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.
According to Instagram, my week looked like this:
- I went to the beach – again! That makes it two weekends in a row. Must be a record for me.
- I attended my first ever Kids Business Bloggers Brunch – and found some quick and easy Christmas crafts from Spotlight. (Quick and easy being key words for me.) I’m on my way to Spotlight this afternoon!
- I also met the girls from Brown Sugar at the Bloggers Brunch, who gifted me a beautiful coral striped scarf, which went fabulously with my coral Dinosaur Designs bangle and Tom Ford lipstick in Wild Ginger.
- I’m still loving Sydney’s magnificent show of jacarandas this year. Front lawns and footpaths everywhere are awash with jacaranda confetti. And the sight of backlit jacarandas in the warm glow of the late afternoon sun is one of my favourite Sydney sights. It means summer is just around the corner.
- I went to an excellent Blog Photography Workshop to brush up on my DSLR skills. Hosted by the fabulous Little Paper Trees (check out her blog now) and led by lifestyle photographer Emma Scamell, we covered an incredible amount of skills in just one wee day. The workshop was held in the studios of one of my favourite Sydney shops, Little Paper Lane, so it was a day filled with lots of laughs, creativity and neon. It’s a very neon Christmas this year at Little Paper Lane – check out the riot of colour in their window displays!
- If you’re in Sydney and you need some Christmas present inspiration, make the trip to Little Paper Lane in Mona Vale. Or check out their superb online shop. I dare you to resist pulling out your credit card! I shopped up a storm, and stocked up on Washi tapes, ribbons, an awesome extra-large alphabetical stamp set and neon gift cards. So lovely.
- I also met a very cute duckling (it had just hatched in my friend’s home incubator!)
- I found the sweetest-smelling baby pineapples from the organic grocer in Avalon.
- I stopped by The Boatshed in Palm Beach for some ice-cream. They always have the most magnificent displays of fresh fruit and flowers.
- I took out 10 minutes to watch the Melbourne Cup, and decided to make a last-minute bet. Should have stayed at home.
- I took delivery of a very sweet box filled with Chupa-Chups, and the latest candy-inspired collection of lip gloss, nail polish and eye-shadows from L’Oreal Paris.
- I met the guys from Rust-oleum at the Bloggers Brunch and discovered a brand new world of magic paint and spray paints. I’ve got to get a can of their white matte spraypaint which gives your average jam jar a beautiful white ceramic-like finish. Genius.
Phew, what a week. Did I mention that I also launched a brand new craft tutorials website, Crafttuts+? More on that very soon!
Tell me, what did you get up to? You can follow me on Instagram here. I’d love to see your Instagram pics, too!
p.s. I made 2000 ‘likes’ on Facebook! Hooray! Thanks everyone for following me. X
Boring old beige begone: brights are back. And they’re easier than ever to work into your wardrobe or home, no matter how safe and neutral they may be. Here are my favourite bits and pieces for clothes, accessories, furniture and home decor, starting at $10.
Clockwise from top left:
Stripe tank dress, AU$129 from Country Road.
IKEA PS 2012 blue stool, AU$49.99 from IKEA.
IKEA PS 2012 green easy chair, AU$199 from IKEA.
Colour-pop metal bed in yellow, AU$620 from Lark.
Emerald bella wallet, AU$34.95 from Sussan.
Jonathan Adler giant erasers, £12 from Heal’s.
Pink marcie bag, AU$59.95 from Sussan.
Citrus floral necklace, AU$29.95 from Sussan.
Linen peg leg pant, AU$69.95 from Sussan.
IKEA PS 2012 cushion cover, AU$10 from IKEA.
Weekender occasional chair in yellow, AU$229 from Freedom.
Flamingo all over cushion, AU$29.95 from Freedom.
According to Instagram, this is what the past week in my life looked like.
I went to the annual Dinosaur Designs garage sale in Sydney and snapped up this amazing coral resin bangle. I’ve wanted a wide DD bangle for ages and I love the coral-like texture as well as the amazing colour. It POPS and it looks fab with my ever-growing collection of Breton stripes.
Amanda Talbot mentioned that she’s a Wee Birdy follower on Twitter in Sunday Life magazine, along with some other brilliant bloggers including @Will_UK, @decor8, @citysage and fellow Aussie @interiorsaddict. Check out Amanda’s excellent design and interiors blog, Snoop.
This delicious New Zealand rainbow trout with horseradish cream on toasted rye was just one of the canapes I feasted on at a Tourism New Zealand reception at Sydney’s Overseas Passenger Terminal. There was also an incredible performance of the Haka. Afterwards, I watched the sun go down over Sydney harbour and showed off my new Country Road booties.
I also met Swedish glassmaker Göran Wärff at David Jones, where he is currently exhibiting some of his stunning limited edition pieces for Kosta Boda. His use of colour throughout his work is legendary, and these purple and orange vases were two of my favourites.
I was also invited by Nuffnang to secret squirrel launch about a brand-new blogging product. Follow NuffnangX to find out more.
And we had one of those rare evenings out with our 18-month-old toddler who happily accompanied us out to an early dinner in Darlinghurst. We headed to Gelato Messina for dessert, arguably Sydney’s best ice-cream. We shared a tasting plate of ‘Schmeckel’ (peanut butter and white chocolate-coated pretzels); salted caramel and white chocolate; dulce de leche (milk caramel); milk chocolate and peanut butter fudge and chocolate fondant ice-cream. Oh boy.
What have you been up to? Do you love Instagram? I’m addicted – I love scrolling through the lives of Wee Birdy readers around the world. Find me on Instagram – I’m @WeeBirdy.
In the name of patriotism for my native country, I really ought to wave the Aussie flag in the midst of all my Best of British Olympics blogging. The marvellous Nikki from Styling You
shamed inspired me to create my own Aussie look – check out her post here.
Green and gold – the colours of our native wattle – are Australia’s team colours but I rarely see them used together in a way that doesn’t make me cringe. But green and yellow – generally used separately – are having a moment in fashion and design at the moment, so there are loads of options around to mix and match.
I’ve pulled together an outfit that revolves around a rather lovely emerald green crepe shift by Country Road. It’s a classic, simple piece with clean lines and an exposed zip detail on both shoulders, which gives it a slightly toughened edge. It’s one of those ultra-wearable trans-seasonal frocks that is an Australian wardrobe essential. Just pop it on, slick back your hair and slip into a pair of sandals for an instant pulled-together look in warmer weather. Pair it with black opaques and a coat in cooler weather.
This ultra-versatile crepe shift can also be dressed up or down with judicious use of colour and accessories. I’m coveting the Givenchy shoe boots but Country Road offer an excellent and more affordable alternative. Add a pop of yellow with a stack of Dinosaur Designs resin bangles, and pull it all together with a clutch in a complementary shade. Here are all the details:
1. Crepe shift dress, AU$179 from Country Road.
2. 3.1 Phillip Lim 31 Minute leather clutch, £320.83 from Net-a-Porter (for a more affordable clutch, try the Deux Lux ‘Juno’ Clutch, on sale for AUD$40.69 from Nordstrom.)
3. Dinosaur Designs wishbone bangle, AU$55; Irregular bangle, AU$75; and Irregular bangle, AU$75 from The Iconic.
4. Givenchy low-cut leather ankle boots £554.17 from Net-a-Porter (Country Road do a similar version for AU$229).
5. Micha leather sandal, AU$119 from Country Road.
So what do you reckon? Did I manage to pull off the green and gold look without the cultural cringe?
Click here for the 25 best London Olympic Games souvenirs.
Click here for the best Union Jack souvenirs.
Click here for the best non-tat Jubilee souvenirs.
← Older posts
It’s the season finale of Offspring tonight, and since last week’s post about Nina’s apartment proved to be a hit, I thought I’d revisit the popular Aussie TV show one more time.
As I mentioned last week, Nina Proudman’s wardrobe is the focus of an excellent series of posts by Nikki at Styling You, so I thought I’d have a look at Clare Bowditch’s character, Rosanna, for style inspiration. Like Nina, she’s got a particular uniform that is re-interpreted in every episode, which consists of the following key elements:
1. Floral fifties-style cross-over tea dress.
3. Hoop earrings
4. Vintage-inspired hair do.
Clare Bowditch has mentioned in interviews that Rosanna’s wardrobe is not dissimilar to her own, with many frocks by Australian labels Lazy Bones and Easton Pearson. It’s a style that suits her retro aesthetic as well as her curves – and it’s also a look that is totally achievable. Here’s how to steal her style:
1. Cotton voile Alice dress with a cross-over bust, fitted waist and pleated skirt, AU$129, by Lazy Bones.
2. Cropped cardigans are key to this look, so make sure it finishes at your waistline. Invest in a classic cashmere cardigan by London label N.Peal – keep an eye out for bargains during sale time. [Updated 22/09/12: the cardigan pictured above has sold out but you can get a similar version by N.Peal here.]
3. Belem beaded hoop earring, US$4.99 from Urban Outfitters.
4. Isharya 18-karat gold-plated onyx ring, £83.33 from Net-a-Porter.
5. Rosanna wore her hair in victory rolls in one episode. Learn how to create vintage hair dos with Style Me Vintage: Hair: Easy Step-by-Step Techniques for Creating Classic Hairstyles by Belinda Hay, US$10.85 from Wee Birdy’s Amazon shop.
6. Rosanna usually carries a soft unstructured brown leather handbag. Daphne leather bag, AU$249.95 from Witchery.
7. ASOS LOVE leather ballet flats, AU$59.52 from ASOS.
8. Dinosaur Designs Wishbone Bangle, AU$55 and Dinosaur Designs Irregular Bangle, AU $75 from The Iconic.
Click here to read last week’s post about how to recreate the look of Nina’s apartment.
Do you like Rosanna’s style, too? And what did you think of the season finale?