Seasons Greetings

The ladies of HML would like to wish you all a merry xmas. Regual readers will know that it has been a crazy year at headquarters. Two new interns, christmas projects that stretch back as far as July, visits to dozens of shows, thousands of websites and the odd op shop or twenty. Phew. We have hit a wall of exhaustion we didn't know existed! That being said we are very excited about 2009 - and have started the grand plans already...
We're thinking of starting the Christmas projects in January! We're both going to take a break from HML between xmas and new year to hatch plans, write lists and roll around on the grass with our kids
we'll see you all back here Jan 1!
PS - before you al lpoint it out to us, yes the ball says 2006, don't worry there is one for all the other years too!


Christmas gift of the day

hacky sacks

It's not that Beck leaves everything up to the last minute (ha ha sure she does) but these calico oat bags have been hanging around for the last couple of months begging to be made into something, and now in the heat of the last two days before Christmas, she finally came up with something... bollywood flavoured lavender bags for the indiaphiles in her life! So simple she wondered how on earth she hadn't thought of them sooner, she managed to whip up four in an afternoon, despite a housebound sick and grumpy architect, attention seeking max missile and parental entertaining duties.

All you need to make your own fabbo set is a couple of hours free time, recycled or new calico, lavender filler, a metre or so of rockin' ribbon or ric-rac, a sheet of iron on transfer stuff and some filmi images of your choice - you don't even really need a sewing machine, although it might be the difference between an unhappy, cramped beer drinkin' hand and a loose and happy beer drinkin' hand come Christmas day.

Voila! the finished product, and none too shabby neither. Go on make one yourself, you've still got time and they're the perfect kris kringle or last minute stocking stuffer!


Secret Squirrel gifts of the day

ssshhhhh... it's a secret

I don't know how much true crafting there actually is in whacking a t-shirt transfer onto a t-shirt, and while the t-shirt for Beck's nephew Charlie may feature an original illo, the two below are complete web-hacks but at least were made in the indie D.I.Y spirit of the times they reference. And what could be a better Chrissie present for the littlest interns than their first ever band t-shirts. Sonic Youth for Major Thom and Bad Brains for Mad Max... somehow fitting really, just don't tell them what they're getting.


Decoration of the day

a complete balls up
Are you sick of tinsel and cheap glittery plastic bauble? Over the faux fibre and leaf wreath? Have buckets of old yarn lying around, a hot glue gun and itchy trigger fingers? Well how's this for an excellent decoration idea, courtesy of a nifty craftster user (ragstorichesart) we have the perfect solution... and you still have five days to get it done before the man in the big red suit hit's the chimney.


Christmas gift of the day

wigged out widget
Having a stack of family and friends overseas and interstate makes for excellent postal presents come late December. Of course now we're in the final week before the big day all manner of Christmas gifts have started arriving from the far flung corners of the globe. Today's however was too good not too share, being this totally wigged out crochet poncho from Master Maxwell's Great Grandmother complete with effusive use of HML fave (yep people that's heavy on the sarcasm here) 'feathers' fancy yarn.
We love other peoples craft, especially inter-family craft but even Max thinks this one's as nutty as a fruitcake.


Christmas decorating tip of the day

tree huggers We do so love a Christmas tree here at HML, but we always feel a little guilty chopping down a perfectly good pine for a couple of weeks each year. Given this you can imagine how much we've been loving watching the progress of High Street fave In The Woods take on the Christmas window. Going for a vegetable garden of purple runner beans, sweet corn, tomatoes and chillies that started as seedlings in late November was truly inspired and shows just what you can do with a bucket of dirt and watering can.
Speaking of non-felling, we were also directed to this excellent wall mural tree idea courtesy of HML fave ikea hacker . This hand painted tree with ikea fabric leaves was just brilliant... We think it would also make a great Christmas tree, and one that doesn't involve untangling fairy lights and dead pine needles all over the floor, which of course is the downside of each yuletide festivus. Of course, that being said we are both going ahead with real lopped trees this year, because, well it's the interns first Christmas... nuff said.


Christmas decoration of the day

kipflers are doin' it for themselves

As we barrel towards the big day it's time to start wrapping and shipping. You all know the ladies of hml have a penchant for the potato print and this year is no different. At Ramona's the trusty brown paper and string are back with a red a green polka dot theme.
It's not the most original of wrapping ideas but who doesn't like a brown paper package tied up with string? With only 10 days to go and 7 presents still to make, things are getting frantic at headquarters - and you all laughed when we started making stuff in July! Problem is - once you start making gifts a voucher from Borders is just not going to impress - maybe next year everyone can get a cookbook instead (with a jar of home made lemon curd, a hand sewn apron and some embroidered teatowels of course...sigh). Somedays it's not so easy leading a handmadelife!


Christmas gift of the day

tuber tablewear
Beck has finally started getting the mass of Christmas presents made Hooray! (and yes she too continues in the third person at the moment but is sensing a shift and may actually own up to her own schtick as a new years resolution!) First up are two sets of printed napkins utilising our favourite heritage vegetable, for two super hip, well travelled families. We hope they fit in nicely with their 'international' decor - it's not so easy coming up with patterns that will successfully sit alongside pieces from Brooklyn to Burma... here's hoping they like them.


Christmas Gift of the Day

what's up pussycat?
many moons ago Beck gave Ramona this fantastic book by quilting doyenne Denyse Schmidt. Now Ramona (who continues to write these entries in the third person - v annoying for all of you ) aint much of a seamstress and so is yet to tackle one of the quilt projects from this luscious book
however the simple pattern for a The Three Faces of Steve was very appealing when choosing a present for her niece Alani. It was exciting to finally learn how all you toymakers make arms and legs magically fit inside the body - the arms on this one are a little wonky and the embroidery leaves a bit to be desired...
but ultimately steve- or in this case a Cat Called Denyse - turned out pretty sweet in the end!


Christmas Gift of the Day

As Ramona finished waxing this little turtle money box she had painstakingly painted for her nephew Kye, the fabulous Maggie B (R's mum) asked "why is this turtle so yellow?" - surely the question should be "why is he wearing a little red hat?"
Sleep deprivation has clearly taken a grip on the Barry household...


Decoration of the day

star power
We love a hand made tree decoration, especially one that doesn't break the bank, is super quick, endlessly customisable and can be made in front of the telly of an evening. So, when we saw this origami star on the zen crafting blog we said "HELLO! We have a Winner"

So simple you can get the whole family folding after dinner and have a tree full of decorations the next day. We're also mighty keen on this idea as it would work just as well with anything from newspaper to high falutin' handmade rag. Beck is particularly excited about this one, being a stickler for the handmade decoration she's really looking forward to making something as simple as this after last year's embroidered bird decorations, which looked fantastic but took an entire advent calendar to finish... besides they'll set off Ramona's handpainted circles beautifully.

Follow the excellent tutorial posted here and you could soon find yourself frantically folding on the tram, the office, even the queue at the post office! ( but don't get us started on that one, that's a whooooole other story).


Shows of the week

Now that we well and truly have the hang of the Baby Bjorns the ladies of HML with their sons in tow will be heading out into the world this week to catch some fresh art from around town. First up we'll be donig the Gertrude Street crawl to say hi to Pene and Abi, hassling Dan for the latest issue of Selvedge and popping into Lamington Drive to see the lovely work of Lilly Piri

Then we'll head into Flinders Lane to head up to Blindside to see another nutty group show titled B-Side. We don't often understand the artist statements (what does "in a post-medium age, the relocation or hybridization of one’s art practice can enable a re-interrogation of its conceptual underpinnings" actually mean??) but we are intrigued by the work of Ruth Fleishman - being big fans of bits of stuff.

If we can stand it and we aren't covered in baby gunk we'll trundle up to RMIT Gallery to see the Seimans Art award - just to check out what the kids are doing to get the big bucks these days.
Oh and we promised you some Christmas goodness. Don't think for a minute that we think up all of the projects on our own. We discovered this awesome blog that's connected to a fabric store based in Beaverton (!!) Oregon. Sew Mama Sew has generously provided an extensive list of homemade sewing projects - prepare to be overwhelmed! They've even gone to the trouble of sorting them into categories like Gifts for New Parents, Dads, Bookworms, Multi taskers, artists, cooks and sports fans. Remember too much christmas is not enough!

Lilly Piri The Finch and the Flower
until December 23rd
Lamington Drive 89 George Street Fitzroy
until December 13
Blindside Gallery Level 7 in the Nicholas Building
Siemens - RMIT fine Art Award
until December 13
RMIT Gallery up at Storey Hall - the funny green buliding.


Christmas Countdown

baby blue You may remember way back in September Ramona made some pink decorations for all the little girls in her world. Turns out there are quite a few boys too. So Maxwell, Thomas, Silas, Kye and Clancy are all getting blue ones - sorry to draw such a trad line between genders on the colour front but blue really was best for the elephant with the green and red legwarmers on.

Market of the week

Wish We Were There...

It's not that we don't love our families, or indeed a long hot silly season filled with seafood (Ramona) and salad (Beck) but...we've been harbouring a Brooklyn bound desire for some time now and even though this one's in Chicago (go Obama) we really couldn't imagine anywhere we'd rather be this weekend than here. So to all those US readers (you know who you are!) get on down to Pulaski Park and buy up big for us!!!


Christmas Gift of the Week

moyra part oneFor some weird reason Ramona has three Moyras to make gifts for this year - two Aunts (one on either side) and a good friend. All of which need to be posted hither and yon. So light presents are in the order of the day to make postage inexpensive (nothing worse than when the post costs more than the present - here a tip - never send jars of jam or nuts to Perth).
You may all remember the stencilled stool from August - yes this Christmas insanity has been going on for months! Well here is the same design on a cushion with the addition of some french knots in the petals. The other two Moyras...you'll have to wait a couple of days for those ones!

PS now there are only 20 days to go we'll be publishing a gift a day for you to see as well as point you in the right direction of some great blogs and websites that are really crafting it up for the season.
fa la la la la la la la la...


she made them herself

Card Carrying Crafters

Most of you will be familiar with Ramona's brilliant Words and Pictures stationary range (check out her new website if you haven't seen it), but not many of you will be aware that on the odd occasion Beck also likes to get busy with pen, ink, printer and paper. Inspired by her partner in craft crime she's whipped up her very own range of Christmas cards. A wee collection especially created for Craft Victoria's 'Red Christmas' (regular readers might recognise a certain Viking motif from a pair of birthday presents a couple of weeks back). She's pretty happy with the outcome, especially given they were knocked off between little naps and long feed times. Now she just has to come up with some presents to go with them...


Potential craft find of the week

it's ok to get shirty... every now and then

Every year around this time the folks Kick Gallery have themselves a Merry Little Christmas show featuring limited edition tees by some of our favourite arteests (get it 'ar-tee-sts' oh my we do crack ourselves up)... We love a 'pop-up shop' especially one which has extended business hours allowing summer night strollers, restaurant and bar hoppers and busy nine-to fivers to make a purchase 'after hours' or while waiting for their table at Pizza Mein Leib.

Anyways this is a really great spot to pick up a silly season bargain for that difficult to buy for teenager, super groovy friend, even your hip nanna or maybe just a little something for yourself . We encourage people to work on the gift buying credo "one for you, one for me" wherever possible -at least it means there's something under the tree you'll like come Christmas morning.

Fresh Prints 4 - Annual T-shirt Exhibition and Sale
Kick Gallery
239 High Street Northcote
November 25 – December 24
Tuesday-Friday 12 - 8pm & Saturday 12 - 5pm
see you there.


Show of the week

oh grow up!

This month we'll be attempting to get the offspring to cooperate long enough to get to Utopian Slumps to see the new group show Grow Wild. Not just because it has some of our absolute faves in there - the woody Dell Stewart, the squiggly Nathan Gray, the illustrative Neils Oetjen and the Queen of Craft Penelope Durston - but because we are intrigued by the statement "It's easy to forget the pleasure of the wild and the primal, especially given the place in the distant future we sometimes seem to have arrived at. The truly metamorphosing moments in life where we're confronted with wonder and sadness and need and desire are the times when the wild reappears in all its elemental glory". Top job peoples, we're already planning our uber hip opening outfits, just forgive us if they aint 'posset' free on the night.

Opens December 5 @
25 Easey St Collingwood Victoria 3066 Australia
Enter via side alley (how very secret squirrel)
Opening Hours Thursday to Saturday 12 - 6pm