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Advent Calendar Treats

30 November 2008

Tomorrow is the first of December and Roxy can't wait to wake up in the morning to start the advent calendar. I've assembled most of the treats, and will add the few remaining ones as the month goes on. This is what I have so far:
• Lots of written treats. Things like fish and chips picnic dinner on the beach, going to the craft supply shop to get some new supplies, face painting with mummy (Roxy loves having her face painted), Roxy's choice of what we'll do for a day, a day at the 'flying fox' park, a ferry ride, etc.
• Some alphabet stamps and a stamp pad.
• A silver unicorn ring
• A lollypop
• A butterfly necklace
• A flower craft punch
• A couple of lollies
• A butterfly ring
• Some little post-it notes with hearts on them
• A bottle of pink nail polish (Roxy went ga ga over this in a shop recently)
• A sparkly hair clip

Have you got an advent calendar organised?



Making Lists

28 November 2008

I am a big one for making lists, so of course I had to do this one from Katie's blog. Katie has created the Aussie version of this list. When I completed it I realised that I have actually done a lot... maybe I need to start a new list for myself.

The idea is that you copy the list and bold all the things you've done - and of course unbold those that you haven't. (I italicised mine too because there didn't seem to be too much difference between bold and not. Or maybe it's just my tired eyes.)

1. Started your own blog.

2. Slept under the stars.
3. Played in a band.
4. Visited The Great Barrier Reef.
5. Stood under the stars in the outback, the real outback – think Uluru.
6. Given more than you can afford to charity.
7. Been to the Gold Coast’s theme parks – anyone, you take your pick.
8. Climbed a mountain.
9. Held a praying mantis.
10. Sung a solo.
11. Bungee jumped, jumped out of plane, been paragliding or hang-gliding, hot air ballooning – you get the idea, you’ve been hundreds of metres about earth in a seemingly flimsy contraption.
12. Visited Melbourne.
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea.
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch.
15. Had a child. Raised a child. Worked with children.
16. Had food poisoning.
17. Been to the Snowy Mountains. (Note from Lisa: For those of you reading this who aren't Aussies, yes, we do actually have some mountains which have very imaginatively been named 'The Snowy Mountains'... probably because there are so few places in Australia where it snows)
18. Grown your own vegetables.
19. Visited the Brett Whitely studio in Surry Hills, Sydney.
20. Slept on an overnight train or bus.
21. Had a pillow fight.
22. Been packpacking.
23. Taken a mental health day.
24. Been buried in sand with just your head and toes sticking out.
25. Held a possum, kangaroo or koala – or any other native Australian animal.
26. Gone skinny dipping.
27. Been in a fun run.
28. Been on the Blue Mountain cableway.
29. Seen a total eclipse.
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset.
31. Played, or watched, summer cricket.
32. Sailed, kayaked or canoed our beautiful waterways.
33. Seen the Daintree.
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors.
35. Visited an Aboriginal settlement or mission.
36. Learned a new language.
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied.
38. Toured the Sydney Opera House.
39. Tried rock climbing (indoor or outdoor), abseiling or just simple bushwalking.
40. Visit Queensland’s Gallery of Modern Art.
42. Sunbaked at Bondi.
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant.
44. Visited Broome.
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight.
46. Been transported in an ambulance.
47. Had your portrait painted.
48. Gone fishing.
49. Seen Tasmania’s old growth forests.
50. Been to the top of Q1, on the Gold Coast.
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkelling.
52. Kissed in the rain.
53. Played in the mud.
54. Gone to a drive-in theatre.
55. Been in a movie.
56. Driven the Great Ocean Road.
57. Started a business.
58. Taken a martial arts class.
59. Visited Norfolk Island.
60. Served in a soup kitchen.
61 Sold
Girl Guide biscuits.
62. Gone whale watching.
63. Got flowers for no reason.
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma. (Note from Lisa: the government won't allow me to because I lived in England for more than a year... mad cow disease and all that... even though I was a vegetarian at the time. Go figure.)
65. Gone jet boating.
66. Visited Port Arthur.
67. Bounced a cheque.
68. Flown in a helicopter.
69. Saved a favourite childhood toy.
70. Visited the Australian War Memorial.
71. Eaten Caviar.
72. Pieced a quilt.
73. Stood in Federation Square.
74. Been on the Murray River.
75. Been fired from a job.
76. Travelled, or climbed, over the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
77. Broken a bone.
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle.
(Note from Lisa: does a vespa count?!)
79. Seen the Three Sisters at Echo Point, Katoomba.
80. Published a book.
81. Visited St Mary’s Cathedral, in Sydney.
82. Bought a brand new car.
83. Been to Hermannsburg.
84. Had your picture in the newspaper.
85. Read the entire Bible.
86. Visited Parliament House.
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating. (Note from Lisa: you've got to be kidding, I was a vegetarian for almost 20 years!)
88. Had chickenpox.
89. Saved someone’s life.
90. Sat on a jury.
91. Met someone famous.
92. Joined a book club.
93. Lost a loved one.
94. Saved a pet.
95. Been to the site of the Eureka Stockade.
96. Swum in The Whitsundays.
97. Been involved in a lawsuit.
98. Owned a mobile phone.
99. Been stung by a bee.
100. Read an entire book in one day.



I *Heart* Fridays: I *Heart* a New Diary

Yesterday I bought my 2009 diary. I love buying my new diary for the new year.

I *heart* the feeling a new diary gives of a clean slate: the whole year is stretched out before you with endless possibilities. The diary is fresh and untouched, the pages - like the year - are waiting to be filled with your life: the big and the small things, the details of your days.

I love the possibilities and the symbolic fresh start. I have had a personal situation which is surrounded by (someone else's) very negative energy hanging over me for the past two and a half years. It will finally be over in the next couple of weeks, so my 09 diary holds even more significance, promise, and joy than most others that have gone before. I'm so looking forward to closing the cover on 08
with a true sense of closure and opening 09 with clarity and positivity.

I'm admittedly a bit of a neat freak - if you haven't read my previous post about that click here - and I hate the state my diary is in by the time we get to November each year. The frantic nature inherent in this time of year is reflected in my diary: bits a pieces are scribbled everywhere and there is an accumulation of various pieces of paper shoved in the pages. Not my usual style at all! I long for the visual respite of those virginal white pages that will be mine in just over a month.

My diary of choice for the past couple of years has been an A5 day to a page one from KikkiK. It's nicely designed and comes in a range of good colours. It's not my perfect diary, though it is close. I've had a fruitless search to find anything that I like as much. This year I have a soft aqua one which is the same colour as my office storage (also from KikkiK), but for next year I've gone with rosey, dirty pink (the colours are somewhat different to the photo and not nearly as bright).

I did come across a gorgeous diary in an art supply shop, and I would have loved to have it, but for a few reasons... The positives: it was a day to a page (a must for me), and just as important the design was simple and beautiful. The pages were divided in half horizontally and the top half of each page was printed in a solid colour. A different colour for each day of the year. Just gorgeous, and it would have been a delight to open each day. The negative: it was totally impractical for me. It was very small and there was very little space to write and make my many lists.

For a brief moment I considered buying a bulk standard diary from an office product supplier and customising it with a fabric cover and bits of collage throughout. But that's not what my day-to-day diary is about - that's more of a journal to me. And more importantly the thought of looking at bad typography (that those products inevitably have) every day would mortally offend and depress me.

I might seem a bit obsessive about this, but to me it's important. My diary is always on my desk in front of me and I look at it and use it many times every day. Is your new diary as important to you? Am I alone in this quest to have a choice when looking for diary perfection? (I suspect in other countries you actually do have a choice.)

I have my beautiful new diary here in front of me and I can't wait to start it. It makes me happy just looking at it.

Happy Friday!



On a Serious Note

27 November 2008

You know I go on about design and style, Christmas frivolities and other stuff that I love. But I see an image like the one below and read the article in the China Daily it absolutely sobers me up. The earthquake in Sichuan, China, in May this year has left millions homeless and now they brace for the coming winter. They aren't thinking about advent calendars and designer bandages, they're thinking about survival and a future with no certainties.

Image Source: China Daily.

A home-bound migrant worker from Sichuan carries her child in a railway station in Shenyang, Liaoning province on Friday, after failing to find a job in the city. Many people displaced by the May 12 earthquake have left their hometowns in search of work.

Especially now as the season for giving is upon us, it's important for us to give to others - like the people in Sichuan or needy people in our own country or community. Are you going to really give this year?




Image Source: Urban Outfitters

How great are these Artist Series Bandages by Kate Sutton from Urban Outfitters?

Embrace the pain. Turn a boo-boo into a woo-hoo! Each Artist Series Bandages tin contains an assortment of individually wrapped adhesive bandages, printed with a little something to take your mind off being terribly horribly injured.




Brooklyn artist Ann Wood is well known for her birds and bride and groom bird cake toppers, but it's her incredible ships that I love. That shipwreck image is just beautiful.

Image Source: Ann Wood

Visit Ann's website here and her blog here. Ann also has an etsy shop (but she currently doesn't have any stock there).



Textiles, Texture, Pattern & Porcelain

26 November 2008

Further to today's (unintentional) theme of hand knits, take a look at these wonderful porcelain pieces. Annette Bugansky was a costume designer and she now uses her love of textiles, texture and pattern to create tactile bowls, plates and vases that appear to have been knitted. Just beautiful!

Image Source: Design Nation

You can see Annette's ceramics, along with the work of other talented British designers here at Design Nation.



Throw It

While doing one of my regular cruises around the Anthroplogie website last week I came across this divine crocheted throw rug. I adore the randomness of the colour, pattern and scale of all the individual elements that make up this piece. It probably wouldn't work with the style of my home, but I'm lusting after it regardless.



How do you type the sound of a gasp?

I love that feeling when I see something that makes me gasp. That's what happened when I saw the gorgeous indigo and greys in this beautiful image on another of my must read blogs The Style Files... and then... I focused in on the knitted poufs... OMG... not only did I gasp, but my heart did a little flutter. The out of scale use of knitting (or is it crochet?), the chunky, handmade, textured, goodness of those poufs... I sooo love them.

Image source (top): The Style Files
Image Source (bottom) Heins Home

See these glorious creations here, from Dutch designer Ineke Visser.



Paper Christmas Wreath Tutorial

25 November 2008

Hello! I have moved my blog to a new home. You can find this tutorial at the red thread blog's new address. Just click here.


Christmas Cards and Another Advent Calendar Find

I had an urgent order for 75 of my Christmas Love Tree cards over the weekend. (yipee!)

While I was in Double Bay delivering the cards I stopped by the beautiful shop Plane Tree Farm and was delighted to find Maileg advent calendars. They had sold out of the little mice and their matchbox beds, but had the advent calendars and a wonderful range of Maileg pixies in various sizes, dressed in the most adorable knitted clothes. The advent calendars are big and so beautiful... from their toes to the tip of their hats they are about a meter and a half tall. You could stash all sorts of treats in their pockets.

And thanks to Bee who emailed me a link to some more advent calendars at Not On The High Street... including the Maileg pixie.
Here's the full range on Maileg's website.




24 November 2008

My usual morning ritual is to get my blogging done first thing then make a big fresh fruit and vege juice to drink while I have a quick read of some of my fave blogs.

So I cruise on over to The Design Files to find that Lucy has blogged about Jan von Holleben's Dreams of Flying today too. Snap!



Dreams of Flying

We all have them...

Since 2002 German photographer Jan Von Holleben has created a wonderful series based on that theme.



Udder Delights

As always I was excited on Friday to hear that the latest issue of small is online. And as always it is filled with beautiful imagery and products. Click here to read my last rave about small.

Image Source: small magazine

This beautifully styled fashion shoot, 'Portraits by Maxine Helfman', caught my eye with the gorgeous rich colours and the quirky little critters the models are holding.

It turns out that the Luna and Walking Hood dolls are by Aussie artist Fliss Dodd of Udder. Aren't they magical? Fliss is a mother of a 6 year old and a 3 year old and she started Udder after becoming frustrated with all the plastic and synthetic kids toys on the market. She wanted to be able to give her children a handmade toy made with love from fabric. Check out her fabric stash!

Image Source: Craft Victoria blog

This is what Fliss told me about her whimsical creations:
I have been making them for the past 2.5 years and what I love about what I do is creating toys from recycled fabrics and mixing them with new fabrics to create a piece to be loved which was made with love. Some fabrics (even clothing) which may of once been discarded are able to be given a new life. I love creating and fabric is so wonderful to work with because I can really recycle.
Image Source: Udder

I can really relate to what Fliss says about the value of handmade things for children (and for all of us). I want to instill that in my daughter and not have her fall prey to the proliferation of disposable plastic toys. Living in the city in this crazy world I think that's a hard task, but certainly not impossible. Seeing these Udder delights has inspired me to make some crazy mice for my mouse-crazy girl... now if I could just find the time.

For more Udder magic and whimsy check out Fliss's blog here, and there is an interview with Fliss on the craft Victoria blog here.

Udder's etsy shop will be updated with new things tomorrow - check it out here, and there is a "where to buy page" on the Udder blog.

The Winter 08 issue of small is here.



Kat Mcleod on The Design Files

21 November 2008

Image Source: The Design Files

After signing off with my I *Heart* Fridays post, I popped over to The Design Files (one of my daily reads) to find that Lucy has done a fantastic interview with fabulously talented illustrator Kat Mcleod. There's even a video of Kat's creative process. Check it out here.

The Michi Girl book - Like I give a Frock - which is illustrated by Kat is already on my Christmas wish list... hint, hint!

Now it really is goodbye until Monday.



I *Heart* Fridays: I *Heart* the work of Toshiyuki Fukuda

These gorgeous collage illustrations are by another of my favourite illustrators: Toshiyuki Fukuda. I love the textural and graphic quality of his illustrations and his sense of space and composition.

His work includes magazine editorial, cards, calendars, T-shirts, movie posters, and CD covers, and a children's book called Towerman by Marek Veronika.

Click here to see Toshiyuki Fukuda's illustration portfolio.

Happy Friday!
Have a wonderful weekend, see you on Monday.



And yet more wool felt bliss

Following up on my recent fixation with wool felt - see previous posts here and here - I was excited and inspired when I found filzfelt who sell gorgeous thick German wool felt in lovely colours. There are so many things I'd love to make with this!



Advent Calendar Tuesday... On Friday

It's getting so close to December that I wanted to show you my advent calendar finds before Tuesday.

I love this one, in fact I wanted to buy it last year but they sold out before I had a chance. It's made from timber and has sweet little draws with ribbon pulls. Available here from Papier D'Amour.

A few weeks ago I did a scout around etsy and surprisingly there wasn't much choice, but now there is a lot more - have a look here. These are my etsy picks.
(click on the photo captions below to go directly to the item on etsy)

Matryoshka advent calendar from Thymbyl designs.
Timber advent calendar from Scrapcolour.
Fabric slipper advent calendar from The Great Craft Disaster.

White burlap advent calendar from Tiny Nest Creations.
Advent calendar pouches from Nuvonova.

Paper advent calendar from Nouveau Designs.
And if you're making your own advent calendar these fab number tags from Shabby Chic Crafts would look great.



And the winner is...

The winner of my give away is comment number 33 from Bec in New Zealand.

Bec said: beautiful cards, im just a recent reader of our blog but it is so lovely and inspirational, thanks so much <3.>

Congratulations Bec, you've won a box of 12 Red Thread Christmas cards. S
end me an email with your address (in the left hand column of the blog click on the 'email me' button in the mailing list section) and I'll send the cards off to you.

Thanks to everyone who left a comment - I am truly blown away by your enthusiasm and support.




Lavender Dreams

20 November 2008

I've not been well this week... too sick to work and if truth be told I've really just dragged myself out of bed each morning to blog. So this afternoon I thought I'd indulge in a little blog cruising to cheer myself up and I found this gorgeous bedroom on Desire to Inspire. I do love our little house, but oh how I'd love to be in this bedroom today. All that white with a splash of the palest lavender is just too, too divine.

Images from Inspace via Desire to Inspire.



Don't forget the GIVE AWAY ends tomorrow

If you'd like the chance to win a boxed set of a dozen Red Thread Cards find out more and enter by clicking here to read the original post.



To Restore or Not to Restore...

This is my market find of the year.

How great is that?! And to think I was initially unsure whether to buy it or not. I'm so glad I did. It's in pretty good shape, but here's my dilemma... do I sand it back and do a basic restoration, or keep it in its rustic state? I'm really torn about what to do.

Since I took the photos I have removed the white remnants of some old stickers you can see on the right hand side of some of the drawers. I'm going to line the draws with some vintage wallpaper and of course replace the labels on the draws with my own. The previous owner stored some interesting things in there:
Suitcase wheels and towing straps
Sanding discs
Scrap plastic fly screens
Shoe repair accessories
Furniture rests
Roller blind drop cords
Scrap aluminium, lead and brass
My labels will be more like: japanese paper, cut hearts, vintage collage pieces, vintage ephemera.

So what do you think? Restore it or not?



What Money Can't Buy

Innate style. You either have it or you don't. Of course if you don't have it you can still be stylish, but there is a certain type of woman (and man) who exudes innate style - you can spot them a mile off.

I took this photo on the streets of Tokyo (my favourite city) earlier this year and I just love this woman's style. Her look appears to have been thoughtfully put together, but it doesn't look studied or try hard. I love the layers and colours. She looks so stylish and comfortable. It looks effortless.

One of my favourite pass times is people watching. If I had the time I could sit for hours and watch the passing parade. I think that's why I love The Sartorialist so much. If you don't already know it, check out The Sartorialist here - these are some of my favourite recent images:

Image Source: The Sartorialist

The woman in the red jacket... fab... I want to be her!



Inspiration: Vintage Children's Books

19 November 2008

This is another gem that my vintage-hunting pal Judy found for me recently. (I'm so lucky that Jude collects different vintage items to me - she always manages to unearth the best things) The book is called Listening For Sounds and the fantastic illustrations are by Art Seiden.

The illustration style is similar to that of one of my favourites: French illustrator Alain Gree. Alain illustrated, designed and wrote over 300 books in the 60's and 70's that were translated into 20 different languages.

Image Source: Alain Gree

You can read more about Alain, including an interview, and see examples of other work at his website here. His
work has recently been licensed by a Japanese company and the products are available for purchase outside of Japan here at Japanese Zakka Online Shop. This is a great site full of Japanese cuteness that posts worldwide.




organic shapes.

Pure white.

Bud vases.

$3.95 each.

Love them.