Wednesday 15 December 2010

Celebrating our tree change with Mirka

Front cover of Mirka Mora Exhibition Catalogue
Yesterday - when I was supposed to be attending to the fifty million things I have on my 'to do' list - I took myself off to Heide Museum of Modern Art to spend the afternoon with my husband and NO children!

               The reason was twofold - one was to visit the Mirka Mora exhibition that is currently on there and two was to celebrate our impending tree change!
Untitled (Big Bad Wolf) c.1975 mixed media 46cm x 80cm
Mirka in her studio with soft toys - photographer Rennie Ellis

You see - the next chapter of my creative life is about to begin in the rather large and charming regional city of Ballarat. My husband Sam and I have bought a lovely old Victorian house (built 1885) and shop where I will have my working studio and eventually a sweet little shop where I can sell my work and the work from others that I love and also a vintage haberdashery of sorts with lots of gorgeous vintage fabrics, buttons and trims and more modern things like craft kits and wool felt supplies.

We arrived at Heide at 2pm - just in time for a wonderful guided tour of the exhibition which brings together a selection of paintings, works on paper and soft sculptures (these were without a doubt my favourite part) that covers a thirty year friendship Mirka shared with John and Sunday Reed (the founders of Heide).

I have blogged before about Mirka Mora and my LOVE of her whimsical colourful style of work - what I hadn't ever fully appreciated or in fact seen up close were her soft toys. Mirka hand paints her design for each unique and individual toy on to canvas and then she cuts them out, sews them up and stuffs them. They are the most wonderfully magical creations – really really special and it seems that she has been creating them for at least 40 years – so there must be an amazing array of them that have found their way into the homes of Mirka fans and I would imagine many that have stayed close to Mirka in her studio.

All inspired – I am gearing up now to pack up my collections and to make that long awaited tree change. Nervous, excited and slightly overwhelmed I am looking forward to the day when I can finally say – the shop is open – come and play!
The window Mirka painted at her exhibition at Heide Museum of Modern Art

Mirka now with some of her amazing creations

Saturday 11 December 2010

Magazine Junky

  I have a confession to make. I am utterly and completely addicted to magazines. The pile by my bed grows each week with my regular magazine subscriptions and the ones I have collected in my travels from Mag Nation, Borders and various newsagents.

The thing is - I just LOVE reading them. When I get the chance to that is. Little snippets of inspiration, new sewing techniques or crafty tips and tricks, ideas for decorating the house, following trends on colour and design and just generally keeping track of themes in what people are buying, creating and loving.

A few favourites of late are the brand new Anthology magazine, definitely SPACES - I am totally loving that, the french Marie Claire Ideas and also a big LOVE for me is Selvedge.

At the moment I have about 20 magazines waiting to be read on my bedside table....a sign of the times perhaps? You could say I am somewhat time poor at the moment and unfortunately by the time my head actually gets anywhere near my pillow I am already asleep standing up, talk about living life to the dream at the moment is to find one whole day where I could just lounge about and stay in bed drinking cups of tea, eating delicious morsels of yummy things and reading magazines for a whole day - uninterrupted! Actually - that would be my idea of the best Christmas present ever at the moment. Perhaps if I am really good all year - I may actually get this gift next Christmas in 2011. For now I'll just have to settle for my magazine fix - in little hits here and there in between my here and now.

Monday 6 December 2010


Off we go.....8am flight......
Arriving at Finders Keepers in Sydney

On Saturday in the name of ‘living life to the fullest’ – I jumped on a plane (with Mum by my side) to set off on a little day trip adventure to Sydney. The itinerary was pretty simple – straight to Finders Keepers (FK) to visit my crafty pals, check out the amazing local talent and generally have a good old sticky beak at the original FK and its amazing Carriageworks venue. Then off to EXTINCT the Dinosaur Designs outlet store where it is best to book an appointment so you get their FULL VIP attention and then off to have a meander around the old school craft market on Oxford Street – Paddington Market.

Well I certainly wasn’t disappointed – the FK venue was amazing, the crowds meant I had to be a savvy shopper and jostle to get a look in and the general vibe was definitely one of the who’s who in the cool craft world. 

Thankfully unlike my visit to the Melbourne FK – I knew less stallholders so I was able to do a bit more shopping and a bit less talking! You know me – I like a good chinwag and if you get me going – well the whole day just slips away…..

Highlights from FK were meeting up with the lovely Lyndsay from White Pixels (and Made by White & Candy Stripe Cloud) – who is my number one star when it has anything to do with my website and graphics and her equally lovely sister Kelly who designs and makes the sweetest range of plates and products under the name Storybook Rabbit. Another super highlight was meeting the fabulously talented Cat from Cat Rabbit. Her work is AMAZING and wonderfully cool – these 3 girls definitely make my heart sing!

Other highlights from FK was seeing Christina and her stand Made590, the tissue paper workshops, music and general vibe. You could definitely make a day of it at FK with the line-up of music, great food and general atmosphere. Hopefully you will see me as a stall holder at the next Melbourne one in 2011.

Time for us though, was of the essence – so off we went to EXTINCT for a serious spot of shopping. If you are a Dinosaur Designs fan like me – you will be in heaven at this place and I can highly recommend paying a visit there if you are ever in Sydney. Thankfully the two girls on duty in the store were able to pander to my ever changing decisions on what I was actually going to buy! Boy – was it hard…when you see it all piled up like that – you just want a bit of everything. At the end of the day though – I realised that there is only so much jewellery a girl can wear – and I do have a LOT – so in the name of interior decorating I managed to narrow it down to three lovely vessels to adorn the mantle place in the living room. I am still recovering from the fact that I managed to purchase three items all at once from Dinosaur Designs and not just one as would normally be the case!

After all this shopping – a spot of lunch was in order – so into another cab and off to Oxford St it was. The rest of the afternoon was spent meandering around Paddington Market (the original market at which Dinosaur Designs started at) and a few treasures were discovered amongst the mix.

The day was over before we knew it and we were back at the airport and on our way home. Sydney is so easy to get around for a day like this because the airport is so close to all the action and everything is close by to each other…..a little nanna nap on the plane and we were home sweet home.

Lyndsay from Made by White, White Pixels and Candy Stripe Cloud
- the girl of many talents and impeccably good taste
Lyndsay's Apple Shadow box - too cute!

Kelly from Storybook Rabbit
Storybook Rabbit - it was so hard to decide what to buy!

Made590 - love the giant rabbit head

Cat Rabbit selling her amazing creations

Giant tissue paper pom poms
How to make a giant tissue paper pom pom workshop

Mum entering Dinosaur Designs heaven
Dinosaur bangles
More Dinosaur bangles....

Dinosaur bowls

The lovely and ever so helpful Dinosaur girls
FINALLY - my purchase :-)