Busy signal. 

It feels like a month since we last posted, even though its only a week. But what a week. Relative emergencies; feverish, teething babies; partners away on tour; work at home; work at the office; work at the creche; WORK. So we're taking a collective deep breath today and letting you know that while we have been away from the computer we have been busy with life. Still the rest of the world doesn't stop just because our diaries are full and people have been just as busy with far more interesting things... the results of which are all on display for your enjoyment and perusal this week. So here's our shortlist of places to be, things to see and people to meet.

North City 4 Open the Door - those listening in to our radio spot a couple of weeks back would have heard us wax lyrical about this sensational new space run by some of our favorite makers and ladies. Finally the roller door reveal takes place this Friday and it will definetely be one of the hottest spots in town come 6pm autumn weather or not. Honestly if we start telling you how awesome this place and these people are again they may think we're stalking them. So just go here or here and read about it for yourselves. This is a MUST PEOPLE.

Platform March Exhibitions Launch - for commuters on their way home instead of heading to North City 4 on Friday evening is the launch of the new round of shows at Platform. This month looks like another great collection of works in three new exhibitions - although truth be told they had us Lonely Hearts.Always worth a look (as well as a coffee) that Degraves underpass proves that you really don't need to make a special trip to a high falutin' gallery to see contemporary art.

Rooftop Art Space - now that we're on board this outdoor space we keep seeing interesting new shows popping up. The latest show The Seam - Together looks brilliant, woven, sewn, stretched and reinvented textiles UH HUH! We especially like how the Rooftop have turned the installation process on its head and make it a public performance as much a part of exhibition as the finished product. Check out their documenting of the install here Props People!

Homemakers Market - just when you thought Melbourne couldn't house another super cool art/craft/design market up pops this one complete with a heady mix of talent curated by the terminally hip Thousands crew as part of the month long Richmond Weekender event in the old Channel 9 TV studios. So even though we are self confessed uber dags we are also TV tragics; so we'll be making a pilgrimage come Saturday (babysitters permitting) to chew the fat and work the wallet in the hope of snapping up some serious quality.

Artist Talks at CV - for those that want to continue with the creatives on Saturday Craft Victoria is holding it's artist talks for the current round of exhibitions at 2pm (which by our estimation would be just enough time to polish off lunch at Cumulus were we not to have emptied our wallets earlier.) With such fabulously diverse shows this event should provide a fascinating insight into not just these makers as individual practitioners but the current state of current contemporary craft. BECK


number one of many shows of this week

curiouser and curiouser
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea 2011, photo Natalia Milosz-Piekarska.
First stop of this weeks overload of good stuff to see is one for the Sydneysiders. Melbourne native Natalia Milosz-Piekarska has had us entranced since we first saw her graduate show at 45 Downstairs nearly five years ago. Since then we have watched from the wings as she has developed into one of the hottest jewellery and object makers in not only Australia but dang it let's say the world!

Morsel Ring, 2011. Photo Natalia Milosz-Piekarska
While its true that her major research and conceptual framing has revolved around animist notions of the object as talisman; its her amazing eye for color, use of media from everyday to extraordinary and the references in form and detail to foodstuffs including mushrooms, sorbet and caviar that set our hearts aflutter. Honestly who wouldn't want to wear a ring that looks like its just come out of the kitchen at Noma? 

This latest showcase exhibition in Gaffa's new shop space "The Curio" features drawings, retail and exhibition works and is only on for two weeks. If you're either living or visiting our prettiest city then make sure you hop to it - alternately locals looking for a closer dose can see (and purchase) selections of Natalia's work in e.g.etal, Pieces of Eight, Alice Euphemia, Craft Victoria . She also has a great blogBECK

GAFFA 281 Clarence Street, Sydney, NSW 2000, 
Mon-Fri: 10-6pm, Sat: 11-5pm.


show of the week

babes in toyland

You know how much we love a co-lab, and Toytown Tales (opening tonight at Outre) is just about the perfect example of 'craftist' collaboration. Painter Martin Harris and toymaker Jess McCaughey are both Melbourne artisans with cult followings - Harris for his trippily nostalgic, candy-coloured odes to childhood and McCaughey for her brilliant bears and exquisite counter-cute crochet.

HOW AND WHY, Martin Harris
WALTER, Jess McCaughey

In this, the first Outre showcase for 2012, Harris will be populating his paintings with McCaughey's characters, and in turn McCaughey will be bringing some of Harris painted people off the canvas and into arugami awesomeness. Brilliant, cannot wait to see this one. BECK


Gift of the week

Let me call you sweet heart
We don't usually do 'romance' as such at ours, we're more likely to express our affection by wearily making each other a beverage at sparrows whatsit as we attempt to attend to the small people making havoc around the house. It's not that we don't like it, just that it's not our natural habitat. Truth be told I'm always a bit jealous of Ramona's ease with the romantic gesture. So imagine my surprise when I sent a link to a special Rob Ryan Valentines limited edition print to the in house architect and promptly received a "you know we should buy this for ourselves to make up for all the valentines and anniversary dinners we haven't had". GOBSMACKED. So next thing you know a box from St. Jude's prints arrives all the way from Merry England and inside is this. Most amazingly perfect sentiment for two shy and not overly demonstrative but still incredibly in love people EVER. What's even better is that Mr. Ryan made three versions of the print so fellas who like fellas and ladies who like ladies were not left out. Take note Abbot and Gillard, would that you also be so inclusive. BECK

Project of the week

You make me happy when sky are grey...

This is my handmade valentines day card/gift/project. these frames are at Ikea for $3 and fantastically light weight. They are terrific for collage projects, framing kids art and in my case going completely overboard decorating and framing photos. I've done 6 of these so far and I love them. my beloved is pretty much Handmade Ryan Gosling but real. He's made emergency trips to spotlight for paper mâché reindeer, driven to four different art riot stores for glue sticks and has helped me set up market stands of fabric flower wreathes. He brings me breakfast in bed on Sunday morning so I can watch YouTube clips of papercrafting techniques, drives across town to find floral tape. He'll even help me hang my valentine collage up. He's tops.
Ps check out the glorious gosling tumblr here . RAMONA


Chat of the week

We are baaaack listeners!

This morning the ladies of HML we be on RRR talking up the new jewelers/object makers studio/workshop/community/organization North City Four. I dreamt last night I had a studio there, so clearly it's on everyone's minds!

We'll be letting you know about the Doily craft exhibition at gleaners Inc which looks amazing, inclusive and joyous. The doily has been a celebrated craft object for some time now so it will be interesting to see some new interpretations of this much loved material.

We'll also confess our deep love for all things Stampel. Designer Andrea Shaw has reintroduced Melbourne to a love of macramé and turned the up cycling of wooden offcuts into great design.

We'll let you know about what is happening at Craft Victoria including the super cool garden craft competition they have running. So it'll be a jam packed show as per usual. Listen in on 102.7 at around 1030am - we'll be there with bells on!



best laid plans

OK so Ramona only got one of her four proposed projects done in January. And she got it done beautifully. I am in awe. As for my own efforts... well let's just say my intentions were a lot better than the actual outcome and perhaps leave it at that. Except I can't because having proposed the idea of the monthly Craft Book Challenge I really should be bringing more to the party but there you have it. I promise to do better this month. And no that's not what I made in January above, its's the brilliant op-shop find that initially inspired my January selection of gingham cross stitch craft. After I searching through my collection of embroidery books and found The Colour Book of EMBROIDERY by Jane Simpson...

Which contained the instructions to create this fabulous little number (the apron not the chair, although I like the chair too) Which I then thought I might whip up for Maxwell to do his Friday baking in. And before you ask yes pink is his favourite colour and yes he does like to wear an apron and yes we usually bake something on a Friday. We like a routine.

However as previously mentioned life intervened. Leaving me with these little cross stitch coasters as my humble offering to the craft book gods -  and a little handmade gesture to add to my brother's breakfast set birthday gift package.

I guess I should be happy I actually got anything made given the circumstances, and I will admit that now that I'm sitting here looking at them they are making me smile. Going through the process has reminded me how much I enjoyed making stuff, and how quick it is to do this kind of embellishment. So maybe I can file this away in the "to be continued" pile, and get him a matching tablecloth or runner finished in time for Christmas. BECK


Craft Book Challenge

January Laziness
Where does the time go? I only got one of the four projects done for January! I was flummoxed by the difficulty of finding a round cushion insert and that froze me like a deer in the headlights. I did get these coat hanger coats done and I absolutely love them. They were very fast and look gorgeous in the cupboard. How did you all go with your craft book projects? RAMONA


Show of The Week

Kitsch kool

Don't know why but the ladies of HML haven't explored the fabulous Lord Coconut mens jewelry emporium in Carlow House but that will change this week as there are lots of HML faves in their latest exhibition 'Kitsch Australiana'

We are looking for new things to be said about our kitsch heritage. We love how Liz Jones remembered to add Tasmania to her her linoleum Australia brooches. When using salvaged material you are instantly archiving social history. We likey! To see more of Liz's work go here

The exhibition ends on Feb 11 and you can find it at Lord Coconut level 4, Carlow House, 289 Flinders Lane, Melbs. RAMONA


Want of the week

Two of our favorite swedish artist/designer/craftists Elisabeth Dunker and Anna Backlund have recently been in Tunisia (lucky buggers) where they were invited to build a new brand (RYM) for a Tunisian company and design its first collection. Given free range it's clearly a dream job for two incredibly talented ladies. To say that we're excited to see what they come up with is an understatement. We love their work. They've decided to include porcelain, carpets, fouts, chairs, olive wood and recycled kelimkuddar in the first collection. Which pretty much covers everything. Launching in early February Elisabeth has given us a sneak peak at some of the ceramics on her Fine Little Day blog. HOLY MOTHER. GENIUS. 

I love that they've decided to let people mix and match the pieces because I hate matchy matchy tableware, and that oak leaf teapot is completely brilliant - still my beating wallet! Granted these are just samples but clearly if they are any indication of what's to follow in the rest of the range I'd best start saving because I can see a major interior overhaul coming on. BECK


Mini Memento of the Week

Sentimental sap
Regular hml readers may remember that last year I won tickets to a pick and eat lunch at Heide Museum of Modern Art. You can read about it here

I made a crazy little mini journal this week as a memento of a really lovely day. It's interesting in this era of digital photography how special it feel to actually print photos. I may go a wee bit over the top in my presentation and preservation of them!

I am still madly in love with my gigantic wood grain stamp as you can see. I know this is a totally cheesy project and I debated even putting it here but memory keeping has always been a big part of leading a handmadelife. A little bit of sentimentality never hurt anyone in small doses! RAMONA


Wreath of the Month

You know I love valentines day, I always have. I don't care about how commercial it is or how it's 'so american'. In fact I love how the Americans celebrate it with full gusto, giving cards and gifts to everyone they love, like, share school desks and cubicles with. We've limited ourselves to our direct partners which means there are a fair few singletons who are left out of the celebration which I think is a terrible shame and the source of cynicism about this particularly holiday. I've made a wreath to celebrate the month and secretly plan to tell all closest and dearest to me that I love them in various ways - most of which involve baking, flowers, glitter and crepe paper. RAMONA