Australian textiles

July 22, 2013

Wee find: Winter warmers by Otto and Spike

Winter warmers by Otto & Spike via WeeBirdy.com

See that lady hiding behind her rather lovely stripey scarf? That’s me. Actually, it’s not really me, but it bloody well could be. This is exactly what I looked like when I woke up this morning, now that frosty old winter has descended on Sydney again. (Northern hemisphere readers – bookmark this post for September – and look away for now or you might start to feel all hot and bothered.)

Otto and Spike gloves and scarf via WeeBirdy.com

The one nice thing about winter is layering on loads of cosy accessories – and since the rest of you is covered up by coats and jackets, the accessories part is really rather important.

And why go through winter with dull/boring/mass-produced hats, scarves and beanies when you could be resplendent in this raspberry and mustard stripey scarf by brilliant Melbourne designers Otto and Spike? I mean really, it’s a no-brainer, right?

Otto & Spike have a fabulous back story (you can read the tale about these master knitters here), knitting in the same factory in Brunswick, Melbourne for the past 40 years. I stumbled across their glorious scarves in Sydney’s Workshopped last weekend, and after reading their lively banter on their website, I wanted to share them with you.

Unlike many other Australian companies, who take production off-shore, every single brightly-coloured purl and stitch is created in the original Brunswick factory.

Otto & Spike via WeeBirdy.com

And the end results speak for themselves – fine knitwear in a dazzling and fashion-forward array of pattern and colour. They use pure lambs wool in their products – mostly surplus wool “from an industry that has gradually disappeared” from Australia.

I love that this little company is so proud of its heritage, the raw materials they use – and even their collection of knitting machinery. Their factory sounds like a veritable museum exhibition on the history of knitting in twentieth century Australia.

Here are my top picks from Otto & Spike to keep you cosy this winter:

Otto & Spike beanies, gloves and scarves via WeeBirdy.com
1. Pantonia scarf, $65; 2. Pantonia beanie, $60; 3. Harlequin scarf, $65; 4. Allsorts scarf, $70; 5. Slippery dip scarf, $65; 6. Big top scarf, $65; 7. Fagin fingerless gloves, $35; 8. Mad Mouse scarf, $65; 9. Bikes scarf, $60; 10. City block, $65; all by Otto & Spike.


All photography courtesy of Otto & Spike.

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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 WeeBirdy.com
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 WeeBirdy.com

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 WeeBirdy.com
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 WeeBirdy.com
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 WeeBirdy.com
Dan300 Babcha Luxe Brights cushion. Photography courtesy of Dan300.

DAN 300 cushions via WeeBirdy.com

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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May 24, 2013

My top Australian Etsy picks

Shingle original limited print via WeeBirdy.com

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 WeeBirdy.com

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 WeeBirdy.com
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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November 19, 2012

A wee chat with Beci Orpin

Beci Orpin interview via WeeBirdy.com

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.

Find and Keep Succulent Garden by Beci Orpin via WeeBirdy.com

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.

Find and Keep inspiration wall by Beci Orpin via WeeBirdy.com

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!).

Scout House bed via WeeBirdy.com

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.

5. Loom
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.)

Loom Rugs via WeeBirdy.com

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.

Hay via WeeBirdy.com

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.


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July 5, 2012

Get the look of Nina’s apartment from Offspring

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?


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June 1, 2012

A week of Aussie Etsy: Aunty Cookie

Shop: Aunty Cookie.
Who: Shannon Lamden, a Melbourne-based freelance designer who specialises in textile design and illustration.
What: Original screen-printed fabrics with an assortment of homewares, including graphic cushions, fabric sampler packs and playful printed totebags.
Best buys: ‘Hello my name is’ loot bags, ‘Bargain’ cushion and ‘Papercut blooms’ screen-printed fabric.
How much: Tote bags start at US$15.
Read more: Aunty Cookie’s blog.

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.


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