IMG_3693.JPGKeeping things quiet today. Yesterday was epic, running on just a few hours sleep I managed a long and busy day (well worth it though, all things considered). So today I've been sleeping, reading, drinking tea and crafting, mostly from my bed. See above, from Made by Hand again.

We have a friend's birthday dinner later tonight which I'm looking forward to - Frank's Pizza on the corner of Australia Street is one of my favourites, a real institution. Long bench seats and cheap wine, and pizza that tastes like when you were 9 - so damn good.



20140119-134808.jpg20140119-134838.jpg This year was lovely - a hot and quiet day.

Christmas in my family means, mostly, spoiling and eating. We have a habit of getting out of hand with the presents, or our mother does, even though we keep telling her we’re grown-ups. But mostly it is the food that we love to indulge in. this year we had a whole trout cooked on the BBQ, a few kilos of prawns, smoked salmon, twice-cooked potatoes with a garlic-y, lemon and parsley dressing, a cabbage and apple slaw with buttermilk dressing, a mountain of green salad from the garden, blueberry pudding and, of course, a pavlova. We drank light French rose, Pol Roger champagne and Tolpuddle chardonnay then quite a few bottles of Shaw and Smith pinot noir. We had it good.

Since we’re all grown, and prefer instead to spoil my nieces, we adults do a draw for gifts each year. It is so much easier, and nice to think about just one person. I got my sister-in-law and bought her a Comme des Garcons clutch purse, all tan and soft leather, and my big sister gifted me the Kate Miss necklace I had been lusting after for months – her stuff is a real dream. And, as promised, I spent the week before Christmas making my nieces the placemats I had bookmarked from Lena Corwin’s Made by Hand. My old man helped me make the loom (shown above) and I bought some Liberty fabric from the oldest haberdashery in the world - Fleur’s of Stirling - where I’ve been buying ribbon since I was a child. I actually found the weaving kind of lovely. Calming. They didn’t work out as neat as I’d hoped, but still looked good. And I ended up sewing a quick hem along each length to give them a bit more hold (my nieces are not 'sit-quietly' kind of girls). They actually loved them, boring as they might have seemed to any other three and six year old.


20131124-210044.jpgThe weekend was, as expected, busy and wonderful. Weekends home to Adelaide always are (busy and wonderful). It's usually a mess of  breakfasts and lattes and yummy lunches and afternoon teas and wine and cheese and long dinners and card games with my dad as we finish off the last of the red, and this one was no exception. My friend Sathya's wedding was an especially lovely part. She married her high school sweetheart and after years together and two lovely sons, it was just so nice to  be able to celebrate it. He adores her and she just radiated happiness - I mean, the two of them giggled the whole damn day, which says a lot about their relationship and love for one another. Also, the champagne. And the dancing. When you get a group of old friends together and put on a lot of wine and some seriously good tunes, things get pretty amazing.

Today was a slower day, brekky with some dear fiends before I flew out. They have a lovely old house they are making a home, having bought it back in June. I miss having them here in Sydney quite a bit, but it is so good to see them settled and growing their business and spinning new magic in my hometown. Kara is a woman of fine taste, and I fell in all kinds of love with this handmade thrift find she served our breakfast on. I've always been a bit in love with ceramics and have wanted to take a course for about ten years - this may just be the beauty that gets me over the line and enrolled in something…


LC1It's a good day when the book you pre-ordered a month or so ago lands on your desk, a good day indeed. I had been waiting (not so) patiently for Lena Corwin's Made By Hand for a little while, hoping it would make its way across the seas in time for me to put together one of the projects as a Christmas gift for my nieces. I try to make their presents each year, or give them a vintage keepsake - they get so much stuff already, are beautifully spoilt with books and toys, that I like to keep it simple.

Lena's work is kind of amazing. I've been reading her blog for a while now, and following along with the range of projects she takes on. She is prolific and endlessly creative and manages to make such detailed, crafted beauties that feel both raw and refined - never overdone or cluttered. Her work feels delicate and whimsical but strong and bold at the same time.

LC3LC5Made By hand is her bit of curation - a whole book of projects by friends and artists that I happily spent last Sunday morning pouring through. From Caitlin Moicun, Erin Considine and Jaime Rugh to Emily Eibel and Ilana Kohn, the whole thing is bursting with beautiful and inspiring ideas - some traditional, some intricate and some challenging. The photography is from Maria Alexandra Vettese and Stephanie Congdon Barnes, so of course I loved every still. There are detailed instructions and step-by-step images on beautiful crisp white pages, and I was pleased to find a few how-to videos on the website too, for good measure.

I plan to tackle Jaime Rugh's woven placemats for the girls' Christmas present, and maybe even Cal Patch's braided rugs and Erin Considine's coiled bowls in the new year if all goes well...LC2* All images by MAV and SCB for Lena Corwin.



WRAPFULI had an afternoon to myself in California, an afternoon spent listening to Joanna Newsom and wrapping gifts to send home to family and friends. It was amazing. I like giftwrapping like normal people like beer. I like ribbon and string and bows, crisp paper with, in this case, white polka dots on a buttery mustard yellow. I tied it with a gold silk bow and wrote bold inked cards to my nieces Hattie and Daisy and my family at home in Adelaide. Standing in line and sending them from UPS was slightly less-romantic and almost as expensive as the gifts themselves. But I’m told they’ve arrived safe and are nestled under the tree at my folks’ house, waiting for Christmas morning. If I can’t be there, I love that my thoughts and best wishes and oh so neatly wrapped treasures can.

* I'd love to tell you that the stunning and sparkly image above is mine, but alas I was so busy posting everything off that I forgot to take a picture (and anyway, mine didn't quite look as wonderful) - this lovely work is by the good people over at the grey collective.