTS them, and the little people I co-habit with had a nasty habit of trying to inhale, ingest and/or impale themselves on my lovlies so gradually over the years they've all headed out the door. To this day however I can't go past a beach side garage sale/market/tourist trap without fondly fondling a piece.

This holidays I decided that if perhaps the boys and I made the shell craft ourselves we might stand a better chance at keeping it in the display cabinet rather than recycling bin.  So we spent some quality time collecting our raw materials then set about making some of our own, inspired by these fabulous pieces in the craft book I snaffled in the local oppy the day before.

We managed to get this photo frame done, which we were both pretty happy with, especially Max.

Then we picked the shells for Maxwell's creche teachers and I was all geared up to teach the little man the fine art of plaiting and stringing when he turned to me in all sincerity and said - "Mum you do the rest this is boring" and then proceeded to dive bomb himself into the pool.


Like father, like son. Oh well at least there's still time to indoctrinate Finn into the crafting clan. BECK



good golly miss molly

We'll all be seeing this book a lot over the next month methinks. Very English Mollie Makes magazine has harnessed a strong following since it started up a couple of years ago and has now produced this very sweet hardback Christmas book. I must admit I avoided  the magazine for many moons but since the inception of the iPad I've been downloading digital issues and catching up on the craze. I prefer its rival Making magazine (more substance over style - twice as many projects). I do have to admit that under all the cutesy stuff  in MM there is some good content that will appeal to fledgling crafters and people with more advanced skills (many of the knitting projects in the magazine are beyond me).

The book itself is beautifully produced. gorgeous paper, lovely styling and very generous in tone and spirit. It has some nice ideas in it, but is pretty useless if you are making gifts. It's pretty much for people wanting to hand make their decorations (wreathes, garlands, baubles). I loved the finger puppets - and the added suggestion of stuffing them and sewing them up so they could be decorations.

Being an import the magazine goes for the steep price of $15 at the local newsagency and a fairly hefty $7.50 on the iPad. The book is only available in paper form (why I wonder?) and is the same price as the magazine! It would actually make a really good present in itself. I got mine here because I'm a sucker for free shipping. It took a good two weeks to arrive tho so if you are in Melbourne you can buy it here. RAMONA




With only 42 days until Christmas you know I'll be talking panic craft mode this morning on RRR at around 10 am Seriously, there is so much going on leading up to the silly stupid season that it's best to keep projects and budgets small and if you can't handmake then buy handmade.
Alison Frith

 I'll be talking up the last two big markets this year:
and revealing all the nutty things I'm doing to prepare for the season

Don't judge me people. Listen in and give me some love. My compadre Beck is in transit from the sunshine state so I'll be flying solo this morning. I may reveal what I've made Beck for Christmas! RAMONA



knit two together
I am your exotic bird (2012)
There are usually two or three shows a year that literally take my breath away and I think this is definitely one of them. Currently showing at the Anita Traverso Gallery in Richmond is the new work by textile artist Tracy Potts.

My Beautiful Wife (2012)

Her combination of knit, crochet, stitch, appliqué and paint feels really fresh and wholly original. There is something really sophisticated about the work but still honouring its definite craft roots.

Something Told Me It Was Over (2012)
 As amazing as the images are they are nothing compared to the real thing. Something about the surface texture, the attention to detail and composition puts me in craft/art heaven. This show runs until the 24th of November and is an absolute must see.

74 Brilliant Suggestions (2012)
 I was so inspired by this work, and for me that is rare. Idf I could have taken the whole lot home I would have. ok enough. cannot speak. so good. RAMONA



pink fit
 Just a little entry for today to show you this cute bit of yarn bombing outside The Cancer Council. We've become quite cynical about yarn bombing as it seems to be a lot of 'state sponsored' public yarn art which kind of misses the point. Turns out the staff have no idea who did it. It appeared the night before pink ribbon day and they absolutely love it.
I wonder if it was a group touched by cancer in some way, or a community club wanting to do a little clandestine crafting. could it possibly just be one person wanting to reach out and say thank you, or to honour someone they know? Either way, it's pretty sweet so I thought I'd share it. RAMONA