Archive | August 2012

la théière. l’épingle à cheveux. et le pot de vinaigre.

the teapot. the hairpin. and the jar of vinegar.

so now that we have an awesome tripod lamp, we felt it deserved a better bedside table home than the less-than-pretty ‘roadside boutique’ find that we had been using until now. we searched for inspiration online and visited our regular second-hand places but nothing really interested us.

so, along came the i-word (we needed to stock up on some more choc-covered oat biscuits anyway). there we picked up some very basic box-like structures to work with and make our own…

we thought of painting and/or staining, but researching wood stain options online, i became really fearful of ending up with a really yellow or really orange country-home-style result. not to mention the thick smell of chemical in our balcony-less apartment. so i looked up natural-ish home-made stains. taking tips from a load of different sites, i found a cheap, fairly easy and reasonably quick solution.

1. a strong tea. i brewed a super-strong pot of tea, let it cool and applied it to the untreated pine wood. this added tannins to the wood surface (pine seems to have less tannins than other species)
2. an iron solution. i filled a jar full of vinegar, added a chunk of steel wool and other random rusted or rustable metal bits: i used a washer, a bobby pin, semi-rusted nail and a rusted paintbrush. left it overnight.
3. applied the iron solution. let it dry. the tannins reacted to the iron solution and darkened, leaving the wood with a nice grey finish. yay!

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l’amour des triangles.

love of triangles.

the card i made for the engagement of 2 friends. triangular, multi-coloured fun.

merveille.

wonder. i quite like this word in french. i actually learnt it off the french movie posters for tim burton’s alice in wonderland. anyway, not what i mean to write about.

i’m reading this amazing book called i wonder by Marian Bantjes… it’s a small collection of her essays/observations on design and typography. amazing because it’s beautiful to look at and really interesting to read. there’s a couple of lines in the opening essay i wanted to share…

to take for granted is the death of wonder. when we take people, our environment and our lives for granted, our weariness and illusion of knowledge allows us to destroy the things our ancestors held so much in awe.
…..
curiosity, that once impious act that dares to question what was given, is the key to the fantastic.

Marian Bantjes


a few years ago i wrote a little thing on geometry and it’s symbolism and use in islamic art. Marian touches on this in her discussion and illustration, inspiring this little cut here.

and after attending a talk on geometry for national science week, i’ve also decided that i NEED to go Alhambra… apparently a huge inspiration to MC Escher and his work. eeep!

et la lumière fut.

and then there was light.

another lamp project! whoooop!

it’s been a while now since we decided we needed a reading lamp in our room. we’ve had a few parts sitting around the living room for a while – like the red and white cloth cord and vintage edison style incandescent bulb from the empirical style ebay store.

what we needed was a some structure that we actually liked the look of. difficult to look for when you don’t know what that might be. but, inspired one day by the amazing well of ideas that is scraphacker, i got seaching on ebay and came across a beauty of a tripod… true antique, metal and what i would call a steal. immediate purchase!

a visit to bunnings for the plug and another online order of a vintage style lamp holder from fat shack vintage in melbourne and we had all the bits!

enfin… voila!! lumière!

so yes, i do realise that indulging in an incandescent bulb is pretty naughty, as they have low energy efficiency, but it’s just so…. pretty…

les tissus africains.

not african tissues, but african fabric. (previously a point of confusion for me).

in the last few years, i’ve developed an even bigger appreciation for fabrics made with traditional techniques – whether it’s hand woven, hand dyed, hand embroidered… and so on. the last few big trips – turkey and india, i’ve made a big deal about picking nice fabrics, the right colours and designs to bring home to keep on hand for the right project.

i love love love the bold patterns and colours of african batik, so when it was decided we were going to paris, i knew i had to stop in at the african district of château-rouge to pick up some yardage. true, it would’ve been better to go straight to the source, picking up fabric in africa, but that trip is still some time away.

so far, i’ve only made some cushion covers and some little pouches trimmed with leather to mail out to some friends. i think i might want to also make a tote and/or a skirt… good thing they come in 6 yard lots!

outils. et le retour du cuir.

tools. and the return of leather.

after my first post on leather, i had a bit more of a play, but was pretty much limited to using v-tools. the other carving tools weren’t quite the right shapes to cut into the leather enough to make defined lines. nice curves require a steadier hand and more patience. things i’m not always in supply of. anyway, this is one of my funny pieces.

one morning a month or so ago, coming down the stairs for breakfast, T surprised me with a whole set of leather stamping tools which he picked up from Birdsall. SO SO exciting! we didn’t have any appropriate tapping object in our house – besides heels of shoes (aplenty!) or a very rusty hammer which had been living under the sink for a while. i had to wait to actually tool anything, but wasted no time in making a cosy home for all the bits using some fun geo print fabric and linen that i had in my fabric scrap bag.

the mallet eventually came a few weeks later, so finally i got to have a proper go at stamping… yaaay!

le Métro, quelle ligne?

the Métro, which line?

line 70!

T’s dad celebrated his 70th birthday this May, perfect reason for us to head back over to the EU for a whirlwind visit to Marymbes, Paris and dear friend, Berlin.

being born in paris and having a love of trains (not sure if the metro counts, but it’s close enough), i cut a card for T’s papa inspired by the art nouveau entrances of the Paris Métro.