I’m always fascinated by Australian interpretations and portrayals of Christmas. When we’re not pretending we’re living through a northern hemisphere winter complete with snowflakes, icicles and sleighs, we roll out Aussie Christmas cliches of barbecues on the beach and sunburnt Santa surfing the waves. (Weird, because the only people I know who spend Christmas day at the beach are English backpackers – although I do love a late afternoon swim after everyone has recovered from their post-lunch naps.)
Maree Oaten and Anna Johnson are the creatives behind the Sydney-based art and design studio, Little Branch, and they’ve called their collection of cards for 2012 ‘A Mythic Bush Christmas’:
“Cicadas are screaming, sunlight is streaming and we’re all dressed up with somewhere to go. Lit up like a Christmas tree drinking champagne out of a chipped tea cup, where did the time go and who do you love? It’s time to tie a red ribbon round your wrist to forget me not and gift wrap your devotions.”
While the colours in Little Branch’s designs are big, bold and vibrant, reflecting the brilliance of Australia’s summer flora, the illustrations are rather whimsical and romantic, with young lasses in Christmas-tree frocks and candy-striped stockings.
The ‘Little Branch Cards‘, AU$5.50 each, are printed on chlorine free, 100% recycled paper and made entirely in Australia, while the smaller ‘Miss Miniature Cards‘ are priced at AU $3.50 each. They’re perfect for sending some a wee bit of Aussie Christmas cheer around the country – and abroad.
Disclaimer: Little Branch is a Wee Birdy sponsor, but this is not a sponsored post. I just happen to dig their work, and hope you will too!
I know I’m not the first bird to have a bit of a lady crush on Australian design wunderkind Beci Orpin. I’ve been a long-time fan of Beci from her fashion label Princess Tina days, and in the past I’ve blogged about her beautiful bird collage (see below), as well as her sterling silver cloud-and-raindrop necklace. And let it be known that Beci was making clouds waaay before every lady and her umbrella jumped on the rainy cloud motif bandwagon!
It’s this very pioneering spirit, endless creativity and originality that allows Beci to rise above the parochial and produce the kind of work that not only features her signature kaleidoscopic use of colour, but sets new trends on the design landscape.
And now Beci can add another feather to that brilliantly-hued bow: her first book, Find & Keep , has just been released. Featuring 26 fun and fresh new craft projects, (including the DIY giant confetti wall featured on Wee Birdy last week) it’s a goldmine for inspiration as well as providing a unique insight into her creative process. It would make an excellent Christmas present.
Beci, firstly congratulations on a truly beautiful and inspirational book! You’re one clever birdy. Actually, if you were a bird, what kind of bird would you be – and why?
Thank-you so much! Hmmm… what bird would I be? That is a tough choice as I actually love birds a lot (my alternative career choice is an ornithologist!). I really like swallows a lot, so maybe just a plain old welcome swallow? That or a finch – my grandma used to breed them. I think Gouldian finches are my favourite (and they are Australian too!).
I love colour, but I know that lots of people are sometimes scared to be big and brave with it in their home. What’s your number one tip for making colour work – for beginners?
I think you can start adding smaller pops of colour through things like artwork or vases or cushions. Or even if that is too scary, just go for the brightest flowers you can find and work your way up from there.
You’re clearly an awesome collector. Can you tell us your top five shops in Melbourne for finding awesome stuff?
1. Coburg flea market.
I used to frequent Camberwell market when growing up but now i am north-side it’s a little to far to travel first thing on a Sunday morning, so Coburg flea is my new spot. I love it because it’s real trash and treasure… some weeks you find amazing things, some weeks nothing at all.
2. Scout House
When i do find myself south-side, Scout House is one of my first stops. Orlando’s selection is pretty wonderful, as is his colourful iron beds (as seen in my book!).
3. Third Drawer Down
I love all the Third Drawer Down collaborations and the other objects they stock too (ceramics are amazing there at the moment!)
4. Any local op shop
I have a few within walking distance of my house and I can’t keep away. The tiny churchy old-school type ones are my favourite.
Rugs are my new obsession and the last one I brought was from Loom. They have an insanely beautiful selection – it was SO hard to choose. Plus owner Down is so helpful, too. (See image below, via Loom.)
4. Who or what would be your dream collaborator? What would you make?
I’d love to collaborate with someone with batik or weaving expertise to make contemporary versions of traditional fabrics. I’d also like to make rugs. Oh, and working for Tsumori Chisato or a company like Hay (see image below) would be amazing.
5. Christmas is just around the corner. What does your Christmas tree look like and how do you decorate it?
Despite my best efforts of keeping things tasteful and colour co-ordinated, our Christmas tree is generally our kids’ domain. They like to throw all kinds of things on there so it ends up being a bit of a twinkling mess. It’s pretty great actually.
Click here for a Wee Birdy Melbourne map, showing Beci’s favourite shops.
Find & Keep is AU$39.95 and can be found in all nice shops and book stores right now. It would make an amazing Christmas present and you can also buy it online from Booktopia and Amazon. You can find Beci Orpin online right here.
Have you been watching Offspring? Are you as obsessed as I am?
This season has officially got me hooked, and when I’m not angsting about Nina and Patrick’s on-off relationship, I spend quite a bit of time perving at her apartment. (My sister, meanwhile, is obsessed with Nina’s casual-bohemian wardrobe, and if you also want to get her look, I heartily recommend Styling You‘s excellent series of posts, ‘So you want to look like Nina Proudman‘.)
I adored Nina’s first apartment (which was destroyed by fire in the first episode of season three), especially the extraordinarily beautiful white pressed metal feature wall. I was so taken by it that I hunted down the Melbourne-based manufacturer, Pressed Tin Panels, and bookmarked their site for future dream home renovations.
This led me to hunt down some of the key pieces from Nina’s new apartment, especially her bedroom, which features quite a few things by independent Australian designers. I love that the stylists and set dressers have sourced many things from Melbourne, which is where the show is set. Way to keep the show real.
In a tribute to Styling You‘s original Nina posts, here’s how to make Nina Proudman’s bedroom your own:
1. I love Nina’s lamp on her bedside table, which was a gift from Darcy when she moved into her new flat. It’s made by Melbourne-based design studio Pierre and Charlotte. The bleached and limed Baby Tree Light is AU$630 plus GST and can be ordered via their website.
2. Nina’s distinctive cushions match the quilt which was custom-made for Offspring by Melbourne-based accessories label Nancy Bird. The Fish Scale cushions are AU$150 each, from Nancy Bird. (Nancy Bird’s other cushion designs also feature on Nina’s couch.)
3. Nina has a chrome floor lamp on the other side of her bed. Get the look with the Alpha Floor Lamp, $299 from Freedom.
4. Nina’s room features a French provincial farmhouse-style dresser or buffet. Get the look with the HEMNES chest of eight drawers in white from IKEA, AU$499. For a similar antique French sideboard, check out Sydney’s Country Trader as well as this Cancun white-washed three drawer console table, now AU$499 from Freedom. I also like this gorgeous fishing boat buffer from Rustique, which would also look great in Nina’s apartment.
5 and 6. I spy some luxe Jo Malone candles and cologne on Nina’s dresser, and I reckon the Wild Fig & Cassis fragrance is very Nina. Jo Malone is available from David Jones stores in Australia. Jo Malone Wild Fig & Cassis home candle, £38 and Wild Fig & Cassis cologne, £76, both from Selfridges.
7. The distinctive painting over Nina’s bed is by Australian artist Rosetta Santucci.
8. It looks like Nina has an oak candlestick on her dresser. If you’re after a similar design, look at these French Oak candlesticks, from £110 from Katherine North Design. Otherwise, get the look with the ÅRYD candlestick, AU$17.99 from IKEA.
9 and 10. It wouldn’t be Nina’s bedroom without an owl. While most of her collection perished in the house fire, it looks like she’s restrained herself in her new apartment with just one small ceramic owl on her dresser. Get the look with this owl ornament, AU$12.95 from Domayne. I also love this image of an Have You Met Miss Jones horn owl lamp, which is also very Nina and features a white pressed metal wall in the background – just like Nina’s old flat.
11. Here is Nina’s actual quilt which was custom-made for Offspring by Nancy Bird. They’ve since been inundated with requests so they’ve put the digitally-printed design into production. The Fish Scale Queen size quilt cover is available in Queen and King sizes from $650.
12. Nina’s dresser features a group of plain white pillar candles in various sizes. Get the look with the HEMSJÖ unscented natural block candle, AU$2.99 for a pack of four from IKEA.
13. I’ve spotted a classic Bentwood chair next to Nina’s bedside table. You can get a replica Thonet No 18 Bentwood timber chair from Matt Blatt for AU$195.
14. There is an arrangement of various clear glass bottles and carafes on Nina’s dresser. Copy the look with IKEA’s LÖNSAM carafe, AU$2.99 and PS BJUDA Carafe, AU$15.99.
15. Nina’s dresser also features a white bone china bird on a pedestal. I’m pretty sure it’s by Australian designer Have you met Miss Jones, for AU$24.
Do you watch Offspring? What’s your favourite thing in Nina’s room?
Etsy shop: Draw Pilgrim.
Who: Pilgrim Lee, a Melbourne-based graphic artist who loves the design and style of the ‘60s and ‘70s.
What: A collection of bright and bold decorative children’s prints which are evocative of vintage picture books, wallpaper, décor and toys. There is also a range of tote bags, badges and cards.
Best buys: Alphabet poster print; Ahoy art print; and ‘Little Girls Made Of’ art poster.
How much: The Ahoy art print (above) costs AU$15.
Read more: Pilgrim’s blog and Twitter.
It’s a Week of Aussie Etsy on Wee Birdy, in celebration of Etsy Success Sydney on Saturday. Click here for more Australian Etsy goodness.Do you have a favourite Aussie Etsy shop? Or are you an Australian Etsy seller? Tell me all about it below in the comments!
Etsy shop: Pannikin.
Who: Illustrator and jewellery designer Holly Leonardson, who lives in Brisbane.
What: Limited-edition jewellery (each piece has a run of 100) inspired by animals and nature made in Brisbane. Many of Holly’s pieces feature hand-painted Queensland Maple veneers, which have been engraved and laser cut from her illustrations.
Best buys: Super-Kinder necklace, paper-plane stud earrings, and mountain brooch.
How much: A pair of the darling little paper-plane stud earrings are AU$32.
Read more: Pannikin’s website.
It’s a Week of Aussie Etsy on Wee Birdy, in celebration of Etsy Success Sydney on Saturday. Click here for more Australian Etsy goodness.
Do you have a favourite Aussie Etsy shop? Or are you an Australian Etsy seller? Tell me all about it below in the comments!
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Etsy shop: andODesign.
Who: Yumi Ando, a Japanese ceramicist based in Melbourne.
What: Delicate ceramic jewellery and homewares in muted shades inspired by Japanese and Australian cultures. The pieces are made in Ando’s home studio using clay slab tecnhiques.
Best buys: Crown earring holder; Octogan-cut jewel stud earrings, and porcelain air plant hanger with faceted bead.
How much: Stud earrings start at AU$30 a pair.
Read more: andODesign’s blog and website.