Tag Archives: Birdcage Design

Secret Leaves – The Journey of the Journal

Journals or visual diaries are effectively one of the main memory banks for those with a creative mind… whether it be to store ideas for your next block buster movie, best selling novel or masterpiece to be hung in the Tate or the Louvre… or for us mere mortals to collect ideas and thoughts as they flow to help generate new ideas… that may turn into that next block buster movie, best selling novel or win the Turner Prize.

As kids we were always encouraged (probably to keep us quiet) to make scrap books of our holidays….and we were marked down for not having a visual diary to support art work submitted for art exams or course work…. I have maintained a couple of visual diaries over time, and also use them for client work to help me visualise ideas and colours, but ….. to be honest I would probably say that a couple of pages in every 100 pages would I ever consider showing or publishing…. although I will brave a few before you see how the professionals do it….

“Mexican Inspiration”

Citrus inspired doodles…..


Render and mood board inspirations

Well while perusing the electronic journal of ideas that is the World Wide Web… I stumbled upon the world of journalling…. and my word are they pretty amazing!!….I think I definitely need to step up my game.  Here are a couple of my favourites… let me know what you think….

1000 Journals


Started as a result of a fascination behind what people scrawl on toilet doors the founder wanted to create a book and encourage the readers to become the contributors. The idea grew until it was decided that 1000 blank journal books which travelled around to collect a variety of individual thoughts and opinions would be the way to go…Officially launched in August of 2000, with the release of the first 100 journals in San Francisco. the founder gave them to friends, and left them at bars, cafes, and on park benches. Shortly thereafter, people began emailing to ask if they could participate. And so the roller coaster began….

“The 1000 Journals Project is an ongoing collaborative experiment attempting to follow 1000 journals throughout their travels. The goal is to provide a method for interaction and shared creativity among friends and strangers.Those who find the journals add something to them. A story, drawing, photograph, anything really. Then they pass the journal along, to a friend or stranger, and the adventure continues….the journals have reached over 40 countries and every US state. They’ve come to rest in hostels, cafes and law offices; been the subject of treasure hunts, brought to remote mountaintops, abandoned at airports and stolen at gunpoint.”


The founder states that you probably now have more chance of winning the lotto than getting hold of one of the 1000 journals…. but they have created a new initiative called 1001 Journals where you can sign up for a journal or launch your own.. Love it!!! Be warned you can get lost for hours on this site!

Pam Garrison

art journal,visual journal

Based in Southern California in the US Pam has the most vibrant website full of colourful shots of her journals… I just love the covers on their own. Pam also has courses which, unfortunately for us Sydneysiders, are in the US, but she is hopefully looking into starting some e courses. I can just take hours of inspiration from her pages.




Even better is seeing how these journals translate into some of the products that she sells on Etsy…. I just love these little papier mache enchanted forest creatures.

Enchanted forest paper mache collection

On with the colourful journalling………..

Posted by on August 20, 2012 in Art, Colour, Style File, Things I love, Trends


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Fish and Chips, Winking Prawns and Beach House Chic

Ok so the beaches in the UK are not exactly like the fair Australian or Mediterranean shores, but skimming over that little point, they do have their own certain charm… whether it be the image of the 1950’s postcards with the rather rotund sunburnt caricatures with knotted hankies on top of their heads, or the romantic brisk walk on a cold morning walking the labrador hopping over the driftwood and picking up shells.

Along with the seaside towns comes one of the national dishes, good ol’ fish and chips best served in the paper it is wrapped (with a good sprinkle of Sarsons vinegar).  Possibly washed down with a can of Vimto, a couple of jellied eels (if you are game!) or a pot of cockles with a big wedge of bread thickly spread with butter (weight watchers delight!).

It would seem that the seaside tradition, whilst nothing new, continues to inspire and generate new and fun places inspired by all that the seaside and it’s nostalgia has to offer. Here are few of my favourites which also offer a good selection of food for your curiosity! –


The Beach House Devon

The Beach House is a distinctly laid back establishment with a surf shack vibe. it over looks the beach at at South Milton it serves from brekkie through to dinner, effortlessly changing it’s ambience depending on whether you want a casual breakfast, a relaxed seafood chow down for lunch or a slightly more upmarket version of a Beach house for dinner with big sharing plates of lobsters and fruits de la mer. All that and you are a hop and a skip from the beach, fabtastic!

I love all of the old recycled wood and little touches like the buckets and spades and the industrial lighting…. so simple and effective…..

source his&her scene

I must remember to go back and try these mussels…… yum!

source boathousedevon

The Winking Prawn

Well if you are not hungry yet, another great place to fill the tummy is a little fun family place called The Winking Prawn in Salcombe.  Where Buckets of prawns and crispy rolls with lashings of butter can be found – if you are travelling to Devon and you have an army of kids (big and small) this is one place not to be missed.

Source ErasmusT

Overlooking the estuary you can take a brisk walk on the little beach across the way before stopping at their ice-cream van (aptly called “Just One Prawnetto”), then a photo opportunity with the prawn cut outs that you can stick your head through…. followed by a dress up box so you can settle down to your mussels and a bottle of vino dressed as whatever character you like…. how much fun in one place!!

The Fish Shop – Potts Point Sydney

Now there is usually that huge feeling of being a little blue when you return from a holiday, the dread of getting back to the grindstone and no longer having someone make your bed and pick up your bath towels, so imagine my joy at a new restaurant opening in Sydney that meant I could imagine I was back by the seaside.

Merivale Group have The Fish Shop restaurant in Potts Point in Sydney’s East which takes the seaside charm, adds a sprinkle of that Sarsons vinegar and wraps it all up in a little news paper for your eating, visual and sensual pleasure (obviously I have been reading far too much Fifty Shades of Gray here!!)

It is a great spot for a casual plate of school prawns and the catch of the day…. oh and cockles in vinegar for nibbles! Once again the designer Sibella Court has taken a look at the history, traditions and ambience of the seaside and the fisherman lifestyle, and put them all into one spot making your dining experience more than just the food… I love it… and even the cold wet weather (just like my trip to Devon) came to play!

With all of these places the style and little touches show that there is a huge difference between decorating and styling, adding those small quirky touches makes all the difference to your experience – and while the food does count – more and moreI think a place sticks in someones mind if it has that little bit of something else!

Hopefully I have not made you too hungry….. on with the colourful journey…..


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From Shopping Trollies to Airplane Wings……


As you have probably noticed I could write a million posts on upcycling.  With my “why did I not think of that??” mentality calmed down with the, “OK so really would I be willing to create a new book-case out of several egg cartons and washing up liquid bottles and sell it on etsy?” reality check, I constantly marvel at those who do look at a bath tub, shopping trolly or milk crate and create a masterpiece that would not look out-of-place in a high-end home.   Upcycled (whose signage is above) have created a great website which celebrates this initiative and creativity, inviting students through to established designers to showcase their upcycling talents… so if you are into making a new treasure from trash and your imagination then just send them an email together with a few photo’s to promote your sustainable talent.  Whilst they are based in the UK I don’t think that they are only showcasing the British talent.

So now it is time for me to showcase one of my fave finds…..


Q….what do you shopping trolleys, bath tubs and surf boards have in common???

A…….They are all forms of seating of course……….


Reestore take everyday waste objects and playfully upcycle them into beautiful accessories and functional pieces of furniture.  Thanks to some additional funding from the TV show “The dragons Den” they have been able to upscale their projects further. All have a little story attached so these new treasures do not forget their roots so to speak.. for example “Annie the shopping trolley chair is perhaps the most iconic of ditch fillers.” Date of Birth 2001… Occupation: I used to be a shopping trolly.  


And I would like to introduce you to Deborah…. yes you have guessed it she used to be an airplane wing.  I love the fact that Reestore request that you call them before ordering as wing styles may vary depending on what they have in stock… meaning no Deborah will ever be the same!


Once you have these pieces of furniture if you find that a little someone is missing in your life to snuggle up with on your new bath couch, or you need someone to listen intently to your business plans drawn up on your airplane desk…. then do not despair, let me introduce you to George, Rocky and Karis.


Every George is different and has a belly button and kiss on the bottom.  They are also able to make one up in your own material if you would like George to match your decor! Or if a cat or bunny is more your thing then you may like Karis and Rocky who are calling you to adopt them….

Rocky and Karis

On with the colourful journey………….


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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


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Thinking outside of the light switch – A Recipe for Up-Cycle


1 or more junk or salvage stores with a veritable feast of inspirational items looking for a new lease of life

1 Good electrician who is open to the whimsical imagination of a budding upcycle chef (doubters should be carefully discarded from your tradies list, pips and all)

1 Generous portion of wild imagination…it is possible for more however remember…..”too many cooks spoil the broth” as they say!!


Take found objects and mix gently with a generous portion of wild imagination.  Speak kindly to the chosen electrician and HEY PRESTO – Flick the switch ….just see below for creations which have followed this recipe!!!(I would like to say that I prepared these earlier, but was pushed for time due to discarding too many doubting electricians!!).  Oh and don’t throw out the mixing bowl… They come in handy too!

Autumn Harvest - Brick Red and Orange Milk Glass Mixing Bowl Hanging PYREX Pendants Lights - OOAK UpCycled BootsNGus Lighting Fixtures

UpCycled BootsNGus Pyrex mixing bowl Lighting Fixtures

Tonka Toys no longer wanted….

Now you no longer have to be upset when little Billy no longer wants to play with his toys!! Jasmine Orchard put her own fun spin on a pre loved toy giving it a new purpose.

Fire Engine Lamp - source Jasmine Orchard Styling UK


BootsNGus are the purveyors of a place where “handmade and vintage go together”.  If you cannot quite find all of the ingredients to make the recipe above then I recommend you visit BootsNGus’ site on Etsy where they have ready made them for you!
From Jam Jars to….
Mason Jar Chandelier - Mason Jar Lighting - 3 Tier Upside Down Wedding Cake - Handcrafted Upcycled BootsNGus Hanging Pendant Light Fixture
Plant Pots……
Lilac Light - UpCycled Mesh Lace Metal Garden Planter Hanging Pendant Lighting Fixture - BootsNGus Lamp Design
To Tupperwear Jelly Moulds…..
Mint Green TUPPERLIGHT - Vintage Tupperware Jello-O Mold Hanging Lighting Fixture -  Upcycled Pendant Light - Eco Friendly BootsNGus Design

Or you could go mad as a hatter…..

British designer Jake Phipps has put together the “Jeeves and Wooster” range using bowler and top hats for something a little “Magritte”. Ce n’est pas une bowler hat monsier!

Or perhaps time for tea……

French designer Gilles Eichenbaum, aka GARBAGE has the view that “garbage cans are talented” and has made some spectacular lights from those very trash cans. (Below)

As I, and many before me have blogged, the desire for original, environmentally aware and economical objects of desire has made the world of upcycle a popular movement in the world of interiors. And I certainly find it more interesting (as you can probably tell from the rest of my blog) to show interiors which have a touch of the creative and whimsical that creates conversation and shows abit of personality,rather than the symmetrical architectural perfection which make you scared to live in for fear of upsetting the milli-metre precision styling.

So I say “think outside the light switch”, and add a little talking point to your interior recipe collection!!

Well I could keep on baking but that should be enough to satisfy the up – cycle recipe.  Hope this gives you some inspiration to get out your cook books!  Let me know what you think. Have a great weekend.
On with the colourful journey……..

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Illustrating the body

One of my favourite songs of the year so far has to be “Someone That I Used To Know” by Gotye. (click to watch the video). It was the anthem of my,…. and most of Australia’s, summer.  But even more of a bonus is the video which feature the body artistry work of Adelaide based skin illustrator, photographer and sculptor Emma Hack.

I first saw Emma’s work when I was researching Florence Broadhurst.  Emma was given the blessing from Signature Prints to access the Iconic Florence Broadhurst archives of some 530 wallpaper and fabric designs. This provided the inspiration for her to put together the Wallpaper Collection  and the more recent Wallpaper Mandala Collection.  The first ever work took 19 hours to complete, and more recent works between 8-15 hours.  Understandably Emma says it is an exhausting process for artist and indeed the model.

A model is painted by artist Emma Hack in London. Hack, a leading skin illustrator, is painting naked models at the Art London fair, camouflaging them against a wallpaper background designed by Australian interior designer, Florence Broadhurst.

Model Painted By Emma Hack with Florence Broadhurst wallpaper - Image sourced from

The more recent Wallpaper Mandala collection features 10 new images, expertly blending the female form into Broadhurst designs. This new collection is a further celebration of Emma’s skill and expertise, where she merges Broadhurst’s wallpaper designs together with her own gorgeous colour palettes.

Mandala Wallpaper Collection

Emma’s Inspiration



Emma began exploring the idea of camouflage, drawing inspiration from iconic model of the 1960’s/70’s, Veruschka, who painted herself into rustic walls and naturalistic settings.


 So I am very excited to hear that Emma will be exhibiting her new collection Mirrored Whispers in Sydney on 27 April to 13 May 2012 at the Frances Keevil Art Gallery, ( images sourced from – A taster of the body art photography to be displayed is below.
For an extra treat I have included a link to show Emma’s work behind the scenes (Click Here).
 Emma Hack - Peacock Whispers I  Emma Hack - Sweet Pea Whispers Emma Hack - Wisteria Whispers
On with the colourful journey…………….

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Cardboard Creativity – Noëlle Rigaudie

When I started my blog I did not quite know where it would take me, I just knew there would be an adventure and I just had to allow it to flow organically.  No rules…. I just wanted a place to keep all those inspirations in one neat location.  Having never been in the blogosphere before (except for when you decide to check your medical condition and wish you had not because the diagnosis you stumble on indicates you should be six foot under!), I did not expect the added bonus of being inspired by those who pop into my blog to say hello.  Equally, however it has created an even greater curiosity in things around me that I would have probably walked past and not even thought about.

One such example being a night out at a local venue in Sydney’s Surrey Hills called The Beresford.  A music and drinking establishment styled and designed by Sibella Court.  Upon the wall was a beautiful ornate picture  frame which had been hand made entirely of cardboard.  My curiosity won out and I wanted to find out a little more.

These works are the amazing creation of Sydney based designer and sculptor Noëlle Rigaudie.

Noëlle Rigaudie

Originally from Avignon in France, the Sydney based designer ad sculptor recycles (or should I say Up-Cycles) the humble cardboard box to create picture frames and other homewares.  Noëlle Rigaudie was introduced to this medium by one of her friend who showed her how to make a simple picture frame which has certainly evolved into something a little bit more sophisticated, and very reminiscent of her French cultural routes, with the French Rococco style.

Table from Anthropologie by Noëlle Rigaudie

Pinned Image

Candlestick from Anthropologie by Noëlle Rigaudie

Much of Noëlle’s work is sold in the US store Anthropologie, and a couple of years ago her work was used in an installation in New York’s Anthropologie, styled by Sydney stylist Sibella Court.  The installation included many Australian designers and creative talents and was based on the theme “Into the Lighthouse”, taking us back to the 1900’s and the Australian shipwreck coast.  I just love the little pot belly stove below.

Pot Belly Stove from the Anthropologie Installation Into the Lighthouse

Installation at Anthropologie – “Into the Light House” Styled by Sibella Court.
I will never look at a humble cardboard box in quite the same way.
On with the colourful journey………….

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