good luck charming

Let me tell you the ladies of HML are no janey-come-latelies when it comes to David Neale. We wrote about him way back in 2006 and again in 2007, singing his praises and just generally going a little bit weak at the knees when we saw his work. The brooch below is one in my collection and it's one of my most treasured possessions and is based on a garden weed!

So of course for us his new show opening this week at Pieces of Eight is our highligt show of the year. What do we like about his jewellery then? He's always had a lightness of touch while at the same time being solemn in his appraisal of the natural world and its inherent spiritual connection. 


The show Love Letters opens tonight and runs through til the first day of spring at Pieces of Eight Gallery as part of the Craft Cubed Festival.
28 Russell Street 
Melbourne 3000



to market to market

Tonight is the second installment of the Craft to Consumer workshop series at Craft. This one is all about markets and will be chock full of hot tips and ideas to get you market ready (I know this because I just finished writing the worksheet). You will be in excellent hands with Craft Retail Manager the lovely Carmel McKie and Curator and Craft Hatch organiser pocket rocket Kim Brockett however hold onto your hats people because Hyper Colour Superstar Emily Green is also in the house talking up her own marketpertise and giving all the inside goss and the Melbourne Market Scene. There are only a couple of places left so snap to it!!! BECK

Tonight at Craft 6-7pm
31 Flinders Lane Melbourne
Bookings online or by phone on 03 9650 7775
$15 for members, $30 for regular peoples
find out more and book here



Things to do and see

Call us crazy but we quite like the Olympics. Not for the swelling of national pride that we find truly hideous, but for the crafting of costumes for the opening ceremony. So at 530 am Saturday morning (which to be honest is usually when our small peeps wake up) Beck and I will be bleary eyed in different corners of Northcote Melbourne Australia to see just how crazy it all is.

I'll be braving the bleak weather, family in tow, to troop around town to peer inside some favourite buildings. We are mostly looking forward to the Phillips Shirt Factory, the Mission to Seafarers, and the Victoria Mounted Police Branch (despite being terrified of horses, and quite frankly post-occupy police). Parliament House is also open so if we get a chance we'll pop in and voice an opinion or two! 

Sometimes the best open houses are shops Don't forget that Harvest Textiles shop will be open on Saturday for lots of neony spotty goodness. Also full of gorgeous winter product are our favorites: Cottage Industry, Edition X, 5 Burroughs and our beloved Craft Victoria

It would be great to tell you who will be on at this years carpark market on Sunday but we have no idea, the website tell you absolutely nothing - is this some new crazy marketing campaign? act mysterious and people will come just to figure it out? We can tell you it's on at fed square 10-5. it'll be windy, take a scarf. RAMONA



Many moons ago I was a great consumer of magazines. I am (affectionately) ribbed by my friends for having every copy of Martha Stewart Living since 1994 - but even that obsession waned with the closing of Borders bookstore and the purchase of an Ipad. I haven't bought a magazine since September 2011.  I now subscribe to the digital editions for the same amount it would cost for one copy. I guess this means I'm just consuming in a different way!
 I've recently discovered the lovely English magazine 'Making'. You can pick it up in local newsagent for around $15 a copy or purchase the digital edition for $7. It's aimed squarely at domestic crafters, comes out once a month, is beautifully photographed and quite inspiring. I have bookmarked 24 projects in the 10 issues I've downloaded so far. Nothing crazy, just nicely presented little nudges without the whole 'aren't we cool we craft!' element. I've been meaning to make the lavender hearts for our bedposts for ages now. Nothing original in that I know but a prompt was all I needed.

It won't be to everyone's taste, like I say it's for us gift making weekend crafters with added inspiration of interviews and insights from professional makers. It's very anglocentric (a whole edition dedicated to the jubilee - which I LOVED). It's a sweet magazine so I thought I'd give y'all a heads up. RAMONA



hard as nailz

Last week Ramona and I celebrated the opening of Harvest textiles new retail space Harvest Storeroom. Of course its awesome and filled with amazing stuff we want to fill our homes and outfit ourselves in - including a chevron unitard which I will be sporting all summer. We'll report more on the new shop tomorrow. Today is more about the hand than the hand made, and Lordy, we are SOOOOOO on board this one.

Now we both love a bit of nail polish, and have enjoyed watching the recent move towards neon, grunge, glitter, crackle and patterned manicures with interest if not actual engagement. But while sipping our champagne last Thursday night we watched a long queue of people get made over by gangster nail outfitters  the Super Rad Nail Sisters . In a collaborative stroke of genius they've translated some of harvest's signature prints from cloth to nail. Oh Boy. Until August 5 book in with Rohani and Rosalie and get your very own set of super bright teardrops, leopard print, polka dot or chevrons. Can't decide which - hey get a digit done in each!  Read more about it here and get in quick. BECK




Finding reasons to attend big design trade fairs can be tricky for the domestic and the professional crafter alike. In recent years we've seen these events, at least in part, have set out to celebrate the handmade by inviting craft in and letting it show off. This years DMT is no exception. Of course being so closely linked to CV (Beck is the sector development manager and I'm on the board) means we are biased in our opinion. We do urge those that can to check it out this weekend for inspiration, for shopping, and to support the makers being showcased as part of the Craft Victoria contingency

the gently unfurling sneak

Anika of The Gently Unfurling Sneak has a completely unique way of looking at the world. I  bought this gorgeous 'sneak'silk scarf for my daughter's 18th birthday and she adores it

mingus designs
We are crazy for the designs of textile and stationary designer Dear Songsuwan and hope that the blindfolded bear makes and appearance on the stand.

Adriana Christianson

It will be refreshing to see some old school ceramics in the design heartland! Adriana Christianson's work has real charm and I'm hoping one of these birds will fly home with me.

We are pretty sure Emily Green is now officially a craft superstar. Hopefully she will sign autographs for fans.

Sandra Eterovic
We can confirm that Sandra Eterovic is a genius. We are hoping some of it rubs off on us!

Gaye Abandon
Gaye Naismith of Gaye Abandon designs will keep you toasty with her warm and woollies. It can get drafty in the royal exhibition building.

The Hungry Workshop

Letterpress deign duo The Hungry Workshop are just round the corner from my house. Their impressive Heidelberg press can be seen through the storefront window and that bit of old school ingenuity is beguiling to say the least.


Cindy Lee Davies of  Lightly is the perfect example of where craft and design meet, shake hands, exchange ideas and produce lovely well crafted design pieces. does that make sense?

How impressed are we with Wovenspoke? Beautiful woven designs incorporating reflective thread for safety on your bike/scooter/feet? love!

Dani M Designs
We wont deny it, we have a crush on Dani M and her designs. Like lollies! like the shards that built supermans house! Lots of super triangle goodness too.

Victoria Mason

Any jeweller who makes a silver granny square is ok by the ladies of handmadelife. Noice work Victoria Mason

Lots to see, lots of craft. See you there? 
Design Made Trade is on this weekend at the Royal Exhibition Building Carlton. $10 entry fee open 10-5



The tag line for this years Design Made Trade event here in Melbourne is 'Meet the Designers Behind The Craft' which we couldn't be more thrilled about. Beck and her amazeballs gang of firecrackers at Craft Victoria blew everyone out of the water with last years studios and are sure to wow us all again this weekend.

A few years back we were all bemoaning the death of craft by the cruel robotic arm of design but what came to pass was the opposite - Craft reigns as more respect is given to the bespoke and handmade. Craft Victoria's strong presence there is impressive to say the least  - but we'll tell you more about that tomorrow.

One of the things I love about DMT is the chance to discover and meet new makers from outside Victoria. Melbourne is such a Craft intense environment we can sometimes forget there are extraordinary makers all over the country who are producing beautiful work. We hope Canberra silversmith Alison Jackson is bringing some of her extraordinary hollow ware for us to drool over.

We'll also be really interested in seeing what the Jam Factory (Adelaide) bring over to showcase. Beck and I went on an Adelaide jaunt many moons ago and we were amazed at the variety and quality of work in SA. 

Of course we all know what a strong reputation for craft the 'Design Island' of Tasmania has. I just have my fingers crossed they bring a crate of ceramics by the amazing Mairi Ward - I love her work and am in desperate need of a new mug (well no not really but you know what I mean) 

Locally I am most interested to see the work of Thread Architecture. Designer Amber Lucy is doing things with neon rope, which I know is just 'so hot right now' but how good is the wrapped bentwood chair?

Design Made Trade is open to the public this weekend 10-5 at the Royal Exhibition Buildings. More on the Craft Victoria invasion tomorrow! RAMONA



It's not often you get to meet a superstar of craft, let alone interview them on live radio! I'm very excited because this morning at around 1030 am I'll be speaking to living legend, fashion designer and artist Linda Jackson on the Grapevine RRR 102.7

If you are a child of the 70's/80's like us you'll instantly recognize Jackson's synonymous style that was so prevalent in that era. Her collaboration with the equally amazing Jenny Kee was groundbreaking for Australian fashion. For those of you much younger than us let's just say that without Linda Jackson there would be no Romance is Born.

Jackson is currently the subject of an amazing retrospective at the NGV and is holding a workshop as part of the RMIT textiles Commune Sustainability Day. I must admit to being very excited! Listen in to see how well I succeed if I can contain my excitement. RAMONA



masterclass for beginners

Jeweller and artist Roseanne Bartley embodies the maker as thinker. She engages with the world in a very personal way but is often found inviting people into this sphere of thinking to share, collaborate and learn together (take her 'human necklace' above as a prime example).

As part of the incredible Unexpected Pleasures exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria  (in which Bartley is included) this talented and generous artist is giving a four hour workshop (July 22) exploring the possibilities of creating something beautiful out of humble materials. It's more than an environmental or social message that's on offer, it gives participants a way of connecting with their environment that will bring it into a new light.

Workshop is only $50 for non members, is designed for beginners and is filling up fast quick sticks call the NGV on 8662 1555 to nab a spot. RAMONA.



in stitches 
I was hoping to show you my friend ms J's birthday present today (as today is her actual birthday!) but I had a french seam incident that I am yet to recover from or unpick so I thought I'd show you what she bought me for Christmas instead. 
'Hoopla: the art of unexpected embroidery' is an inspirational craft book that combines projects, artist profiles, cultural reflection and contemporary analysis that is rare in this age of jolly hockey sticks craft writing. I've been working my way through it for the past month and I absolutely love it. 
clockwise top left: Eliot M Henning, Jo Safferton
Alexandra Walters, Claire Platt
When I say I've been working through it, I haven't tried any of the projects. It's so well researched and written it works perfectly as a good read. Author Leanne Prain was the co-author of Yarn Bombing (another great craft culture tome) and really takes the time to paint what feels like a really detailed picture of the current state of play in embroidery land.
Jacque Lynn Davis
At 400 pages this is no small book but it still muscled its way onto my bedside table - where it still is! Thanks Ms J - your birthday present is going to be a couple of days late...RAMONA
PS dear reader, you can buy this book at READINGS and ARTISAN BOOKS



family portrait
I've always liked those industrial letters you can buy in fancy schmancy shops but they usually cost a bomb. I picked up these papier mache ones for $2 each and spent a very messy and pleasant evening decorating them. One for each member of the household.
I tried to pick papers that matched the personalities but really i didn't over think it. I just wanted an addition to our once gloomy hall. With no window and no power points on one side it makes for a very dark space. hence the 32 framed scrap-booked photographs you can glimpse in the photo below.
now I just have to work out how to mount these things on the wall. instant craft gratification! RAMONA



Something borrowed something new
Firstly Zakka Style. I'm a big fan of Zakka Sewing so when I saw this in my Kindle recommendations I quickly grabbed it. Now I have to tell you that reading a craft book on an ipad is not easy and not fun. But it is a lot cheaper than ordering the hardcopy. So cheap in fact I have used it as a 'try before you buy service'. I'm definitely going to buy this one in its real (not just virtual) format. As for Simple Sewing, well Beck I know I promised to return it to you...and I will sooooooon
Zakka Style: I'm working on my first big patchwork project and its a little overwhelming so I wanted to make a couple of little things for myself to roadtest potential Christmas presents and to just have a bit of practice at quilting and piecing. I found the instructions for he little lined pencil holder incredibly difficult to follow.  I kept reading them out loud to make sure it would come together alright. I love love love this project and I'm thinking how nice giving one of these away would be with a nice pencil or two and a little notebook.
Simple Sewing: I was pretty happy with the way the potholder turned out. I increased the size a little because small potholders I find are completely useless for taking big hot trays out of the oven. I did both of these projects in about 40 minutes which was an ideal evening craft time. I've been buying remnants of beautiful fabric to plump up the stash, perfect for these little projects.  RAMONA



Colour Your World

The ladies of HML are sad. Or rather they have SAD - seasonal affective disorder. We are just so over it. The older we get the more we envision moving to Hervey Bay QLD or Carnarvon WA to swan around in wrap skirts and singlets for 9 months of the year. We may save that for old age. In the meantime our little busy bee lives are here in gloomy old Melbourne. If you are a fan on the chill wind you'll love the little drawings on show at Handheld Gallery by Paul Compton. A little bit Edward Gorey a little bit Victoria Roberts - I love them!
What we really want right now are rainbows, preferably double ones to really lighten the psychological load. We love Jessie Tucker's amazeballs macrame so we are pretty excited to see her pretty paisley watercolor explosion at C3 Gallery.  We'll be having a cup of hot chocolate at the convent cafe afterwards.
We'll be dressing up Friday night to go see the new group show Aesthetics Room at the lovely Mr Kitly gallery. Curated by the pocket rocket Kim Brockett this is gonna be super toasty. 
If I had the cash I would definitely buy one of these fantastic inkjet, vinyl, photograph,acrylic shiny shiny pieces by Richard Blackwell. If you get the chance to wander down Flinders Lane - or as we call it 'the freakin wind tunnel'  - to Flinders Lane Gallery this week I urge you to pop in because they are actually kind of breathtaking. Bask in their glow!
For a jewellery friends out there - have you enrolled in this masterclass at North City 4 yet? I'm so tempted to ask if I can just sit in the corner and observe because I am a HUGE Manon Van Kouswijk - I'm pretty sure she is a genius. Id have to bring a lap rug of course, and my knitting, and a beanie, and a scarf, and some fingerless gloves, and some explorer socks... and my sunny disposition! RAMONA