Australian craft and handmade

November 28, 2013

Shopping in Melbourne: Spare Room Project and Wish You Were Here

Wish You Were Here 2014 Calendar via

If you’re in Melbourne right now, you might like to pop along tonight to the historic Nicholas Building in the CBD (a Wee Birdy favourite) for the opening of the Spare Room Project. Hosted and curated by Melbourne designer Matthew Thomson of Mattt (another Wee Birdy fave), the shop-within-a-shop brings together some of Melbourne’s leading designer-makers including Beci Orpin, Ask Alice, Sandra Eterovic and Victoria Mason Jewellery.

Ask Alice Calendar 2014 via

It’s perfect timing for picking up some lovely Christmas presents. You’ll also get to meet the makers and ten per cent of all proceeds go to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre. Super-lovely!

The shopping event will also coincide with the launch of the Ask Alice ‘Wish You Were Here’ calendar and print exhibition, which will be donating 100 per cent of all profits to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre. If you’re a fan of Ask Alice’s extraordinarily sweet range of stationery and prints, you will love the 2014 calendar. Sass Cocker, the lovely lady behind Ask Alice, has brought together 12 international artists to illustrate the theme of ‘Wish You Were Here’ for her annual charity calendar.

Capetown from Ask Alice Calendar 2014-Jan
Sydney from Ask Alice Calendar 2014-Feb
Tokyo from AskAliceCalendar2014-Feb

I’ve illustrated this post with some of the artworks from the calendar, including Cape Town by Studio Muti, Sydney by James Gulliver Hancock and Tokyo by Masako Kubo. If you’re out of town, you can still purchase the calendar online here. I think it’s hands-down the Best Calendar for 2014. Nice one, Ask Alice!

matt SHOP
Third Floor, Nicholas Building
Corner Flinders Lane & Swanston Street

Opening hours:
Thursday 28 November to Saturday 30 November
10am to 6pm (9pm Thursday and Friday)

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July 17, 2013

Sydney design: Bright and bold new DAN300 textiles

Spring Dan300 cushions via WeeBirdy.comDAN300 Babcha Luxe spring textiles. Photography courtesy of DAN300.

I’m super-excited to exclusively reveal a sneak peek of the new DAN300 spring/summer 2013 collection of textiles on Wee Birdy. I’ve had my eye on Sydney designer and director of DAN300 Daniella (Dani) Rosen for the past few years, as each new collection grew bigger – and brighter.

It was only last year that DAN300 launched their very first collection of cushions – before that, the business was primarily focused on stationery and small accessories. The new spring/summer 2013 collection marks a new level of maturity for the design studio – and look how much it shines!

Dan300 spring textiles via
DAN300 Nana’s Garage Folkland textiles. Photography courtesy of DAN300.

DAN300′s signature kaleidoscopic use of colour and pattern in last year’s Babcha Luxe collection is reflected in the new collection, with a soft new ‘aqua’ colour-way available in a range of cushions and handy zip-cases. The harlequin, fish scale and geometric prints are back, re-worked with a mid-century influence which would work beautifully in any retro-inspired or contemporary setting.

DAN300 cushions via

I’m also loving the relaunched Nana’s Garage collection, with its ’60s folk-inspired floral prints that are worked through the range of cushions, zip cases and a collection of new softies for babies and kids.

Dan300 softies and zip pouches via
DAN300 new Nana’s Garage Folkland softies and zip pouches. Photography courtesy of DAN300.

The textiles ranges are named after Dani’s grandmothers: Babcha Luxe is named after her maternal grandmother (‘babcha’ is Polish for grandma); and Nana’s Garage is named after her paternal grandmother, whose garage was often used as storage for DAN300′s early collections.

I like that Dani has brought a personal ‘family story’ to her collection, as her brightly-coloured, vivid designs are at once fresh, contemporary and nostalgic – and the collection has been cleverly designed to layer throughout the home.

DAN300 textiles for Spring via WeeBirdy.comDan300 Babcha Luxe aqua textiles. Photography courtesy of Dan300.

I’m rather keen on the smart collection of zip cases (below), which would make very handy emergency-nappy pouches for your handbag, as well as sweet little bags for make-up, craft supplies or pencils.

DAN300 zipcases pouches via WeeBirdy.comDAN300 zipcase via
Dan300 Babcha Luxe accessories. Photography courtesy of Dan300.

DAN300 will be at the upcoming Home & Giving Trade Fair in Melbourne, where Nana’s Garage relaunch will make its debut.

DAN300 cushion via
Dan300 Babcha Luxe Brights cushion. Photography courtesy of Dan300.

DAN 300 cushions via

DAN300′s new spring/summer collection will be available to pre-order online from August 1, 2013. The new products will be shipped out from August 18. But in the meantime, check out the current collection. There is free shipping within Australia for all orders over $50. Click here for a list of stockists.

Follow DAN300 on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.

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July 15, 2013

Out and about in Sydney: Sydney Design

Sydney Design edible walls via

If you love design and happen to be in Sydney between the 3rd and 18th of August, you might like to book yourself in for some of the excellent talks, tours and workshops lined up for this year’s Sydney Design.

Now in its 16th year, more than 75 events across the city will explore the theme, ‘Design re-think – can clever design save the world?’. (I bloody well hope so!)

George Nelson mid-century design classics via

My top picks? I’ll be making a beeline for:

Head over to Sydney Design to check out the full program.
Photography courtesy of Sydney Design and The Powerhouse Museum.

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July 10, 2013

Sydney design: Mr & Mrs White

Drawer unit by Mr & Mrs White via

It’s been a while since I posted about Sydney design, and when I stumbled across the latest work from Mr & Mrs White, I couldn’t wait to have a wee chat with them. Mr & Mrs White run a furniture and textiles business from their showroom and workshop in Mona Vale, on Sydney’s northern beaches.

Mr White makes all the furniture, from beds, tables and desks to chairs and drawer units. Everything is made using solid new and recycled timber. Their textiles range is also handmade and includes a range of linen, leather and hide pieces. I really love their beautifully simple linen duvet cover!

Mr White via

Read on for my wee chat with them about their work, local area and dream collaborators.

What’s the best-seller in your collection?
In the furniture range our best seller is the beam bed. It has been really popular for both adults and kids. In the textiles range, our best seller is the tan leather cushion.

Mr & Mrs White Beam Bed via

Tan leather cushion by Mr & Mrs White via

What services do you offer?
Other than our range of furniture and textiles, Mr White also specialises in custom joinery. From floating drawer units, benches and hearths he can build a unique timber feature for your home or business.

Mr White joinery via

Who or what influences your design?
We are really influenced by Japanese and European design. We both love the simplicity of Japanese design and the Scandinavians bring function and beauty together so well. Its funny, I tend to be inspired by designers not in my field. For example, I LOVE all of the futagami products and Nathan finds himself more drawn to architecture blogs as opposed to furniture ones. Some of his favourite are Matthew Hilton, Nicolas Schuybroek, George Nakashima and Amee Allsop. Anyone who makes simple look easy and effortless is inspiration to us.

Mrs White of Mr & Mrs White via

Can you tell us about your background?
Mr. White did his apprenticeship as a shipwright and I studied graphic design. Nathan always loved working with timber – he grew up making wooden shoe boxes in his Pop’s workshop. After finishing his apprenticeship he worked as a cabinet maker for a few years and on the side started making furniture for our home.

After studying I found myself craving a creative outlet that didn’t involve a computer screen. My nan bought me a second-hand sewing machine and I fell in love with it. I think I found it really satisfying seeing a lump of fabric transform into something functional and beautiful.

Tools by Mr & Mrs White via

Tell us a wee secret about Mona Vale.
We are situated in the industrial zone of Mona Vale but we are only a five minute walk to Mona Vale shops. Across the road from us on Darley Street there is an awesome little cafe called Coffee Brothers. Great coffee for us and our daughter Selah loves their berry smoothies!

What can we look forward to seeing from you in the future?
We are currently working on a new range of furniture in collaboration with architect Amee Allsop. Amee is currently living in NYC, so the range will be fusing together ‘the city and the sea’….shhhh.

Box seat by Mr & Mrs White via

Who would be your dream collaborator?
We are pretty excited to be working with Amee Allsop. We actually love working with other designers – we never want to be just a one-man show. I think the best design comes from team work and being apart of a creative community.

Mr & Mrs White
3/81 Darley Street
Mona Vale NSW Sydney
Tel. 0431 914 814

Opening hours:
Friday 10am to 4pm
Saturday 10am to 4pm
or by appointment.

Photography by Luisa Brimble and styling by Stef Ingram

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May 24, 2013

My top Australian Etsy picks

Shingle original limited print via

Why hello there. It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I’m sorry. I really am. Hopefully you’ve been following me via Instagram and Facebook over the past few months! I’ve had to take a little time out from blogging to look after other things – and people – in my life. But it’s good to be back. How have you been?

I was recently invited by Etsy Australia to be guest curator, so I’m delighted to herald my return with my top picks from Etsy’s Australian sellers. I was inspired by the colours yellow and blue: those classic hues that ‘speak’ Australian to me. Check out my favourite handmade and vintage finds:

Etsy Australian Sellers collage via

1. Raindrop gift tags, $5 by Spin Spin.
2. ‘It’s nice to be nice’ wall hanging, $32 from My Bearded Pigeon.
3. Bay Keramik West German pottery vase, $70 from That Retro Piece.
4. Vintage 1970s/80s Emanuel Ungaro yellow silk blouse,$125 from Cara Mia Vintage.
5. ‘Through Streets’ hand-printed craft panel, $11.58 from Blueberry Ash.
6. Handmade golden yellow knit purse, $40 from Alice Nightingale.
7. Elephant baby dress and bloomers set, $40 from Banana Orange Apple.
8. Cathrineholm ‘Tea’s Up’ art print, $26.32 from My Retro Nest.
9. ‘Papercut blooms’ limited edition screen-printed fabric, $21.05 from Auntie Cookie.
10. Blue pencils brooch, $21.05 from Rare Indeed.
11. Bitossi Aldo Londi’s Rimini Blu vase, $180 from That Retro Piece.
12. Titanic voyage organic cotton cushion cover, $55 from My Bearded Pigeon.

WeeBirdy's top Australian Etsy picks via
1. ‘Because you loved me’ original limited edition print, $20 by Yes Sweetheart.
2. John Copeland for Wilkintie limited edition letterpress print, $73.68 by Wilkintie.
3. Wooden badge hand-painted blonde character, $18 by Handmade Romance.
4. Amigurumi ‘Little Marigold’ mouse, $35 by Rosie OK.
5. Daffodil flower crown, by K is for Kani.
6. Tassel twins, $75 by Ouchflower.
7. Custom order spring sunshine garland, from 3 Girls and a Goat.
8. 10 large paper doily stickers, $7 from 3 Girls and a Goat.

Tell me, how have you been? And what are your favourite Australian Etsy finds?

* Top image: Shingle original limited edition print, $20 by Yes Sweetheart.

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December 13, 2012

A wee chat with Megan Morton

Megan Morton Things I Love via

This is the book that I’ve been excited about for months. And it’s here – at last – and just in time for Christmas. Megan Morton in one of Australia’s leading stylists, but really she’s much more than that – she’s actually pretty amazing. She recently opened The School, offering a super-fresh take on craft workshops (you can learn to make pineapple piñatas, flower bombs and shibori, to name a few) as well as sharing her own creative talents through styling masterclasses.

The School via

In her new book, Things I Love, Megan has curated a darn exciting and inspirational collection of homes, people and design she loves, as well as offering a raft of tips and advice. It’s the only book I know that injects warmth and genuine excitement into sharing practical tips such as how to clean a vintage painting, how to mimic the Kate Spade wall, and – my favourite – how to fold a fitted sheet. Naturally, it’s beautifully designed and it’s full of cute features like zip-out postcards and fold-out pages.

So I thought I’d have a wee chat with Megan about something we both love – SHOPS – and boy, does she spill the goods…

Megan Morton via

You’re a such a creative bird, Megan Morton. If you were a bird, what kind of bird would you be?

A Leila Jeffreys budgie! Have you seen her photographs of Aussie budgies?! Amazing! Standard budgie at first glance but not-so upon further inspection! Her budgies are showing at Tim Olsen gallery at the moment and are hilariously wonderful!

Leila Jeffreys' Suzi via

I adore Leila’s birds, too! Especially the cheeky parrots. Congratulations on your fabulous new book, Things I Love. What about shops you love? Can you tell us which shops you love in Sydney?

La Croix in Kings Cross is a personal favourite because you can spend $6 or $6000 over a coffee. The grey leather banquette with pompoms is enough of a drawcard for me, let alone the glassware, candles, cups and marble kitchen bits all acquired from a medley of sources and countries [see images below].

La Croix Kings Cross via

La Croix Kings Cross via

I love Koskela for their commitment to Australian-made and furniture that is so well made and designed with wit [see image below].

Koskela via

I Love You Beads Warehouse in Leichhardt. There are so many hysterical reasons to love this store. I have taken up a hobby making necklaces. They are actually super nice! I go to this shop as it tickles my sense of humour as well as services all my bead fantasies.

Flour and Stone in  Woolloomooloo for lamingtons and tea served in Beryl ware from classic Brown Betty tea pots [see image below].

Flour and Stone via

Fairfax and Roberts
. Such a decadent and wonderful store experience. I adore jewellery and watching its almost theatrical presence at this store is a wonderful way to tyre-kick/window-shop for all budgets. Shopping for me is not just about nothings, it’s about observing and getting inspiration.

Dolly Up in Surry Hills is a dangerous place for me to go in the same way Belinda is. I love maxi dresses and Erin at Dolly Up has magnificent ones. I have bought many a vintage Valentino from her. With two daughters I feel like I am doing my bit to give us all some nice vintage options in a shared family closet!

Although I designed it, I do honestly love the Ecoya candle store on Queen Street [see images from the launch night below]. Moody and devastating, with hand-blown glass scent chambers down one wall and tarnished mirror down the other. A sensory experience in the truest sense of the word.

Ecoya via

Ecoya Sydney via

Ecoya Sydney via

Plus, any suburban Priceline chemists – it’s like the JB Hi Fi of chemists! High volume, low decoration with lots of useful stuff!  I also like huge warehouse shops too! I love looking basically for things that aren’t expected and challenging myself to find things that are wonderful and not necessarily from predictable places or usual sources.

Which online shops do you love?
Rachel Castle for her sunshiny goodness [see images below]; Strawberrynet for cosmetics; Mecca Cosmetica; JCrew for the kids; and I can’t resist looking at the sale section of West Elm. Lu Lu Lucky for her hand-made block-coloured envelopes and other makeables.

Rachel Castle via

Top five shops in the world?
I can’t contain it to five, unfortunately! I love shops and want to share them with as many people as possible so all these clever people can stay trading and thrive as they deserve to!
1. BHV in Paris – the French alternative to Bunnings although without compare.
2. Gravel and Gold in San Francisco [see image below]. Almost an anti-store. I love its jewellery, American camp blankets and the way they wrap plants in foil for unusual window displays. Everything here is so well-made and the store has little fanfare as its quality speaks volumes.

Gravel and Gold in San Francisco via

3. Arts & Science in Toyko, Japan. Another store that renders me speechless.
4. Tsé & Tsé Associées in Paris. No words.
5. The Pirate Store in San Francisco – genius. Sheer genius. Again, no words! Retailing at its highest art form here [see images below].

The Pirate Store Emergency Burial Sand via

6. Camargue in Brisbane for its Queensland edit of the European clothes I adore, but edited for summer-wearing and set in a classic, neutral and not overly-designed boutique setting. It lets the clothes do the talking.
7. First Dibs – the online interiors auction house. The real store is on Lexington in NYC. Totally incredible and it almost makes you woozy!
8. The Tinsel Trading Co. In New York it’s one of my first stops – I could go there every day for a year and find something in there that I had not seen the day before! Expect trinkets, ribbon, garlands – actually expect none of that – as it’s that kind of place [see images below]!

Tinsel Trading Co via

9. March in San Francisco. I don’t have words for how perfect this kitchen/gift/lifestyle shop is. I hate the word “lifestyle” but in March’s case it really is a life I covet. Everything – and I mean everything here is beyond. Utterly beyond.

March San Francisco via

It’s almost Christmas and I’m dying to know what you’re doing for a Christmas tree this year.

I do a year on and a year off – so this year I am blindfolding my family – seriously – and taking them away on a surprise out-of-town Christmas. Just us. No tree. We are packing the kids’ bags without them knowing and I can’t wait to see their faces when we get to our destination!

I’ve sent a small tree and their gifts up to said destination so it’s going to be a year of surprises. Last year I did a faux tree but highly doused in mercury and silver and pewter decorations and a lunch with all the trimmings, with a day-before-Christmas party!

Year on/year off works so well for me. It gives you the energy needed to deliver a great Christmas and a rest when you need it! I love all trees and decs – even the bad ones! There is nothing bad about this time of the year, I make no style judgements.

Megan Morton Christmas via

This year at our studio we have erected a paper chandelier by Lu Lu Lucky and we are asking people to place wrapped gifts under it along with tins of food they can spare for The Salvation Army. Christmas for me only works when you can shine a kindness light.

Thank you Megan!

Click here for a Wee Birdy Sydney map, showing Megan’s favourite shops.

Things I love by Megan Morton is AU$49.95 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. You can find Megan Morton online right here.

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