Thursday, 29 December 2011

mermaid dreaming

We're so lucky to be enjoying a relaxing time with family and friends - particularly our special UK TW1 visitors. Long days on the beach, bbqs and beach cricket, fish and chips on the sand and mermaid dreaming (Babe 2's illustration above... I chuckle every time I look at the expression on the blue whale's face). Despite some inclement weather the only issue has been when the Lovely One lost his glasses in the sea whilst diving for a catch (the cricket - not fish - kind) which hasn't been all bad because his hazy vision suits the holiday vibe.

Hoping you have a great new year.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

wall dots

Have been meaning to share some of the treasures given to me at Christmas. The girls gave me these Wall Dots by Muuto coat hooks which I have coveted for many years... and now that we are building a beautiful new foyer (oh how grown up) on the extension I have just the spot to put them. Also the Lovely One has been travelling a lot for work this last year and on a recent trip to Rome he picked up this delicious coffee (with equally delicious packaging) as a Christmas treat for me. yum.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

my girl thursday gift tags

Oh so sweet. Download these at the always inspiring 'My Girl Thursday'.

Friday, 25 November 2011

diy candle holders

How beautiful are these? They're made with simple discount store tea light candle holders and pretty coloured paper. Check out how to make them over at How About Orange. It's still pouring with rain outside so we're going to make some with our own designs this weekend. Thank you Jessica for yet another lovely diy.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

advent calendar

I love hiding little treats for the Babes each day in the lead up to Christmas. This advent calendar over at Oh Happy Day! is beautiful. You'll just need some little bags and iron-on transfer paper. Check out the downloads and instructions here.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

christmas is coming

...and we've already starting celebrating with some tiny decorations around the place.

Red felt tree - IKEA
Sweet white bone china reindeer - Papaya

Friday, 18 November 2011

back to nature

Our poor old garden has been a bit neglected this last year. The first 6 months of 2011 I was deeply entrenched - and enjoying - long days in my studio and then the last 6 months have been preoccupied with renovations... so whilst I've kept up with basic maintenance, it's been in need of love and affection.

So today marked the beginning of a few weeks of focussed gardening for me.
Had a great day tidying and sorting and all the new plants arrived for around the pool so I'll be preparing the garden beds this weekend. I'm enjoying being back in the thick of it again very much - and I'm realising how much I've missed it.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

a scrap of paper

Loving this. Babe2 was busy as a bee with the newspaper the other day and created these beautiful birds. She went through the newspaper and selected coloured sections and then tore them into tiny pieces, grouping them by colour. Then she drew these little birds and selected coloured paper as feathers and glued them on. So beautiful, we're going to attach some ribbon and hang them as Christmas decorations... she thought the Lorikeets in our garden would like them.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

packed corners

I have just realised that I have neglected my posts on 'a corner of home' and soon enough all the corners will be packed away and relocated to their new rooms. So here are some elements of our current dining room which will be converted to Babe1's bedroom next year.

Timber swallows - Design for Use
'home' timber letters - David Met Nicole
White porcelain flowers - a gift from my big sister for my birthday
White bone china origami bird hanging in cage - Have You Met Miss Jones
Bird cages - Berry markets (country NSW)
Marimekko fabric canvas that I made about 8 years ago for the kitchen in our Surry Hills terrace (and I still love it) - Chee Soon & Fitzgerald

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

festive season

I love everything that they create over at SHIMTOKK and thought you might be interested in these gorgeous gift tag downloads that they've created with Meant To Be Calligraphy. Enjoy.


It's been a long time between posts and that's certainly a reflection of progress. The Certifier has signed off the pool and the hose went in yesterday! So assuming the sun returns, the girls will be swimming in the new pool on Saturday (still too cold for me). It ended up being a 12 week build which includes the great big granite terrace so I'm really pleased with timeframes. There are of course a few details that I'm slightly less than happy with (all of which only Lovely One, my family and I will ever really notice) but overall I think it's been a huge success. No detailing yet... pots, chairs, lighting etc... so whilst the bones are solid... it doesn't yet fit the picture in my head. I will photograph when it's finished and hopefully rave then!

Part of the reason for my slightly tempered excitement is that the footings for the new extension were also poured yesterday so we open the backdoor to mountains of dirt and rock again (this is the 3rd set of excavations so far) and need to clamber over fields of mud before we get to the pool terrace (all of which gets brought inside each day with Audrey and the girls).

I'm also deep in logistics again (bricklayers, plumbers, concreters, roofing quotes etc) but I know that when it's got a concrete slab over it all in a few weeks I'll be feeling a bit more "yee-ha".

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Tuesday, 27 September 2011


To anybody who's not renovating, the next post will be tediously boring so don't even get started... however to anybody who is thinking of renovating... it might prove to be kind of helpful... I'll let you decide.

So we need to pave a 100m2 terrace around the pool (that includes pool coping - tech word for the pavers that run around the edge of the pool), waterline tiles (I think that's self-explanatory) and 2 sets of 3 long steps.

My wish list:
  1. Rectangular pavers where the width was 1/2 the length... 1000mm x 500mm or 800mm x 400mm or 600mm x 300mm (in that order of preference). I wanted rectangles to increase the sense of width and felt that over such a vast area squares would be too boxy, and I wanted those dimensions because they are just more visually balanced... one of those design rules like 'odd numbers are always more balanced than even' you know, 3 candles in the centre of the table sit better than 4... am I sounding slightly mad now?
  2. The coping pavers needed to have square profile with pencil round edges, not a round bullnose profile.. again, just because I like that better.
  3. I wanted to be able to get the waterline tiles in the same material as the terrace - all one uniform look wrapping over into the pool - not a distinct stripe of tiles around the waters edge.
  4. The material needed to be honest. That's just one of those other things that I like, concrete to be concrete, stone to be stone and tiles to be tiles... I don't like materials pretending to be something else like tiles or vinyl that are made to look like timber. 
  5. I was fairly flexible on colour so long as it was grey.
  6. Cheap, cheap and cheap. We're on a tight budget.

So the search began. This is where you start saving the big $, schlepping around town yourself to find the right product at the right price and not paying the pool company or project manager to do it. But of course you need the time, patience and passion (fortunately I have all three but even I was kind of over it after I visited the um-teenth supplier).

I started with recycled concrete pavers - I liked their eco credentials and I thought the cost was ok, they have a square bullnose available, and come in pretty much any shade of grey you can think of. However they actually turned out to be quite expensive for the larger sizes (only the 500mm x 500mm were affordable), and what I wanted only came in 38mm thickness which made them very heavy and more costly to lay (more time and effort always costs more).

Next up was outdoor tiles. Thought I'd take a look as the price goes down significantly but they all just looked too much like tiles (what a surprise) and I couldn't make the compromise. For me, tiles are too thin, the texture just didn't feel right for outdoors, they tend to be slippery around the pool and they don't have the sense of strength, gravity, or whatever, over such a large area.

So on to natural stone which I had ruled out because I thought it would be too costly but it turned out not to be. I was even more surprised to find it cheaper than the concrete pavers (but note that they have to be glued and sealed - and both of these products add to the cost / metre). Started out with Bluestone,  decided the risk of a dark hot surface underfoot was outweighed by the diminished glare (our pool area is North facing and relentlessly sunny at midday) and was about to seal the deal when I found da na na naaa my Teneriffe Grey Granite.

Another $15m2 cheaper than the Bluestone (loving that), a lovely mottled grey with light and dark flecks (so not too glarey and not too hot), can be made into a lovely square bullnose that folds down (will show you a pick to explain when they arrive), 30mm depth paver for the main area with a 10mm waterline tile available, and did I mention... cheaper than anything else I liked!

Only compromises is that's it's a smidge rough underfoot but that's ok to minimise slipping and I had to go with the 3rd size choice of 600mm x 300mm to keep it cost effective (both in materials and laying). But really, really happy with the end result. Ah the labour of love was worth it.

Monday, 26 September 2011

falling balls

In the thick of pre-reno planning now with all the administration that comes before the build. The pool is well underway and I am super happy with my choice of granite pavers - I promise to write an entry about the journey to natural stone for anyone trying to make a similar choice soon (definately ignore it if you're not).

House Construction Certficate underway, I am now a qualified Owner-Builder, complete with OH&S Certificate, and very much consumed by banks, insurance companies and Council whilst trying to bargain down quotes for structural steel, windows and doors, timber flooring, pool fencing and the rest. Longing for a time when it will be about choosing white bathroom tiles, white kitchen cabinets and white paint for the walls... but for now it's just juggling lots of paperwork balls in the air ... and keeping my fingers and toes crossed that they land in the right place!

Wednesday, 7 September 2011


Concrete for the pool has been poured, music playing loudly in iTunes, sun is shining, half-way through my owner-builder certificate, family all safe and well and the crab-apple in our front garden is in full splendorous blossom .... life is good.

linen dreams

Baby sister's birthday last week and along with some jewellery I've been making (experimenting with), I made her this linen apron. She's a great cook (and married to a chef) so dinner at their place is always extra delicious and I wanted to make her an apron that said 'domestic goddess' more than ' housewife' ... and this is it.

The french linen is so beautiful - I source it at Tessuti Fabrics who sell designer 'end of line' fabrics at thoroughly reasonable prices and actually one of the few places where I've found these really affordable, top quality linens. I like to screen print on linen (as it makes for calmer backgrounds than stark white fabric) and Tessuti often have offcuts that I can use to experiment with designs. Worth a look and they sell online.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

would you like a side order of play dough with that?

Playdough continues to be a favourite activity in our house and never goes out of style. Hours of work went into the Babes playdough feast... it included hand printed menus and 2 very charming waitresses... delicious.

fridge magnets

I have been making these little fridge magnets as gifts (4 magnets in a pack). Super easy.


  • I used some of my screen prints but you could use beautiful printed paper, your drawings, your kids drawings, photos etc.
  • Self adhesive magnet sheets (art supply shops)
  • Mod Podge or any paper lacquer
  • Packaging if you like

1. It's as simple as taking your paper, peeling the backing of the magnetic sheet and placing on the back of the paper.
2. Use a cutting knife and board to cut magnets to the required size.
3. Lacquer with Mod Podge (I used the matt version)
4. The packaging is just clear cellophane bags from a discount store and I used a tree stamp on the corner of the label.

Nice Chrissy presents? I think I'll make some with the Babes drawings for their grandparents.

Friday, 19 August 2011

water hole

After feeling very excited back in early July that our Development Application had been approved, we've now had a long six weeks waiting to finalise the Construction Certificate for the pool. We have spent more time than I ever imagined chasing documentation and paying fees and feeling a bit despondent about it all...

... then finally yesterday, they came and they destroyed. Mud as far as the eye can see and a huge hole that's filling with water. For the two babes it's paradise... they've fished, they've climbed mountains, they've dug for treasure then dinosaurs ... and for Audrey it's digging and mud-rolling heaven. For us... as the rain pours down... it's kind of a nightmare... and we're both in a strange daze that after more than 2 years of planning... it's real... it's all begun.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

pears anyone? - a corner of home

These beautiful stone pears are a gift from the Lovely-One. They sit by on the hearth by the fire near the felt pebbles. It was a beautiful surprise to receive them.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

one world, many stories

For the last few years I've been helping the Librarian up at the Babe's school with the displays for Australia's annual Book Week celebrations.

Again there are some beautiful children's stories this year - Mirror by Jeannie Baker and Family Forest being two of my favourites - but the best thing this year is the theme. 'One World, Many Stories' has both beautiful sentiment and also huge creative scope. So this week the kids at school are busy creating all the little pieces (different elements that we've given them to illustrate the different books) and we will pull them all together into a display. So this week I'm all about 'the world' as I will try to create hot air balloons from globes, big foyer posters and wall art and bunting made of chopped up Atlas'.

Which brings me to this post and this beautiful collection of paper globes from Geografia (above)... I can see a few hanging from string in our new study already. Actually, there's a whole bunch of stuff on the NoteMaker website that would look quite nice in our new study....   hmmmmm....

Monday, 1 August 2011

make lace, not war - love lace

Linda Galbraith - Steeped in Memory
Photo: Sotha Bourn - Copyright Powerhouse Museum Sydney

Extraordinary exhibition on at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney at the moment. Incredible works with lace ... I'm in absolute awe. More at Powerhouse website.

Sunday, 31 July 2011

come fairies...

'Come Fairies, take me out of this dull world, for I would ride with you upon the wind and dance upon the mountains like a flame! '
William Butler Yeats

The sun has finally come out in Sydney, a beautiful weekend and all seems rosy again. The babes spent two hours after school last Friday under the Crepe Myrtle tree creating the most intricate fairy garden, fairy queen house, elves river (complete with water and bridge) and very clear directions (written on gum leaves of course) to the bird bath should they wish to bathe in this beautiful sunshine. Simplicity.

The next morning at 8.15am my very special friend gave birth to her beautiful new baby girl and I wondered if it may have been somehow related to the fairies that played in the girls fairyland that evening.

Welcome to the world little fairy - we are so looking forward to getting to know you.

[glass raindrops and zinc stars hanging above the fairy garden - heaven in earth]

Friday, 29 July 2011

craft kit

I don't often brag... but I can admit that the Babes have a fairly fantastic craft box. It's actually several boxes that contain the usual stickers, toilet rolls and pipe cleaners but then expands into offcuts of fabric, origami papers, framing board, timber veneer offcuts, lino, bubble wrap and more, an awesome collection of beads and buttons as well as paints, pastels, crayons, pens and glitter glue galore. When kids come to play they always head straight to the craft boxes - which suits me fine because I lack any skills in the sport departments.

So it seemed a fairly natural thing that for Babe2's special friend's birthday, we should put together a 'craft kit'. We loved sourcing the contents from discount stores and art supply stores. We put the collected bits into little ziplock bags, printed out ID stickers and then stamped them with a floral stamp. Packaged it all up and here's the result. So much joy to make and so much joy to give. In fact it was such a hit that we've spent the afternoon packaging things up again for a special 3 year old cousin's birthday on the weekend.

Friday, 22 July 2011

festive fruit by amy moss

Beautiful downloadable drink bottle labels from Amy Moss' Eat Drink Chic

As I sit here, freezing cold in the wettest July Sydney has had in 60 years (all plans to dig a hole for a pool on hold), I was longing for some sunshine... when I came across these gorgeous fruit drink bottles on Amy Moss' site Eat Drink Chic. Their vision filled me with 'virtual warmth'! In her usual, very generous way, she has included the labels as free downloads in case you want to bring a little sunshine into your day today. Thank you Amy... now back to the pouring rain.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

wall necklace

I saw, and promptly fell in love, with a great big bag of these timber beads. The larger ones are 25mm diameter and they had a 'please hold me' aura about them. So I threaded them up into this wall necklace (the larger beads being threaded into a length of about 4m or more). Now everyone who walks past tends to touch it so the 'please hold me' aura seems to be universal.

When mum came to visit she asked if it was inspired by her beads? She bought these Rosary beads at a street market in Mexico City about 30 years ago and they have always hung on a wall in their home. They too are about 25mm diameter timber and are about 3m long beads and of course they must have been my subliminal inspiration - though I didn't quite realise at the time - which lead me to thinking, again, about inspiration vs copies in my work and that that I observe online.

Having working in TV and Radio for most of my professional career, copyright and appropriate sourcing of material are topics close to my heart. If this is something you're interested in reading more about then you might like to check out these discussions:
- Design Sponge's great 3 part discussion on Online Etiquette and Ethics
- Decor8's real talk column DIY is not Duplicate It Yourself!
- and Bloesem's discussion Find the Differences...

Thursday, 14 July 2011

loving this font

I'm loving this font. Just did Babe2's birthday treat bags with it and they look super cute. Download the Ali Edwards Font here.

[Ali Edwards font download for personal use here
Tags from Tada Printables
Baker's Twine available from Cute Tape 
Paper bags from Paper Eskimo
Mini pegs from discount store]

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

rise and shine - a corner of home

I'm not much of a morning person. I love to sleep. This is a corner in the hall just outside my bedroom door. It's far enough from bed to know that when I read it I've already managed the 'rise' part and I find that just saying the little mantra can sometimes help with the 'shine' part. After all... 'rise and grump' doesn't have quite the same ring to it.

[Scrabble letters from David Met Nicole
Porcelain feathers from Have You Met Miss Jones]

Monday, 11 July 2011

... and so it begins

Our Development Application has finally been approved... ready set go! 

[Image courtesy of MorgueFile - a great source for royalty free images]

Thursday, 7 July 2011

grazed knees and climbing trees

Grazed Knees and Climbing Trees

I've have just finished some larger format etchings (500mm x 500mm) using drypoint technique - see above and below- where I've re-envigorated some earlier plates and put them together to tell a new story.

I'm also currently studying wood-cut relief printing with the Roslyn Kean (who's thoroughly amazing) and might have some examples to show soon. It's very different process, all hand printed without a printing press and water based inks - so no chemicals. Loving it very much.

Sunshine and Shadows

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

white porcelain - a corner of home

My lovely sister-in-law Jules just gave me these beautiful eggcups and teacups from Keith Brymer Jones. She bought them on a trip to Melbourne but you can find them online. I have already had many delicious cups of tea in one of the love cups, but the eggcups and spare teacup are just too beautiful for the cupboard... so they have joined the echidna's (see below) on our mantlepiece. Beautiful.

echidna friends - a corner of home

Babe1 made these little echidna friends out of air drying clay, matchsticks and toothpicks. They live in a corner of the mantlepiece amongst my collection of white porcelain. They always make me smile.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

felt pebbles - a corner of home

These beautiful pebbles have just arrived from Delica and have found a new home sitting snug and warm in their beautiful Mud Australia bowl by the fire... however the Babes have also rather taken to them so they've also spent a fair amount of time being laid out in pebble paths down the hall... apparently it's a better place for the fairies to find them. 

Saturday, 2 July 2011

history of a house


This one was pre-kids. We'd lived there about 5 years then took about 1 year to renovate it.
HIGHS: Doing most of the work ourselves we learnt alot and saved a fortune.
LOWS: Doing most of the work ourselves meant that whilst LovelyOne was working on the site most of the time, I was working long corporate hours and tiling at midnight! We lost a year of social life partly because we were always building and partly because we were broke, saving pennies and sharing my generous parents house.
HINDSIGHT: A great project and Babe1 was born at that house, it has wonderful memories and we still miss that home alot. .. or maybe we miss being 20 something?


This was a different story. Babe1 was one year old and Babe2 was on the way (part of the incentive to move). We put our lives into storage and moved to about 4 different addresses to house-sit and save money on rent whilst the build was happening. LovelyOne was working day and night jobs and I was home being mum so almost the whole build was outsourced.
LOWS: Life situation meant not being able to do much ourselves and costs escalated quickly. At first I was heavily pregnant with toddler - then later had a newborn and toddler - for the daily site visits. Whenever I looked away Babe1 fell through holes in the floor, played in sawdust and mud or was up to her elbows in tins of house paint.
HIGHS: Not having to do the hard slog and having a professional finish.
HINDSIGHT: A few years on it had all proved too expensive and we decided to sell and move to a 2 bedroom cottage in the suburbs to recoup a bit. We miss the space and even though we were so, so lucky to live in such a big, beautiful renovation we seem to not miss the house as much... or maybe we don't really miss the blur of two babes under 2!


...and so we found home. The first couple of years were about the garden. Audrey arrived in the first few months and we discovered all the fencing needed replacing. LovelyOne removed a rotting chook shed and dilapidated duck compound, dug out a field of Ginger-lily and Lantana and we discovered old Camellia's, Roses and Rosea's along the way. I weeded and weeded and planted and planted then we built a network of decks (performance stages for dance concerts by the Babes), a vegie patch, treehouse and makeshift basketball court. Then it was on to planning the new renovation and since then it's been about refinements, waiting, Council fees, expensive flood studies, waiting, more Council fees and more flood studies and more waiting. We continue to love and enjoy our little slice of heaven and continue to wait .... and Audrey turned 4 last weekend.

Friday, 1 July 2011

welcome to the princess fun

Happy weekend and may it be filled with flowers, fun, prince's, princesses, kings and queens.

fabric covered notebooks

I have just made these fabric covered notebooks for my mum for her birthday. Inspired by Carly Schwerdt's Moopy Notebook Cover in Meet Me at Mike's book, I made up a very simple pattern. The front cover is a patchwork pattern and can be any layout you like (the overall size is below).
Mine were made to fit A5 notebooks so the dimensions are something like this....

1. Make the patchwork cover and then cut to overall size (37.5cm x 25cm)
2. Cut the back and sides (they can all be different fabrics)
3. Use iron-on interfacing on the back piece
4. Lay out the pieces in this order > Back piece (right side up) > side pieces (right side up) > front piece (right side down)
5. Sew together using 1.5cm seam allowance leaving a 5cm gap between start of stitching line and the end of the stitching line to turn inside out
6. Turn inside out and iron flat
7. Embroider or decorate as you like and slip over an A5 notebook. Happy Birthday mum.

Thursday, 30 June 2011

what's in a name?

Well the Young bit is fairly self explanatory and the Audrey is our gorgeous dog. I've been creating art under my own name clare young for some years and more recently have developed some crafty works under the name young audrey. Audrey seemed a perfect inclusion in the name because she sleeps at my feet all day while I work in my studio, so she's been my main collaborator (of sorts).

However she also represents a life change - my daughters marked the first break from my corporate career, but in the end, inner city living meant a much more demanding mortgage and less space to think and Audrey represents our decision to move to the suburbs, to space, a big garden, ever expanding vegie patch and a home with a studio that I could call my own ... and of course the space for an adored family dog in the backyard (the rabbits and fish came later). So it's really been the arrival of two beautiful daughters and one crazy dog that has allowed me to explore my dream of 'creating' in a more focussed and dedicated way.