On the Desk

 
 
Another week is zipping by but I took a couple of snaps earlier in the week of what is on my desk right now. I did start the year with a tidy work space, but it didn't last long. I hope this is a sign that something new will be finished soon. Okay, heads down, back to work.
 

Prints in Situ

 
I have just been sorting some photos into folders when I came across this image that I intended to share last year. Often when I sell a print or piece of jewellery, I like to imagine where it is going and how it will be used or framed or worn. So it is especially lovely when someone takes the time to send me photos of them wearing the piece or how they have arranged their prints.
This image was sent to me last year from a lovely customer in Japan (who is actually an old friend of my husbands) He was decorating his apartment and chose these three prints from me which he framed himself. I love the simplicity of the photo just showing us a little of the curtain and his bicycle. All credit goes to him for the photography and is used here with his permission.

Holidays and New Year

 
Happy New Year! Holidays are always such a blurr once they are finished and it is hard to remember how two weeks were filled up so quickly. Apart from the usual Christmas and New Year festivities and gatherings, we spent most of our time at home together as a family which was nice for a change.
I had some time to finish some books I started last Christmas, watch a couple of DVDs (which had been ordered throughout the year but remained unopened) and generally spend some time lounging around which is usually unthought of.

There was of course lots of eating and indulgent breakfasts with my regular coffee sitting next to pieces of fruit cake, contreau laced apricot balls or chocolate croissants; sometimes it was all three! It is lucky that Christmas is only once a year! I also spent some time cleaning out the garage and going through boxes of things that havent been touched since me moved house in March last year. I decided that it was time to take out those old tea cups that belonged to my Grandmother and use them when I have a chance. Life is too short to keep things wrapped up in tissue paper. I also found my reproduction Clarice Cliff plate which I bought while on a tour in England. One of my New Years resolutions is to get these things out so I can look at them and also frame a bunch of prints that are hidden away. I have also been contemplating if the piece of Liberty fabric I bought almost four years ago, is the perfect piece of fabric to re-upholster an old chair that belonged to my great-Nanny. I have been thinking about whether I would prefer a more modern piece of fabric as I am sure this one will never match anything in this house but when I put it on the chair for the first time, I think it is a good match. Something else to put on the list of things to do this year!

The long sunny days have been great for evening swims, evening bike rides (or walks for me as the kids learn to ride their new bikes) and Summer foods with lots of yummy fruit and salads. I dont feel quite ready to tackle the new year yet but I know it is already whizzing past me and it is time to put my skates on. I have much to do in 2013 and i hope to share that with you here.....

Relax and Shop at Ethels'

 


Now we are a week into December, the words 'relax' and 'shop' are unlikely to be contained in the same sentence; but there is a place where I promise you can do just this. You might think I am talking about shopping online from the comfort of your lounge with i-pad perched on knee, but with cut off dates for shipping fast approaching and the worry of lost or slow pa
rcels, this could hardly be called 'relaxing'. I feel the silliness of the season already as my blood pressure rises in car parks as fast and as high as the parking fees as well! Gone without warning is the somewhat reasonable "three hours for $6" parking in some city carparks. I think I physically choked on the $15 I was charged for a couple of hours the other day.

 
But then there is "E" for Ethel. Tucked away under the vines in Melbourne Street, North Adelaide, it offers a little haven where you can sit with a cuppa and a bite to eat while you admire the many colourful creations that adorn the walls and thoughtful displays. You will probably only need to circle the block once to find a free 2 hour park and then once you turn the corner under the vines you will be met with a warm glow inviting you down to the entrance.

Once inside, the glow of the little lights around the shop, the friendly smile that greets you at the counter and the homely tables and chairs will make you feel relaxed and take you away from the noise and rush of the outside. It is filled with many sustainable and Australian products and many works from local Adelaide artists so you will not only find unique gifts but you can feel confident that you are supporting local small business too. I will leave you with a few more snaps I took the other week when I was doing a little relaxing and Christmas shopping myself. This was one of my
first adventures out with my new camera so the shots aren't perfect but will hopefully give you an idea of what you will find inside.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Urban Cow Studio!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I popped into Urban Cow Studio last week and took a few snaps that i thought I would share with you here. It is full to the brim with so many colourful goodies and really is a place where there is something for everyone! I have seen a few posts on facebook recently encourging people to support local business this Christmas and buy handmade items. For those of you in Adelaide, it is nice to know that Urban Cow is not only full of handmade treasures but handmade treasures made by local Adelaide artists. The lovely people At Urban Cow have also kindly given a home to a few of my prints and handmade cards but I forgot to photograph those as there were so many distractions! So if you are Christmas shopping in the city, keep walking down the Mall towards Rundle St and pop around the corner to Frome St. Be sure to look up and down and all around in this space so you don't miss any of the delights!

Back!


Well, it's been a long break from the blog once again. Never intentional but perhaps a natural hibernation of sorts. I know this often happens for lots of bloggers; for others it often happens that they are busy doing so many new things they just can't fit it in anymore but for me, i really can't tell you where the time has gone or exactly what i have done with it.

I will start with the excuse that we went back to Japan for two weeks in Winter. I did gather a few snaps on my phone while we were away that I had intended to post here but it all seems distant now and a bit irrelevant. I have really just had little to say for a while and what i did feel like sharing seemed to fit comfortably into a one sentence, one poor photo post on my facebook page. Whole paragraphs felt impossible and the time to download a real photo from a real camera is just time I didn't want to spend in that way. Realising how difficult it is to maintain a blog makes me appreciate even more the wonderful blogs I follow who post almost daily and always with original images.

As I have probably reiterated many times in this space, I am not a photographer. Memories of university photography assignments still fill me with negative emotion and while I love looking at good photos, taking them is entirely another issue. But in the last week, I have acquired a new camera and I have had fun snapping away at anything and everything. Hence the photo of the Camper shoe party above. Sometimes it is good to force yourself to work with different tools to see things in new ways. Looking at all our shoes lined up by the front door (since we follow the Japanese tradition of wearing no shoes in the house) I got to thinking how you can probably learn a lot about someone just by looking at their shoes; how many, what kind, old or new, high or low, expensive or cheap? Wonder what my shoes say about me? It seems it might be a future theme for me to think about....

Green Tea and Green Snakes!



Winter will officially be declared here next week when we turn the calendar to June but already the kettle in our house is being boiled more frequently and I find my day being divided by cups of green tea as the cool air has already swished its way into the house. While my morning always starts with coffee, the rest of my day is nicely segmented by the cups of tea I have been consuming; morning tea, a cup with lunch, afternoon tea after picking up my eldest poppet from kindy and then the cup at the end of the day when the little ones are finally settled in their beds fast asleep. It is such a lovely ritual, i can barely remember how I survived cold weather before I drank tea!

I have been busy working away in the evenings but not on my creative pursuits so I dont have anything new to reveal here just yet. Instead I will share my latest purchase from etsy: our lovely new door snake! We have a very draughty door in our new office space which just had to be stopped. The no-longer-used baby wraps were doing a good job rolled up on the floor but werent particularly a good look so  of course I headed to etsy to see what I could find.

And here it it! a lovely green and white stripe door snake made by Christine at Ogsplosh. Christine has such a good range of colours and patterns it was difficult to choose just one but I finally chose this one which is probably my most favourite shade of green! It is doing the job nicely and looks so much better than my previous solution! I know it is hardly cold here compared with northern hemisphere standards but I still seem to feel it and am preparing to get through the next few months. Lucky for us we will be spending two weeks of our Winter in Japan's Summer! It has been over 3 years now since I have been back to Japan and I am so excited about all the things we are going to do there and of course all the good food we will get to eat too

Well my last cup of tea for the day is finished and now ittime to catch some sleep......


Photograph used with permission from Christime at Ogsplosh

Catching Up



The wind blew in from the front of the house and out the open back door. And there I stood in the empty shell - no longer my home anymore. We had moved our things out already but I was doing the final clean before handing the keys over. We had lots of happy memories in that house. It is where our daughter turned one and took her first steps; where we planted carrot seeds in the vegetable patch and watched them grow and finally pick them. Almost two years we lived there and yet in the end when it is all empty and clean, it is so easy to walk away without sentiment.

So the last month has been busy and exhausting in many ways. They always say moving house is one of the most stressful things you can do and I have to kind of agree. There is always a few hassles along the way and one of the most challenging was living without internet for 3 weeks while we sorted out and eventually changed providers. I had lost my constant in life and access to all my daily blogs I read. Since I rarely watch the news on tv, I was also a bit lost as to what was happening in the world and even what the weather was supposed to be.

But now things are slowly getting back to normal and we are getting organized again. The day after we moved, I did manage to make it to the Whitmore Square Arts Fair and I am so glad I did. It was a perfect day with lots of enthusiastic customers. I barely had time to stop all day so I just took a couple of very quick snaps on my phone when I had a chance. The thing I was most pleased about was being able to sell several prints and cards as well as jewellery which is usually the most popular thing. I need to look ahead now to see what the next event will be!

Whitmore Square Arts Fair



Hello again! It's been a while. I would like to tell you that I have been so busy preparing for this Sunday's Art Fair that I haven't had time to blog but the truth is I have been busy with many other things. The year is chugging along quickly and already the weather has mellowed and Easter is just around the corner. We are on the move again but this time just up the street and not across the oceans - and so we have begun the task of packing up once again and moving on from this little place we have called home for the last 2 years. And so this weekend I will be moving house on Saturday and doing a stall at the Whitmore Square Art Market on Sunday - http://www.facebook.com/events/231112030290227/.

It is no doubt going to be a busy weekend. But I am looking forward to the market on Sunday as I will be sharing a stall with the talented Sarah Donnell I hope I can post some photos from the market soon and I will share more about Sarah's work then.

Ganbatte ne!

I have been working away enthusiastically in my evenings recently and without distraction or interruption which has been great. I feel much more committed to achieving goals and making some progress with my Etsy shop. It is always a struggle to juggle time between creating new work and also maintaining the shop and the admin side of photographing and listing new pieces.
I desperately want to produce new work at the moment and have lots of ideas, but sometimes the ideas in my head don't want to translate to paper and that is when I hit the brick wall hard. That is when the doubt creeps in and everything I do feels not good enough. I have been having one of these weeks I think and after a couple of hours of not getting anywhere with a new design the other night I was a bit deflated. It was hot, it was 1.00am in the morning and it was when I realized I had not made the bed after washing the sheets and quilt cover earlier in the day. Gathering the energy to stuff the pillows back into the pillow cases, I sat on the edge of the bed and noticed a little white sticker stuck to my foot. My little girl has been receiving cute stickers as a prize for using the potty, so we have a few lost stickers making appearances all over the house at the moment. I peeled the sticker off my foot and read the word, "ganbatte ne" written on it above the little picture of a cute cat. "Ganbatte ne" is a term of encouragement in Japanese used commonly to encourage one another to keep going or keep enduring or trying to do something. It was a much needed little message for me at that hour of the morning.
And so I have changed direction for a couple of days and left the new design alone to concentrate on taking and editing some photos of some bangles I made before Christmas. While photography is not my forte, I had fun taking these shots and it felt like a little progress was made. And so I am moving around that brick wall to move forward saying to my little girl by day, 'ganbatte ne' and to myself at night "ganbatte ne mummy".

Keeping Cool!



We have technically reached the middle of Summer here in Adelaide, although the hottest days are probably still to come next month. Surprisingly, I have still been full of New Year energy and even set about cleaning out our walk-in wardrobe yesterday in the 39 degree weather. Our kids have also been in good spirits despite being inside a lot on the very hot days.

I had a sudden idea yesterday afternoon to make paper fans with them and they absolutely loved the little project. Their own personal hand fans were just the best fun of the day and they loved it so much they wanted to make some more with their Nanna when we visited her house today. Nanna had the nice coloured paper of course so that was even better fun than Mummy's recycled white pages and also more worthy of a quick photo!

It is so wonderful that in a house with a TV, a DVDplayer, a CD player and the latest addition of an ipad, the kids were most entertained in yesterday's heat running around with cardboard toy boxes over their heads and later on making the simple paper fans (and actually without the air conditioner on)!

Window Shopping Again!



The problem with having a shop on Etsy is that every time I visit my shop, I also end up browsing the home page and discovering lots of lovely items I would love to purchase myself. I think I have bought as many items as I have sold! I love finding artists I admire and then poking around their favourite items to find more of my favourites and I can get lost doing this for hours! I sometimes justify it as research - seeing what is popular and what sells but since my time is so limited in the evenings I think I need to restrict this 'research' habbit to perhaps one evening a week!
I recently found this beautiful mug pictured above by Jill Rosenwald and was very tempted! Unfortunately or fortunately as it may be, she is based in Boston in the US and does not ship internationally! I will just have to admire this one from afar and continue my window shopping.
Tomorrow is my first official evening back at 'work' and I can't wait!

Random Rainbows


I love discovering random rainbows of colour about the place. I spied this pile of magazines perched on the arm of our couch yesterday and had to stop to take a quick snap. While I love playing with colours to see how they look together, sometimes I find these great combinations that have just come together by coincidence. Sometimes it may be the colourful dishes drying in the dishdrainer or the colours of our clothing as I fold them all in a pile. I like to think I have taken mental notes of all these things but from now on I think I might try to take a photo if I can so I don't forget!

Holiday Reading







I have given myself and unofficial "holiday" until the end of this week. While most parents of young children would agree that there really are no holidays, I have chosen to do minimal tasks and have generally been more relaxed about meals and housework. This has been aided by the fact that it has been so hot here in Adelaide there really hasn't been need to wear too many clothes and with all the Christmas and New Year activities, not too much food to prepare myself.

One of the things I promised myself to do on this "holiday" is to read the books and magazines I have been quietly collecting over the past 6 months or so. While I read blogs and news daily on the Internet, I don't often pick up a real book anymore. I used to love reading in bed before sleep but now when my head hits the pillow, I am asleep. I would also usually only ever pick up one book at a time and read it from start to finish but this time I have about five different books on the go at once.

The first book I have actually completed is "My Heart Wanders" by Pia Jane Bijkerk which detailed her journey to Paris and then Amsterdam in search of her wandering heart. It is beautifully intertwined with text and photographs and is really like a picture book for adults. I do warn that after reading this book you may feel a strong desire to purchase plane tickets to some foreign European city! It came to me so beautifully wrapped and signed by Pia herself which makes it that little bit more special.
I have also been savouring my copy of Orla Kiely's "Pattern" book which I really don't want to ever finish. I love hearing about her journey and how her business developed. The photos in this book are again beautiful and inspiring.
I am enjoying flicking though the pages of my first copy of "Elephant Magazine" which highlights trends and talent in visual culture. This came recommended from another blog I follow and I have been itching to see inside it since it arrived.
Next on my reading list is Tess McCabe's "Conversations with Creative Women" - a compilation of interviews with 15 creative women and stories of their different paths in business. I am just at the beginning of this one but really enjoying it so far. It is only printed in limited edition so you have to be quick if you want to read this one.
And the last on my desk right now is "Paper Cutting: Contemporary Artists Timeless Craft". If you want to be completely amazed at all the extraordinary things that can be cut from a single piece of paper, then this is the book for you. Just beautiful!
Well I am off to read some more before my lovely "holiday" comes to an end. I think this will be my yearly retreat and I will be on the lookout for new finds to add to my shelf for next Christmas and New Year holiday!

Reflection and Contemplation


As we cross to 2012, it is always the time to reflect upon the year that was and look forward to all the possibilities a new year offers. The last few weeks have been busy preparing for markets and Christmas and now it is nice to press pause for a short time to contemplate the next steps.
I spent part of the last day of 2011 tidying my messy desk; this is how it usually looks when things are busy and out of control. This is the time I think of all the things I did achieve during the year but more so think about the many things that didn't happen. But now I get a new year to start all over again and that clean desk is full of possibility of what will happen this year.
I am not exactly sure where 2012 will take me just yet but I do have some exciting plans brewing that I hope to share here. We will see. I just hope to do more everyday.
Wishing you all the happiest New Year!
xo

A Sneak Peek!

This Friday evening, the annual Christmas show at Zu Designhttp://www.zudesign.com.au/index.html will open and I have finally just finished my pieces for it. The theme for this year is a special one - A Roman Christmas - as we celebrate Roman's retirement from Zu after 15 years. I met Roman when we studied Jewellery Design together at Uni SA. He was already a qualified jeweller at that time but returned to study to seek a new direction with his work. So my class and I were very lucky to have access to his knowledge and skills which he shared generously with us and I greatly value and appreicate the friendship we formed in those years. I am not sure what the next step in for Roman after Zu but I hope it is filled with all things good.
So here is a sneak peek at one of my "Hanabi" bangles I created for the exhibition. Hanabi is the Japanese word for fireworks which litereally translates to "fire flower" These are my fireworks in Roman's honour.

Bowerbird Bazaar Excitement!


I have exciting news to share! This weekend, the Bowerbird Bazaar will be held in Adelaide! Now of course this is exciting because there are so many great designers and products all to be found under the one roof, but doubly exciting is the fact that I will be displaying one of my little prints there!!!
A couple of weeks ago, Etsy Australia's new community manager, Kirsteene, contacted me to tell me she would be having a stall at the market to promote Etsy in Australia and asked me if I would be interested in displaying a print as part of her stall. Now, it is a secret desire of mine to have my own stall at Bowerbird Bazaar but the more-than-$500 price tag is still a bit scary for me, so this is just the next best thing! So although I won't actually be selling anything, I am able to advertise my Etsy shop with business cards so that is excellent promotion!
Thanks Kirsteene, thanks Etsy and thank you Bowerbird Bazaar! Hope it is a great weekend for all!

Flower Fields


Why does Heather do this to me? Just when I thought my Skinny laminx cushion family was complete, she has released these beautiful cushions in her new flower fields fabric. Perhaps I need another couch? But then we would need a bigger home too! I will just have to admire in her shop for now!

Just in time!


I have just finished putting a layer of matt varnish on these bangles in time for tomorrow evening's Art Market at Espionage Gallery. A few years ago, I made some of these bangles for a market in Japan so I will be interested to see how they are received here. Although I had some interest in the bangles I made before, I never actually sold any. When I made the move back to Australia I had to leave them behind apart from the one I had already been wearing. Now, whenever I wear that bangle here, people always ask me where I got it and so finally I have made some more! I have just one sheet of this beautiful Japanese washi paper that I used on the outside of the bangles so I will be sad when it is all finished. The rest of the bangle is made from a slice of a recycled plastic drink bottle and layers of recycled newspaper.

Cards!


This Friday evening I will be participating in the second Art Market at Espionage Gallery. So I have been busy having fun in my evenings making some cards to display along with my prints and jewellery. The first picture shows some of the new cards. The last picture shows some of the cards I made for the first market! Time consuming but love the process!