Monthly Archives: April 2012

Rock Hard Interiors – Concrete with Style

Concrete Mixer VI - Dina Haddadin

When you think concrete you would not generally think about a fine interior product, it is historically a medium which is used in large construction and exterior projects.  However it appears that architects, architects and designers are using concrete in a way which celebrates a different aspect of the highly sustainable material.  Rather than just being the strength behind a structure or surface, concrete is more and more becoming part of the art and design in it’s own right.  Designers architects and artists are embracing it’s versatility.

Tove Adman

Swedish designer Tove Adman began her career as an artist. She began as a sculptor, with many of her pieces resembling objects that you would find in the home, this led to a natural progression from concrete sculptor to concrete home ware designer.  Whilst the products are made in Sweden it is possible to purchase here in Australia through Nordic Fusion.  Below is a small snippet of Tove Adman’s range.

Concrete candelabra’s to concrete based stools….

… The “Edison Lamp”, concrete clock and book stands.

Edison lamp - concrete - Tove Adman Tove Adman wall clock - concrete - Tove Adman Tove Adman bookrest - concrete - Tove Adman

Francesco Passaniti

French painter, designer and sculptor Francesco Passaniti,  makes just about everything out of concrete. When many of us think of concrete we think of a heavy, cold and relatively soulless medium.  Francesco avenges to wage a war on this perception, by striving to abolish the many misconceptions about concrete. As you can see below he has taken the grey and added a palette which instantly warms up the cold persona.

Dina Haddadin

Dina Haddadin is an architect and a growing self-taught visual artist, living and working in Jordan. Her paintings below (and at the very top) use combinations of common raw materials of everyday life, such as unrefined cement, chalk, concrete and coffee. You can find more about her philosophy on her website.

"Hero I" - Concrete, Coffee and chalk on wood

Concrete Mixer II - Concrete, coffee and chalk on wood

It is still hard to get away from the industrial aspect of the concrete no matter how it is moulded, but if the industrial look is what you are looking to achieve then why not embrace the heart of it with a little bit of “grey matter”.

On with the colourful journey………..


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Sheeping it up – Quirky winter woollies for the home

Photograph by Stephen Lewis for UGG Australia photoshoot (source

For those of us in the Southern hemisphere, the Autumn months are upon us and will soon be followed by the winter….. there is a depressing thought.  But never fear, winter woolies are not just for us to adorn, we can also warm up our interiors with some pretty cosy knitted accessories (sheep not included). Time to grab some knitting needles and get Grandma to  teach you how to knit one pearl one, to make your winter a little warmer!

But if knitting is not your thing then here are some who have done the hard yards for you.

Melanie Porter

After 10 years working as a knitwear designer for a number of international fashion brands, in 2008 Melanie Porter turned her expertise to furniture, creating one-off contemporary designs from antiques sourced at auctions and markets across the UK.  The ultimate in knitted upcycling!


Melanie undertakes the entire process herself.  Everything, from the restoration and upholstering to the individual, crocheted buttons, is done by hand.


Pudelskern are an Austrian based company made up of a team with backgrounds in architecture, design and cabinet making.   They are very scientific in their approach with part of their studio dedicated to a material experimentation lab ensuring that their designs are fully tested.


The Granny Light

Using sustainable materials and hand craft skills they aim to try and tell a story with all that they create. the granny light comes with this little story.

“Granny is knitting while she listens to your troubles, your newest adventures and heartbreaking stories. Granny gives you a hot chocolate to warm up from cold winter weather. Granny reads out a fairy tale to the children. Granny is a reminiscence of childhood.”

Below “feeler light” and “Fat sheep rug” 

 feeler     fat sheep

 Crafted Systems – Aurelie Tu

Crafted Systems are a US based company who specialise in products made from 100% wool felt.  The products are unique and modern in style.  Their aim is to invigorate handcraft in the context of today’s society. Instead of using highly skilled artisans, they partner with the YWCA women’s shelter to create their products, helping the women to develop skills which in turn helps their transition by economically enabling and empowering them, and giving them collective purpose and creative outlet.  What a great initiative!!!!


Claire-Anne O’Brian

Irish born, UK based textile designer Claire-Anne O’Brian plays with technique and scale to create playful modern and tactile fabrics for interiors. I really like the chunky designs, they certainly look very comfy too.

I also love her quirky jumper chair cover, perfect for double use.  You can wrap up outside and then use to cover the uncomfortable chair when you reach the inside. (“Chairwear” – below).  Finally and excuse for leaving clothes on the furniture!


Christien Meindertsma

And last…. but not least to add a little ball of colour to your room how about the Urchin Pouf  or  cozy up on the Aran Rug by Christien Meindertsma. The perfect place to perch or rest those weary Ugg Boots!…


Naomi Paul

UK based textiles designer Naomi Paul creates some truly unique textiles for interior products and spaces. they are very clean and modern in their style yet are created using crochet and knitting methods of yesteryear.
G L Ü C K   P E N D A N T  H A N N A Pendant S O N N E  Pendant
So no excuses for not being cosy this winter…… on with the colourful journey.

Tags: , , , , , ,

The Secret Life of A Royal Cook

My Great Grandma Ada Parsons

With excitement mounting in the UK for the Diamond Jubilee, I thought it time to share a story.

As a child growing up in the UK I knew that my great grandmother was a very special lady, but unfortunately I never got to meet her. That is not to say that I grew up ignorant of her past, to the contrary, I loved the stories as they came out about her life, none more so than those that related to her job as head cook to the Earl of Strathmore, who was the father of the late Queen Mother “Lady Elizabeth Bowes Lyon”, where she met and married my Great Grandfather, who was the Head Gamekeeper.

The Royal Cook Book Circa 1912

Thankfully for us my eccentric Great Aunt (their eldest Daughter) was what could only be described as a collector of all things (more commonly known as a hoarder) and so we are still in possession of many memento’s such as her cook book, which I have to say is very exotic for the period given we are talking over 100 years ago now.


I also had heard rumours that we still had in our possession a piece of the Queen Mother and Prince Albert’s wedding cake from 26th April 1923 ( so it would have been their 89th wedding anniversary today)….. Having seen this with my own eyes I can confirm it’s existence (see above!).  Not too edible now, so one can only imagine how much alcohol was in the mix to preserve it to the current day. My Great Grandparents received an invitation to go to the viewing of the presents at Buckingham Palace together with the cake pictured above. There are also many letters such as the one below requesting a couple of extra rabbits for supper!


I remember a school project where we were asked to interview our grandparents about their childhood.  I remember having to give my presentation to the class, recalling a story where my grandmother had played with Princess Elizabeth (the current Queen) as a little girl. They were playing a game which needed some water to float boats that they had made.  Some how they built a channel from the farm yard pond to fill their little harbour, but in the excitement of the game forgot to block off the channel and managed to drain the pond.  Nanna got in a little bit of trouble for that!!! Needless to say I think a few of my class mates thought I was making it all up!!!

Lady Cavendish Creme Brulee

So now I have had my trip down memory lane, I thought I would have a look at some of the fun items out there to celebrate the day.

 Lucinda Chambers

Settle down with a cuppa and a slice of cake to watch the celebrations with this handcrafted cushion and wall hanging from a range by British Vogue fashion Director Lucinda Chambers.

Jubilee Jubilee Cushion

Talking Tables

Talking Tables have all of those cute little accessories for your street party, I love the street party carriage vases which are made of watertight cardboard and the cupcake thrones!

Jubilee Cake Pop Tops  Royal Carriage Teapot Vase  Cupcake Thrones

Little Bundles

Well you cannot have a Jubilee without a little bit of bunting to adorn the place Little Bundles is a UK based company which produces bespoke bunting which is on sale from Etsy.
Union Jack Jubilee bunting - 3 meters of UK cool Britannia

Fit for a Queen

Last but not least I could not go past mentioning my beautiful Uncle and Aunt who have recently published the recipe book together with a historical account of all of the letters and stories of which I have only merely touched upon above.  This can be purchased on or Foyles. Pefect for making authentic royal treats for the celebration day.


 However you choose to celebrate… wave a flag for me…..on with the colourful journey…..

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Lunch Break – Glamming up the sandwich

OK so this is not technically about interior design….. but it does have a hint of colour and travel attached.  The main incentive behind this post is that the majority of my posts spark that….. “why did I not think of that????” question in my head ( although admittedly I would need to have a great deal of talent to administer most of the creativity that my posts report on), but is is not in a jealous way (well …. ok……maybe a little touch of green). I just love to learn and share some of these fab creatives ideas. Oh and … maybe it does include another one of my loves…FOOD. Yum!!!


One such person that has caught my attention is American Tiffany Iung, who armed with her pink upcycled delight of a bike, delivers sandwiches out of the back of a vintage suitcase around the streets of Paris. Even better the sandwiches are made from market ingredients.  The sandwich combinations are a feature of her blog which is linked to the Tifamade company website.

You can also grab some cakes which are all made from organic ingredients…yum.

I think I will have to put a mental note to call her for a picnic when next in Paris (alas that may be some time!!)

recipe from tifamade's blog

For those who cannot quite get to Paris to pick up their lunch you can visit Tifanny’s blog for her recipes which have a twist of American Parisian charm. You can also grab yourself some glam lunch box accessories…. who said the home made sandwich had to be boring!

Lunch Skins are the perfect accessory for those who have a green conscience.  Re-useable and funky, they are bound to make even the most dreary of sandwiches more appealing


Or for those who like to get out the needle and thread you may want to check out The Haby Godess blog spot for their pretty cute lunchbox kit which includes all that you would need…

Am also loving these sandwich box designs by Emma Smart for UK supermarket chain Asda. Brings a whole new experience to eating your supermarket prawn and mayonnaise sarnie!



Well I hope you enjoy your lunch however it may be delivered…. on with the colourful journey……….

Tags: , , ,

Sweet Surprise

When I woke yesterday morning a little message awaited me that I had been nominated for an award. How excitement!!!!.  It is pretty cool when you realise that, what you thought was just you rambling on, is enjoyed by others too!

The lovely nominator was apartmentsilike, thank you so much for your kind nomination, and incidentally your blog is “beautiful” too.

Well before I sound like I am giving a bad Oscars speech I had best move on the the important bit, following the rules:

“The rules of the award acceptance are to thank the presenter and link their blog, and to nominate and link other blogs that you truly enjoy, re-blog because you just think they’re so awesome and wish you thought of the post sooner, or just genuinely enjoy getting lost in the beauty of the blog they present. Send your nominees a message with a link to your nomination post to let them know how much you appreciate them.”

So here goes…. the winners are…… drum roll

This Sydney Life – for keeping me fully up to date on the city I love and finding those little gems to tell us about.

Fun and Fabulous – for those perfect one liners in the form of a beautiful photo

 Hovercraftdoggy – Again amazing photo’s.

Ingenious Look – for their great little (and not so little ideas)

 The Design Tabloid – If only you were based in Sydney! Love the Decor Diva

Wai-Yuk Kennedy for her really beautiful talent – oh and some really amazing chinese recipes

 And last but not least Every Day Sparks – who has a quirky edge to make you smile.
I could go on…. seriously this was hard to single out.  Thanks to all who come visit this little birdcage every now and again, and I hope to see you here again soon.
On with the colourful journey…………………..

Posted by on April 24, 2012 in Blogging Awards


Tags: , , , , ,

Paper Creation – Anna-Wili Highfield

Owl - Anna-Wili Highfield (source

Taking something as simple as a piece of paper and turning it into something beautiful demands such creativity and, I would suspect, a huge amount of patience.  Starting her career as a scenic artist for Opera Australia, the Sydney based artist Anna-Wili Highfield shows all of these skills in making sculptures of animals from paper and from copper pipe. Understandably Anna’s work is made on a commission basis and she has provided sculptures for companies such as Hermes, the World Wildlife Fund and Anthropologie, as well as many private commissions in Australia and across the world.

Horse Masks for Hermes - Commission in 2011

Panda - commission for the World Wildlife Fund

Paper Sculptures

The paper sculptures are created from archival grade cotton paper, this paper is then painted to give additional texture with colour and then hand sewn together, to create the figure of an animal or bird.  They are stunning, don’t you think?

Copper Pipe

Anna also uses copper pipe to form some of her sculptures.  The copper pipe is bent and manipulated to create sculptural forms which resemble line drawings. Anna also introduces other elements into the sculptures such as bark and driftwood to make something even more special.

So amazing, definately put my paper folding to shame!!  I hope you enjoy.  If you are interested in seeing more of Anna-Wili Highfields work you can see more at her website

On with the colourful journey…………..


Tags: , , , , , ,

Dedicated follower of fashion – Lacing the interior

It is fair to say that interior style is generally a dedicated follower of fashion.  Trends that materialise on the catwalk are generally taken as inspiration for the home, whether it be the whole theme, texture, colour or a couple of accent or signature pieces.

Reading the fashion magazines of the moment the big item is lace, from clothing to fingernails (yes you heard me correctly OPI have a lesson in creating lace covered nails), not my thing although on a practical side they would help stop your nails break!

OPI Lace nail

Emilio Pucci - Lace Dress Spring 2012 collection

Moving swiftly from the catwalk, and before you cut up your Gran’s best lace curtains,  here are some of my faves from the world of interiors:

Doreen Westphal – Concrete Lace


I especially love designers who take the inspiration a little bit further and create something that is that little bit unique.  Once such designer is Doreen Westphal, East German by birth, Doreen Westphal trained as a tailor before moving to London to study theatre design after the Berlin Wall came down.  Now settled in the Netherlands Westphal has created some amazing handmade pieces. Once of her ranges are these stunning concrete lace suspensions, which uses fine steel cable or ribbon suspensions that are cast into the concrete. What do you think?

Laura Marsden

eternal-lace-cushion-detail eternal-lace-cushions Selection of cushions

Laura Marsden is a British textile designer with a social conscience.  During her MA Laura developed a way to recycle discarded plastic bags to become home and fashion accessories.   The technique which Laura names as “Eternal lace” uses a combination of hand-stitch and needle lace-making techniques combined with various processes to change the properties and appearance of the plastic bags.  All of Laura’s work is hand made and one off.


For those Sydneysiders – Laura has been selected as a finalist,  International Lace Award, Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, Australia – you can read more about this exhibition at the following fab Sydney blog “This Sydney Life”.

And for a little lace accessory

Have You Met Miss Jones

Based in Sydney, originally specializing in white bone china Have you met Miss Jones has expanded to include clay pottery, capiz shell, metal and woodwork. The metal lace work votives and beakers below are an inexpensive and subtle way to add a hint of lace.  There also loads of other cute pieces, so the online store is well worth a visit.

 Beaker Vase Large  Calabash Large Round Votive Large

Charlene Mullen

From her training in both illustration, print and  an established career in the fashion industry, UK designer Charlene Mullen creates heartfelt textiles for the home and commercial space.  Inspired by Folk and cottage industry style Charlene has some quirky and beautiful designs.

lace bird pillow

lace bird pillow - source

Charlene Mullen Throw - source

OK…OK…. this is not strictly lace but I could not resist (isn’t it cute?)…. On with the colourful journey


Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,