August Break: Day 4





Life’s better with confetti


I’ve always had a thing for confetti. I have a distinct memory of going to one of my cousin’s weddings when I was about five or six, and busily scrambling all over the ground in a desperate attempt to collect all the tiny, pretty, falling colours. Why were these people tossing this stuff away? Crazy. So when I spotted Beci Orpin’s new (and first) book Find&Keep, I knew I’d find something to get giddy about.

On a purely superficial level, I really like how this book is ‘made’. It’s got a sturdy cover and satisfyingly rounded corners. But there’s plenty to like on the inside too, especially Beci’s general crafting philosophy about playing around with colour and enjoying the process of being creative.

The first half of the book looks at Orpin’s work; her (now) familiar painted, wooden mushrooms, her bold geometrics, and printmaking practice while the second half is made up of projects, including altering vintage postcards, creating an inspiration wall, 3D paper boxes, sewing cushions and paper garlands. More importantly, the instructions are clear and include step by step photographs.

Here’s what Orpin has to say on the subject of confetti:

“Confetti has become a bit of a rarity these days. The proper old-school tissue paper kind, anyway. Whenever I find a newsagent that carries it, I buy up big, and subsequently have a small cupboard full of confetti boxes.”

Amen to that.

Miss Gloss and co.



I’ve always loved taking photos, nothing fancy, just snaps. I got my first camera when I was about six. It was plastic, didn’t work, but I don’t recall minding too much. I’d pretend to take photos and the button made the right kind of sound. These days, between my iphone and my camera, I’m drowning in pictures. I’ve tried to wrangle them into some kind of order on my laptop, transfer them to the ipad, save them on countless little chips, put them in boxes, some in albums, but they’ve become as disposable as tissues. Now I’ve become ruthless and I’m  alarmed and how trigger happy my delete finger has become.

Then I found these photographs at Camberwell Market. I think I paid $6.00 for the packet. I can’t really explain why I felt compelled to by someone else’s memories, but I really wanted them. The more I looked at the sepia shots, the more I wondered about who these people were.

The images look like they were taken in the 1930s, but where this beach is, I have no idea. The packet was originally from a shop in Ballarat addressed to a Miss Gloss. What a great name. I love the one of the legs sticking up out of the sea and the simple shots of the waves. I bet they had a wonderful day.

I suspect Miss Gloss could never have imagined that these photos would end up on a contraption called the internet…for all the world to see. I hope she’s okay with that…



A month of A-Z

L is for Lemon and Cardamom biscuits thanks to the Hairy Bikers.

I made these last week – it’s a simple, no fail recipe and they are delicious.


– 225g softened butter

  • 150g caster sugar
  • 1 lemon zest only
  • 250g plain flour
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 3 tsp ground cardamom or 1 heaped tsp cardamom seeds, ground in a pestle and mortar


1. Preheat the oven to 190. Line 2 large baking trays with baking parchment.

2. Using an electric hand-whisk, beat the butter, sugar and lemon zest together in a large bowl until pale and fluffy.

3. Beat in the flour, almonds and cardamom until the mixture is well combined and comes together to form a stiff dough.

4. Roll the dough into 24 balls and place 12 on each baking tray – make sure you leave space between each one.

5. Press each cookie with a cookie stamp or the bottom of a glass to flatten and leave decorative indentations in the dough.

6. Bake a tray at a time for 12–14 minutes until the cookies are pale golden brown.

7. Leave them to cool on the tray for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. They will crisp up as they cool. Store the cookies in an airtight tin and eat within 7 days.

M is for Mint and Mermaids


Foggy London, a mystery, a mermaid… I haven’t started this book, but I can’t wait. It’s just gone to the top of my Summer Reading stack and I’ll be turning pages wearing Revlon’s Minted nail polish.

P is for Pom Pom


If you can make it, the Japanese have a book about it and happily, my arrived today. Can’t  read Japanese, but the diagrams are fantastic. Can’t wait to try making the apple.

Q is for quiet

I’m usually a good sleeper, but the other night I just could not get to or stay asleep. I got up at 1.30am and started reading The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe and time turned liquid. I finished the book in the total silence of the sleeping house – almost silent if it weren’t for Toby gently snoring in his basket. I really enjoyed the book, but reading it in the middle of night made it even better.

I is for Inspiration

When it comes to inspiration, I go through lots of different phases – sometimes it’s about colour (right now my eyes seek out teal, turquoise, orange and cream), other times I’m more in tune with music and film, photos, websites, collections, ephemera, holidays overseas (especially Japan). Sometimes the short walk to my local bookshop or passing by an amazing front-yard veggie patch can flick the switch. Other times I just don’t notice the good stuff and suddenly I worry that I’ll never feel that creative spark again, but then I read, see or hear something and suddenly I can’t wait to start a new project.

I have a very fat, black book full of pictures from magazines and websites that I’ve been collecting for years and now it’s a huge visual encyclopedia that’s a very personal snapshot of the sorts of creative flickers that fly through my mind.

IMG_1771 IMG_1770 IMG_1765 IMG_1767

I also turn time and time again to a certain collection of books – these titles always seem to generate new ideas.


52 Projects:Random Acts of Everyday Creativity by Jeffrey Yamaguchi

Pragmatic, fun, diverse range of kick-starter projects for any budget.

Camilla Engman, Uppercase

Gorgeous visual ‘look-book’ by innovative, Swedish artist/blogger.

Dottie Angel: The peachy, crafty world of Tif Fussell, Uppercase

Whimsical look at the creative life of Tif, with loads of candy coloured crochet photography.

Let’s Draw Happy People by Sachiko Umoto

I suspect this might be for children, no matter. I found this at the V&A gift store last year and have retuned to it many times. I can’t really draw, but  Sachiko’s very simple directions takes away the stress. Lots of fun.

Drawn In: A Peek Into The Inspiring Sketchbooks of 44 Fine Artists, Illustrators, Graphic Designers and Cartoonists by Julia Rothman

Sub title just about says it all. Great stuff.

In The Wilds by Nigel Peake

Inspired by nature, this book is full of incredibly intricate line-drawings of barns, fields, leaves and birds. Peake has an extraordinary ability to see the patterns inside form. I’ve looked at this book so many times…

Find&Keep by Beci Orpin

Opening this book is like falling into a jar of boiled lollies. It’s bright, cheery, and full of interesting projects, it’s also a glimpse into how Orpin creates such diverse work across dozens of mediums.

Thanks for reading…

H is for HOT!


It’s going to get to 37 today. I just made myself a coffee and glanced at the clock. It’s now 9am and it’s already 27degrees. I love warm, breezy summery weather but 37 with a northerly can feel oppressive.  There’s the beach, that can be fun, or the local pool, but you have to be in the right frame of mind.

One of the best things about being a kid was blithely playing down the beach (actually, the very beach in my photo), wilfully careless about sun-screen, time, tide, or sharks. Sure, the heat-stroke was drag, and that first hot shower stung like a million bees, but there was also red, drippy icy-poles, the tough soles of your feet, the slam of the fly-wire door and inevitable announcement that the “cool change” had arrived. When I’m finished with my coffee, I’m going to make some ice… and take cool weather comfort over at Attic24.