Wednesday, August 31, 2011

a closet clean out...

Spring is just around the corner and I'm spring cleaning! The most recent area to get attention in my mission to organize different zones in my home has been my closet. For the last few days I have been trying to get on top of my laundry so I can really understand exactly what clothes I have and what I really wear/ no longer wear. I have found in the past I have been so slack with my washing that I have bought myself a new white t shirt only to find one at the bottom of the laundry pile that I had totally forgotten about! It took me the most part of yesterday (in between kindergarten drop offs and the usual housework) to give my wardrobe a complete overhaul but it was worth the effort and I am feeling very satisfied.

My ultimate dream would be to have a beautiful dressing room, with plenty of hanging space and shelves for my shoes and bags etc, but that dream will have to wait awhile. The rental house we are in has a row of built-in wardrobes although I must confess that I actually take up two wardrobes in our house, one for my day - to - day clothes (half of the built-ins shown in the photos) and another freestanding wardrobe for my party dresses... not that I attend too many dressy events these days!

The first step in the wardrobe spring clean involved getting realistic about what I really wear and what can actually be given away to charity or thrown out. I always find this culling process hard as it is so tempting to hang onto things "just in case". There are a few things that I have popped into a suitcase under my bed (to decide at a later date ) as I just couldn't bring myself to get rid of them even though I never wear them and probably never will.

Once the culling was done I pulled out all the hangers that didn't match and hung my clothes by colour few (we mondocherry girls colour co-ordinate everything!! ) I know that hanging by type (e.g. skirts together then shirts etc) works better for some people. I have tried a few different boxes to store my shoes (as you can see from the bottom of the cupboard) but have now discovered these clear plastic shoe drawers which are expensive but worth the money as they are so much easier to use, look neater and seem as though they will last well. I will treat myself to these gradually!

I'm not sure how long my wardrobe will stay this way, but it definitely made choosing my clothes for the day much more enjoyable.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

vintage tags galore...

We have been very busy creating vintage gift tags for wholesale orders - these ones are made from various botanical books published in the 1950's and 60's. After sewing a few dozen tags I start to go a bit cross-eyed from concentrating so hard on all the curves! They turn out beautifully though, so are well worth the effort.

Enjoy your weekend!


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

embroidery hoops + doilies = art...

I find it hard to walk past a pretty vintage doily in a thrift shop or garage sale as I love all the variations in the designs and the muted colours. Recently I bought myself a pile of different sized embroidery hoops in the sales and today I stretched a few pretty doilies to fill a blank spot on my living room wall. I tried not to stretch them too tight as I didn't want to force them out of shape, and I left the excess on the back rather than trimming it off so I can re-use them at a later date. I thought about painting the hoops but decided I liked the natural look. Nothing like a quick an easy decorating project for instant gratification!!!

Monday, August 22, 2011

pinks and aquas...

We love the pretty combination of pinks and aquas - it never fails to brighten up a dull morning! We all have little spots around our homes where we have ever-changing displays. It is amazing what a difference a new tablescape makes to a room and is a very cheap way to add some new life to a room. Sometimes it is as easy as picking a couple of colours and walking around the house collecting items in those shades. Books, vases, coloured egg cups, jewellery, toys, a group of coloured pencils, balls of wool, and of course flowers.... almost any items look good together when grouped by colour.

Hope you have a great week!

Friday, August 19, 2011

straw and paper bows...

I did a day of relief teaching at my children's Kindy today and a lot of craft ideas came flooding back to me - art and craft was always one of my favourite activities. I often used to make little bows or butterflies for the collage table from straws and lolly wrappers, and these paper versions are a twist on that idea. Just concertina-fold a little rectangle of paper and thread it through a short piece of straw (use plastic straws as paper ones unravel!) You can also use fabric, tissue paper or even aluminium foil instead of paper, and get a very different look.

There are loads of ways you can use these little bows... attach them to a present, stick to a paper bag for a party take home bag, thread onto string for a garland, hang from an embroidery hoop to create a mobile, jazz up labels on boxes or baskets, or just make a whole collection of different colours and send to your kindy or pre-school for their collage table!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

from around the world...

When we first moved to Dubai three years ago, we just brought over our suitcases and a few other essentials, and left most of our furniture and bits and pieces in storage in Australia. Like most expats living over here, we are renting a unit in a high-rise apartment block, and at first it felt very cold and impersonal. A few frantic days of shopping meant that we had all the necessary furniture, but without all the personal items and extras, it didn't really feel like home.

My husband's job involves a lot of travel and sometimes I tag along too. Everywhere we go I seem to pick up a few items, some bought and some found, which are adding much needed colour and personality to our apartment and come with lots of happy memories. Here are a few of my treasures...

Colourful fabrics bought in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania - the place I met my husband almost 40 years ago! We went back for a visit last year and checked out all our old haunts. I hang a few favourite fabrics from a ladder in our entrance hall, and have made others into cushions, and the colours go perfectly with artworks from Clare's older children.

Beautiful handmade dolls from a walking trip we took to San Pedro de Atacama in Chile. I just couldn't stop buying these from the little track-side stalls as each one had its own personality!

A book from my childhood, "Babies of the Woods" by Maria Tyrrell with sweet illustrations by Eileen A Soper. I particularly love these gorgeous birds and display the book open on a side table with a few different bird ornaments.

I seem to be amassing a collection of painted eggs which are arranged by colour throughout my unit (maybe the girls' get their colour obsessions from me?!) Blue has always been my favourite.

Probably the most obscure of my "treasures" - a very old copy of "a series of tables for ready reference for the timber and allied trade" that I discovered at a junk shop in the UK for a couple of pence. I don't really have a clue what it was for, but just love all the scribbled calculations in the back flyleaf.

I have always loved walking along beaches searching for shells and sea glass, and have a few displays around my apartment of my beach combing finds one the last few years, mainly from the shores of Oman.

What are your favourite treasures?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

new grey butterflies...

I having been working hard on finishing this extra large butterfly artwork to take to the Boutique Markets, Brisbane this Sunday morning. This particular artwork has been months in the making as we have had to search through hundreds of damaged children's books from the 50's, 60's and 70's to find just the right shades of grey, french grey and linen. The butterflies have all been handcut, stitched onto squares of text from one of my favourite stories, Anne of Green Gables, and are now laid out so I can juggle the colours around. It usually takes me a while to work out the perfect layout and it involves lots of walking round the table, squinting (not a pretty sight!) and even taking photos until I find the perfect combination. It will then be framed in an Australian-made, white box frame which will let the butterflies star.

One of our aims at mondocherry is to only create items that we would love to hang in our own homes. This particular artwork would look perfect in my living room which, at the moment, has french grey walls, dark grey sofa covers (I change them over to white in summer) and a mix of grey and linen cushions. I will try to resist the temptation to let it live in there for a while!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

keeping their toes warm...

I certainly can't complain about winters in Brisbane. For the last few weeks the days have been sunny and an almost balmy 23 degrees - almost like summer temperatures in some parts of the world. However, it does cool down at night and, as our draughty old home is not heated, I totally understand why my children are reluctant to get out of their beds in the mornings. My two biggest girls have wanted a rug in their room for ages but I have been reluctant to buy them one - partly because we are (hopefully) renovating soon and they will get a bigger room, and partly because I am commitment-phobic when it comes to buying rugs. My problems? I don't like a whole lot of pattern on my floors, I change the accent colours in a room often, and the neutral toned rugs are sometimes hard to clean and/or scratchy! So, when I found this pretty crocheted throw for $2 in a thrift shop, I knew it would be the perfect stand-in. With a non-slip protecter underneath to keep it in place, it fits perfectly between their beds and is keeping their toes warm while they choose their clothes. It also matches their Greengate quilts beautifully.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

baby shoes...

The re-organisation of my home continues! After getting my craft space all organised, I have moved on to sorting through my children's bedrooms. Top of the list today was sorting through their clothes, weeding out all the ones they have grown out of. I had a little sentimental moment when I looked through the box in which I keep a few special outfits from when my two kids were tiny babies - I can't believe how fast the time has gone! I had a couple of empty frames and so decided to display two pairs of my daughter's first shoes to remind me of those early days. They look very cute on her dressing-up cupboard along with her dolls from Retro Bird.

Friday, August 5, 2011

what are you doing tomorrow...?

We will be at the Mathilda's Markets with lots of new work and we would love to see you there.

Wishing you all a great weekend.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

breaking the rules...

We've heard that displaying flowers near ripening fruit is a no-no as fruit gives off the gas, ethylene, which causes flowers to wilt much faster than normal. However, sometimes it is worth breaking the rules, as flowers and fruit can look so beautiful together.

While on the subject of flowers, Sue did a bit of online research after all the flower heads from a bunch of roses disappointingly drooped over after just a day. She plunged the stems in boiling water until they stood up again and then re-cut the stems under the water and the roses went on to last a whole week!