Monday, 30 March 2009

Sewings in fashion

Sewing is back in fashion. Sewing machine sales are up as more people turn to making or customising their own clothes. So here are a few fabric finds:
1 and 5 from Of Paper and Thread, in Western Australia
2, 4 and 6 from Fresh Fabrics in NSW
3, 7, 8 and 9 from Spice Berry Cottage in California

Recycled art

I caught the end of this piece on a program called Collectors this evening and was immediately struck by the beauty of these artworks. Lucia Usmiani uses recycled drink cans and bottles collected from household bins and transforms them into amazing works of art. Above the work is created by cutting up small pieces of aluminium drink cans, while below titled 'Wallflowers' is made from the bottom of PET plastic bottles pinned to the wall. 

Images from the Despard Galery, Hobart.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Find of the week: Day bed

I've be rediscovering the joys of Ikea this weekend. Our place in London was full of it so I've been a bit turned off for a while. But our friends have this lovely white day bed in their place and it would be just perfect for our new sunroom. This pic is from Harmonie Interieure.

Friday, 27 March 2009

Earth Hour and Month

Celebrate Earth Hour AND Earth Month. Switch off the light Saturday night from 8.30pm for Earth Hour to join 80 countries around the world in highlighting the importance of taking action on climate change. And next weekend you can do it again, but this time light your Aveda Lavender Candle. Each candle sold in April raises funds for Avedas Earth Month projects.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Looking good

Here are some good looking gift ideas that score 20/20 for originality and fun:
  1. This pendant light was made by covering an old shade with an eyechart, add a little trim and you're done, instant Drs office chic. Pic from Real Simple.
  2. Never forget where you left your glasses again. When glasses are in the tray the eye chart is in focus, when they aren't the text appears blurred. Unfortunatly only a concept at the moment from Fiona Carswell. Keep your eye out for it though.
  3. Test your friends vision on their birthday with the happy birthday eyechart card from creative monsoon. $40 for a mixed pack of six - so you can insult people all year round :)
  4. Multifunctional cushions. Add comfort to your home and keep a check on who might need glasses. $35 from Melbourne designer Aunty Cookie
  5. Heather Lins Home even throws in a pair of 3D glasses with their pillows!
  6. Not quite an eye chart, but eye catching all the same. This cute $15 poster is from Melbourne based The Love Shop

Monday, 23 March 2009

Babushka bling

Last week I mentioned the popularity of Babushka dolls at the moment. Well this just tops it all. If you have a spare $8000 plus dollars lying around you could pick yourself up this new Chanel Matrioshka handbag made from black resin and gold. You'll have to wait until mid May though - damn, would have gone so well with the outfit I was planning on wearing down the pub this evening. Read more on

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Latest work: Kookaburra collage

Just finished this weekend: a Kookaburra collage. 

Latest work

It's been a VERY busy week here. A total redesign of a beauty magazine has taken up most of my time, but we still managed to make some more progress on the rock pool photography project. I'll let you know when the results are available for sale on creative monsoon

Find of the week

This is definitely my favourite find for this week. This gorgeous photo was taken by Aussie photographer Jason Loucas and comes via the city sage blog. Two weeks to go until we move into our new home and Ive been thinking a lot about decorating. This is a must - a china hutch painted all white.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Babushka, babushka...ya-ya

These cute little guys are everywhere at the moment. Babushka dolls, (also know as matryoshka) originated in Russia and are most commonly know for the nesting dolls in decreasing sizes. But there are so many variations around:
  1. I love this take on the Babushka doll by Ferragamo Studio in Florida. She is hand embroidered and decorated with lots of different fabrics and ribbon. A very pretty gift, US$36.
  2. If you feel like making your own Babushka set, Matryoshka Dolls sells blank nesting dolls in a variety of shapes and sizes from as little as AU$6.75 - bargin!
  3. These Bandai Unazukin are tricky little things to track down. But worth the hunt I think - it's voice activated, nodding or shaking it's head in response. How cute?! Try looking for them on ebay. Around US$15.
  4. For the techno geek there is this slick black option featuring the various storage capacities in sequence.
  5. I couldn't contain myself when these arrived the other day - how gorgeous! They are part of a limited edition by Kenzo perfume to be released soon.
  6. Ravenhill in Norway have some beautiful hand-made dolls in a lovely selection fabrics. They're sure to bring a smile to your face. US$34

UPDATE: Even more Babushka. Check out these fantastic Babushka inspired lights by Russian designer Dima Loginoff

Wednesday, 18 March 2009


How gorgeous is this pic I got in an email from Anthropologie today? Lots of antique-style handles. 
When are they going to open a store in Australia??? Until they do apparently you can use this site: I guess its like having a friend there that you can send your order to and they'll post it on, but the postage is a bit steep. A friend might be better. Anyone in the US want to be my friend? :)

Monday, 16 March 2009

Illustrator Kat MacLeod

I have to say one of the nicest things about my work is I do come across some really lovely products. At the moment I'm loving Blooms thirst quencher vitamin e body cream, $24.
Not only does it smell great but the packaging has been beautifully illustrated by Kat Macleod
Kat has a fantastic portfolio full of colourful combinations of watercolour, pencil and collage. 

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Find of the week

Well I just bought one of these, so I'll let you know how it goes, but they look great. They are the work of UK based artist Thomas Forsyth. Bascially you just pop your pen or pencil in them and give it a twirl. Instant cool squiggly artwork. 

New work: Rock Pools

We've been out early this weekend taking some photos of the local rock pools. The light was great and its made for some lovely images. Keep an eye on the creative monsoon site when the prints go for sale. 

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Tea time

Perfect to help unwind after a stressful week - have a nice cup of tea:
  1. Full of vintage charm these cheerful tea pot tea-towels will have you putting the dishwasher to one side. Available through SITE
  2. A little birdie once told me someone very senior at the BBC kept a piece of wood on his desk to be used for colour matching his cups of tea - I hope someone's got him one of these since. How do you take yours? 
  3. I'm not so sure about the ants, I think they might get mixed up with the real ones around here. But Bailey Doesn't Bark has some beautiful hand decorated cups and saucers to choose from.
  4. On our recent visit to the Canberra markets we came across Glenbog Fine Teas. They have an amazing selection all very reasonably priced. Try the little tiny sample packs to start with - we loved the 'Daintree' and 'Aussie Bush Blend' teas. Or for something really different try 'Camp Fire' with its lovely smokey flavour. (ps. they post to Sydney)
  5. and 6. You can't beat a cup of tea made in a good old fashioned teapot served in a good old fashioned cup and saucer. Well, Nina In Vorm and Esther Coombs thought you could. So they took the old fashioned teapot and cup and saucer, and made new ones out of them! Fabulous!

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Jen's take over

Have you ever googled your name, see who comes up, what they do? Funnily with my name they're mostly artists, designers and illustrators. And look what I found today! A whole Jen-eration of artists. Maybe next time they'll make it Jen 12 (although I prefer Jenn)

Monday, 9 March 2009

Find of the week

I decided because I seem to spend so much time hunting for interesting things on the net I'd pick out my favourite find each week. Might be a photo, a place, an idea... anything.
So to kick it off what really caught my attention the past week was this fabulous Nautilus Light by New Zealand designer Rebecca Asquith. Prices start from NZ$460.00 and they ship worldwide. 

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Sunday snaps

Last week the lovely sfgirlbybay was kind enough to feature some of my photos on her blog along with other peoples shots from all over the world taken on that Sunday.

Well I didn't think I'd have anything to submit this weekend, Mardi Gras kept us out till late on Saturday night and the weather looked a pretty gloomy today. But we went for a little drive to check out some rock pools for a future photo shoot and I made sure I had my camera phone. 

This shot is Mahon Pool in Maroubra. It started to pour with rain as soon as we got there and walking along the grassy cliff top, wind howling and totally drenched, I felt a bit like a character lost on the moors in a Jane Austin novel (although I doubt women wore fluro beach towels over their heads in those days). But, I managed to get a couple of shots and I've had a play around with them this afternoon. I think there are some good ideas for future work. 

Art Express: Brodie Murray

I love aerial views, photos or paintings. I think its the way it gives such a totally different perspective on an otherwise ordinary scene. Brodie Murray's work 'Urban complaxity, rural simplicity, innate automatism' are a bird's eye view on landscape. 

There was something about them that reminded me straight away of John Olsons paintings, in particular '5 Bells' at the Art Gallery of NSW. Olsen's paintings often implied an aerial view.

If you're in need of some inspiration then check out Earthsong by Bernhard Edmaier. It's full of stunning aerial photography. 

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Degas Exhibition - Canberra

There are only a couple of weeks left to see Canberra's Degas - Master of French Art exhibition before it closes March 22nd. 

As with every popular exhibition there were big crowds gathered around the most well-known works making it difficult to get a good look. And the lighting certainly didn't help much, it was one of the darkest exhibitions I've seen (or not seen) for some time. Some notable works were missing, there was certainly a lack of his famous 'bathing' works. But it is understandable, I doubt many galleries are keen to hand over some of their most popular paintings to the other side of the world. 

I did enjoy it though, and it's certainly worth a look if your around Canberra. But what was with the frilly knickers in the gift shop? 

Now I'm not usually one to complain about a gift shop after an exhibition, nothing wrong with a few postcards, and I confess I have the Mona Lisa as a fridge magnet. But there was something not quite right about this one. Maybe it was that there were more people rummaging through the fake pearl bracelets and frilly knickers than actually looking at the paintings? I think I just thought they could have done a lot better, there are far more interesting and less tacky things they could have come up with. I decided to have a quick hunt on the net for some better options:
  1. This lovely Dahlia flower clip by mamapatrice was inspired by Degas and would certainly top off any little ballerina's outfit. 
  2. Gorgeous Degas buttons!  Pretty up your hat, bag, jacket- anything. Only US$9.90 for 11 buttons from Buttonbistro7.
  3. These fabulous cushions from Bonjour Mon Coussin will bring some Parisian glamour to your home. 
  4. Or add a touch of je ne se qua with this 8x8 inch Paris print from us - creative monsoon.
  5. Perfect for unleashing your inner ballerina, this beautiful feather headband from stylesmith is a steal at only US$25!
  6. Chasing Lightning Bugs in Canada has these amazing envelopes copied from an old 1909 Paris map. Much better than cheap frilly knickers and fake pearls!

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Art Express: Angus Hardwick

More from Art Express: I was very interested in some of the materials Angus Hardwick used to construct his work - 'Traces: stains, processes, memories' .  I've used perspex in the past for my own work. It's a tricky material to work with, especially if you need to drill it, it cracks so easily. 
I thought Angus had an interesting idea to cover the canvas with a delicate trasparent material and then sew into it. I can think of all sorts of interesting works to try this out on.
Don't forget Art Express runs at the Art Gallery of NSW until 9th April. Check it out if you can!

Monday, 2 March 2009

Sydney Summer Nights

Summer might be over but there are still warm nights in Sydney. We're off tonight for some moonlight cinema and the other evening went to Luna Park where we took this ferris wheel pic. Prints are available on the creative monsoon site - which needs some serious updating. I've been so busy with buying a house I haven't had chance to work on the site, so there is STILL a 50% off jewelry sale! Get in quick before I get my act together :)

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Kookaburra sihouette

I thought I'd try this simple idea of painting a bird silhouette onto a material background to get back into some artwork. It's really easy to do, but pretty effective.