and yes finally we're lost for words...
it's been a fantastic year - thanks again people for all your support!
The ladies are taking a well earned break where we intend to re-aquaint ourselves with our families, our pantries and our favourite sofas...
in the meantime have a great Christmas and a rockin' New Year.
We'll see you January 1st when we will reveal all of the resolutions we've already broken.


oh christmas tree oh christmas tree

A wee warning to readers, the following entry is a little christmas confessional from Beck, and may reveal more about her than any of you wanted or needed to know - trust us - it's just the eggnog talking.
Inspired by Ramona's 'tree for every room' this Christmas and being very keen to use up the unsold decorations from the week befores studio sale, the architect and I had a crack at the multiple decorated twig options as laid out at la casa Ramona, with varying degrees of success...This year i've made all the decorations on the tree -well not the lights clearly, and a couple of ikea heart decorations from last year managed to slip on as well due to the architects need for 'balance' but mostly they're mine, which in some weird way feels like quite a big achievement. It's amazing how easily I impress myself.

and so off we go around the house, first stop the dining table... and like Ramona's bedroom offering this was the 'folky' option - note the use of nikki gabriel egg cosy as christmas angel/santa hat tree topper, we thought this rather inspired.

next stop, hallway. We liked the combo of kooky twig work with the kozyandan Newcastle post New Years Eve party scene.
then the top of the bookshelf , which needed a wee bit of sprucing amongst the black and white ceramics. This one is actually our personal favourite, it's remarkably tastefull for us, almost 'adult contemporary'. the vinyl collection clearly needed a little 'Christmas Spirit' so they too got the treatment...
as did the sideboard, which was an obvious location to get busy. All those german vases gave us plenty of positioning options to fill with paper stars, recycled woolen baubles and silver balls. If you look closely you might also spot our 'Kamahl & Family' and 'Nina & Fredrik' Christmas singles out on display - it's just not Christmas without them. and finally the tree, it may be a little lopsided and goofy but it smells beeeautiful.

and come nightfall the tree gets all twinkly and positively 'Carolicious', perfectly setting the mood for a mince tart or three.



gift #1
My friend Michael has been sitting on a camping chair and nothing else for over a year now. this nice wooden farmhouse chair was rotting away in the carport - the table and its fellow chairs long since gone. So with a lick of paint and a nice pinstripe cushion..voila...M now has somewhere to sit when he's watching his Deadwood boxset! Happy xmas Michael!


freakin fa la la la la la la la la la

too much christmas is not enough.....
What can we say, we love Christmas. If there is one season that captures the spirit of handmadelife tis the season to be merry (and stressed and poor and tired and overworked and underpaid etc) but generally we absolutely love the chaos of it. We've gone a wee bit crazy this year on the decorating. Beck's fresh tree is bedecked with the finest handmade decorations this side of the Martha Stewart craft department (more about that tree tomorrow) and Ramona has branched out (har har) and put a tree up in every room on the house.First up are the interns xmas baubles - one for each year with her name and the date on them courtesy of her Nonnie..

Ramona's bedroom is more folksy with wooden decorations and some Beck birds and baubles...

the hallway is tres tasteful in silver and blue with fairy lights (we may keep that one up beyond xmas as the outline of the branch shadows up the stairwell in a very satisfying way)... The kitchen has a gold branch with red decorations and is the biggest crowd pleaser so far (mind you once people have had a couple egg nogs they are impressed by EVERYTHING)Out the front is a very simple one, it may need a bit more work but looks good against the grey wall.
today will spent finishing a couple of handmade gifts and wrapping (god bless Ikea - their beautiful paper os now 50% off - do yourselves a favour and get down there...)



make or break
Well a great big thank you to all of you who turned out for the big weekend studio sale (extra big snaps to you Shula-that jam went down a treat for Sunday breakfast!) - it was really rather overwhelming. We certainly didnt expect to see anywhere near as many peeps out on the hunt for a christmas bargain - especially since it was one million degrees one day and pouring the next!

As you can see there was a LOT of stuff in that there studio, but if you look closely enough , amongst the madness of Durstonia, you might find the seldom spotted Nicky Gabriel eating a Babka berry danish, her natural prey.
Here's the lovely Ramona, charming the punters with her wit and wares, while in the background Irene gets to work on wrapping duties and Pene sings an aria... oh hang on, she's actually just pointing out another huge pile of cushions for another punter to pick through.

and here's a selection of some of Beck's stuffed stuff - once again you'll see that Beck has niftily managed to avoid being snapped on camera by taking on snapping duties behind the camera! clever eh.

Finally we'd also really like to thank our fellow studio salers Irene and Nicky who entertained us no end and from whom we begged swapsies - because let's face it there's not a relative left alive that isn't sick to death of our humble offerings come Christmas...

And of course our biggest thanks go to the unstoppable Ms Durston, who not only organised, promoted and provided the venue for the whole shebang, but made sure we were well fed throughout with Babka danish, mini plum puds, gingerbread men and cups of tea - even if Pen's wares were so tempting, Beck spent her entire profit margin on a new summer wardrobe for herself.



Readers will have seen that we ladies are getting on board the fast train to Durstonia this weekend for the studio sale to end all studio sales (well until the next one anyways).
We've been super busy beavering away on our crimble inspired booty and a delectable range of new cards and badges by Ramona and small stuffed stuff by Beck is finally starting to emerge from the crafting chaos.

You would have seen in the last entry one of Ramona's Santa hatted elephant badges and folky christmas reindeer, and today we're showing you some of Becks christmas 'baubles' and birds all stitched up and ready for hanging.

We know you're all probably promised to hundred and one chrissie parties, but we do really hope to see you all in the studio at some stage over the weekend...

Durstonia will be open for business on:
Friday the 14th of December between 2 and 7pm AND
Saturday the 15th of December 10am - 5pm
Studio 9 Victoria Street, Fitzroy
and in the meantime remember to keep checking for updates at misspenpen.blogspot.com


Market of the Week

Lunchtime Craft Frenzy!
Ramona will be appearing tomorrow flogging her Words & Pictures range at the CAE Christmas market. All the creative tutors have put together a little shindig up on the 3rd floor of the Flinders lane building (the one where the city library is). 12-30 til 3pm.
Mention HML and she'll give you a badge for free! If you won't be in the city tomorrow make sure you mark next Friday and Saturday down for Pene Durston's studio sale. With both hml ladies in attendance as well as Iggy and Lou Lou and Nikki Gabriel - that'll be a bonanza of seconds and samples and top drawer xmas goodies...



red spot special
The ladies of hml are quite pleased to see that several of our hot picks were chosen for this years Fresh! Award opening this Thursday at Craft Victoria. Fresh Committee member Beck did most of the hard yards (with Ramona in tow occasionally on a number of coffee fuelled missions) checking out all the grad shows and this year it was a bumper crop. See it all in one place from 7-22nd December.
The above image is of a work by Kaye Abude from VCA - a great example of where art and craft meet - when they're getting along they meet in aisle 9...



21 days and counting
So Ramona had an interesting weekend. She went to a store full of cheap crap and chose horrible presents for all her friends and then stood at the checkout with 500 other people. Then she systematically put every single one of them back when she realised she didnt have the $387.20 needed to participate in this shopping frenzy...
This time last year the ladies of hml were teaching a course in DIY christmas gifts - literally in a weekend people had 7 great gifts to put under their tree. Ramona came to her senses and got in the car,went straight to the mountain of plastic tubs that line the studio/house/carport and dug out enough craft supplies to sink (if not decorate) the titanic...
She then made a list of everyone she wanted to give a gift too and decided on a small handmade project for each of them. It's going to be a busy three weeks! Progress reports daily (codenames to fox the recipients. Of course Becks present cannot be revealed til boxing day!)
Really it's time to walk the walk not just talk the talk. Good luck with all your projects dear readers.
PS- the house isnt ever this clean - we needed photographic evidence...