Category Archives: Design

Odd, Wobbly Ceramics

I love these ceramic plates, bowls, spoons etc made the good old-fashioned way by artists, and not by machine. There’s been no effort to make each piece exactly the same as the next. No two pieces are alike, no two even stand or sit exactly evenly. You can clearly see all their bumps, wobbly bits and other imperfections. In fact, you could say they wear them with great pride.

That’s exactly how they’re unique, each and every one of them. Just like us human beings. WE are all unique in our own way, with all our imperfections, faults and blemishes. Our differences, be they cultural, racial, mental or physical, need to be celebrated, not treated with suspicion or ostracised or cast aside. 

Each one of us has our role to play, in our own way. We are not what we do for a living. Don’t think of our disabled brothers and sisters as dis-abled, but rather en-abled for achieving what they are achieving. Don’t look down on the elderly and infirm – they were once our leaders and movers and shakers. And we will be like them too, when age catches up with us all. So, be kind.

Everyone is different in their own way. Don’t let Society tell you that you have to conform to one way of thinking or one way of being. Being a sheep and part of a flock is the safe option, to be sure…but once you’ve woken up, it’s hard to go back to sheep.

Here, enjoy these beautiful, unique, wonky, imperfect ceramics (courtesy of Pinterest):

Cosy Coffee Corner

So, after years of my verandah being a junk collection of assorted pots with a variety of plants in various stages of life and death (can you tell I’m not very good at gardening?), I decided to tidy up and create a cosy coffee corner for myself. 

The lucky find of a round glass-topped table for just $10 at a thrift store was my incentive to change things around.

First, I cleared the verandah of everything, so I’d have a clean slate to play with. Then, I put the glass-topped round table in one corner and rearranged some potted plants around it and on top of it, til it pleased the eye.

It was good, but it lacked something.

So I went and Manifested some garden chairs to go with it, to create a cosy corner where I could sit and read or relax or play chess with my son Jack.

When I say I Manifested some garden chairs, I mean I simply thought about getting some garden chairs, envisioned a couple of them around the glass-topped round table, and kept thinking about that vision every day, whenever I was out and about driving from one dog visit to another.

Et voila! A few days later, I decided out of the blue to return some library books. As I was driving down the road, what did I see but 3 garden chairs stacked up on someone’s verge for anyone to take. 

The Council designates dates every year for different neighbourhoods to throw out their junk for what they call “verge collection”. Once stuff hits the grassy verges outside homes, if you see it and you want it, you better be quickest to it! Some people drive their cars with trailers behind them, scouring every road in the neighbourhood for salvageable junk, which they’ll clean up, repair or give a fresh lick of paint, and then try and sell on Gumtree (Australia’s version of Craigslist) or at car boot sales.

I made a note to check out the garden chairs on my way back from the library. If they were still there, and they had indeed been thrown out, and if they weren’t too shabby or broken, I’d take them. If they fit in my car, that is.

And Thank You, Universe! Yes, they were still there on my way back! I pulled over and had a quick look at my finds. One of the chairs had really rusted front and back legs, but the other 2 were fine. They were the plastic fake-wicker type of 1960s chairs, almost black in colour. 

Into the car they went, in a jiffy. 

Perfect! The chair with the wonky legs went to the side of our pool area, but the other 2 were exactly perfect for my corner. 

But…now I need some cushions to go with them.

Manifest, manifest, manifest! On my next drive, I told myself that the perfect cushions for my 2 chairs would be at the first thrift store I went to. I visualised a botanical theme to the cushions, maybe flowers or butterflies, some greens and reds. They’d be in the section where cushions were displayed, and they’d be ridiculously cheap.

And there they were. They were even sitting next to each other. 2 fat cushions for the back of the chairs, and 2 flatter ones for the seats. The 2 fat ones had butterflies, a ladybird and the letter “B” on one, and birds, leaves and writing on the other. The 2 flat ones were a plain dark green.

Perfect again! Thank You, Universe!

I’ll need to rinse off the dirt from my verandah again, as I did some more rearranging of my flower pots and troughs to fit the table and chairs in the corner. So, please excuse the dirt on the floor…but I now present to you my new Cosy Coffee Corner.

Total cost: AU $18

Table $10

Chairs FREE

Cushions $8 ($2 each)

Now I just have to Manifest a power pressure washer to wash away the dirt from the verandah ๐Ÿ˜„!

Welcome To My Boudoir

Over the last 3 months, my bedroom has had a total transformation. Not an expensive, interior designer priced transformation, but rather a series of furniture rearrangements, lucky thrift store finds, items that I already owned being repurposed, and objects I “manifested”. 

First, the Queen-sized bed was turned 90 degrees and pushed into a corner. Originally, there were 2 bedside cabinets, one on either side of the bed. I gave one to my son Jack, and put the other one by the bedroom door. 

I had a Queen Anne dressing table in the junk room. It had been given to me by a neighbour in our previous estate, and although I’d given it a new coat of white paint, it had simply languished in the junk room of our present house. But this time, after several coats of gesso and varnish (I couldn’t find the white paint), it’s not taken up residence at the end of my newly positioned bed. And it houses my collection of Affirmation, Positive Thinking and Law of Attraction cards, as well as some books that I keep meaning to read, and some crystals.

I bought a rug to fill up the now empty space between the bed and the door. The dogs like to lie on it. It also makes a great work surface for my sewing projects.

I bought some cushions from thrift stores to place on my bed against the wall. They’re the colours of jewels – purple, teal, orange, and at the foot of my bed is a dog-themed cushion and my dog Shelagh’s 3 favourite toys – Gorilla, Tiger Tiger and Lion Lion. 

Where my bed had been before, I’d had a large romantic canvas print on the wall, flanked by 2 bird-themed canvasses. I’d found a modern abstract canvas for $20 at a thrift store. It now has pride of place on the wall.

On the smaller wall above my bedhead now (in the photo above) I have put up 2 canvasses which are actually cheats. 

The abstract on the left, with the line drawing of a woman’s face, is actually a T2 wrapping paper, from when I bought my “She Loves” limited edition teacup and saucer 2 years ago. It’s simply been Blu-Tacked and duct-taped (shock, horror! ๐Ÿ˜†) to a homemade wooden box frame. 

The canvas on the right, featuring peacocks, is actually a wallpaper sample stapled to an IKEA wooden frame. I’d bought it as such from a thrift store, for $3.25. 

For some reason I dislike hammering nails into walls, so to attach these 2 canvasses to the wall I used Command Hanging Strips (by 3M). Basically, Command Hanging Strips are a simple combination of flexible sticky tape and velcro. You can remove them from walls without leaving a trace. No need to fill in nail holes and then have to repaint the whole wall afterwards.

Here’s the rest of my “boudoir”:

The chair is a dining room chair in mock leather, picked up from a thrift store for $10. I’ve covered it simply with one of my Kantha-Boro quilted pieces. The 2 Totoro plush characters are actually sitting on top of a radiator heater, that I use in winter. The bookcase hidden under the blue cloth houses my collection of Tarot and Oracle cards. The blue canvas with the deer silhouette came from KMart, $15. And the “N O W” letters on the wall were made by me using Gelli-printed paper glued to wooden letters, then varnished.

The large romantic canvas atop this Queen Anne hall table is the one that used to grace the space above my bed. It was moved to make way for the modern abstract you now see on the main wall of my bedroom, flanked by the bird canvasses.

The Queen Anne hall table was a lucky find at a secondhand furniture store. I just love its sexy, curvy shape. Below it is my old piano stool, simply draped with another of my Kantha-Boro pieces. 

The striking turquoise artwork on the wall in the photo above, is one of my own creations. I created it on my Samsung Galaxy S4 mobile phone, then uploaded it to my computer, ran it through a Print-on-Demand service, chose the format (print on wooden/MDF panel) et voila! 

The black cloth with white circles and broken lines is a remnant I picked up from IKEA, over an IKEA tall chest of drawers. I like to call this spot my “Altar”. 

Bohemian Flags

I came across these recently on Pinterest. Putting aside any patriotism or nationalism, for me these flags demonstrate the essence of a bohemian outlook on life. They embody the philosophy of recycling and reusing materials, and I love their spirit of insouciance and their hint of rebellion. 

Plus, of course, they are just so darn pretty. 

Bohemian, crafty, artisan, shabby chic, patriotic, prayer flags, banners, Ibizan flags, country, homespun, handsewn, ribbons, lace, pom poms, feathers, sequins, embroidery, beads, tassels.   

Lagenlook : Moyuru

I seem to have been sleeping under a rock, or something. How could I have missed this latest Lagenlook fashion trend? (Well, maybe not sleeping, but preoccupied with other crafty projects and personal improvement practices ๐Ÿ˜Š). 

So, who’s this latest new kid on the block? It’s a Japanese fashion designer called Moyuru. Try as I might, I’ve not been able to track down one specific website for them. Moyuru appear to supply several independent fashion retailers in various countries. Rather than me trying to list the retailers, and missing out several or more of them, just Google “Moyuru” and your own country, and find out for yourself if there’s a retailer near you. 

I’ve also found several listings for Moyuru on eBay. Perhaps there are some sellers in your country too? Good luck!

A few words to describe Moyuru: edgy, monochromatic, contemporary, futuristic, cutting edge, muted colours, sculptural, boots, linear, geometry, trend, quirky, wool, linen.

Pinterest, as always, provided me with the most pictures and links. I’ve curated the following Moyuru from my own Pinterest board “Tunics & Lagenlook“, so if there’s one or three that particularly catch your eye, do take a look at my Pinterest board, click on the photo therein, and you’ll find more information about it. 

Enjoy Moyuru Japanese Lagenlook! 

Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree, But Before That – Design Home

I’m the last person you’ll want to ask for advice on keeping plants. I don’t have green thumbs or green fingers, in fact I have a knack for accidentally killing my house plants with my “loving ministrations”. 

I don’t mean to be a plant killer. I just never learnt much about keeping plants while growing up. Plus, I grew up in a tropical country (Malaysia) where there are no hot or cold seasons, and where it’s always either sunny and humid, or raining and humid. So, my idea of gardening is to just stick the seed/sapling/plant/tree in a pot or straight into the ground, whenever, water it now and then and leave the rest to Mother Nature.

So, I’m still learning slowly how to take care of my plants. Succulents I can do, as they more or less fall in with my gardening philosophy above ๐Ÿ˜„. 

But lately I feel drawn to certain houseplants. Quite possibly because for a couple of months now I’ve been diligently playing an App Game on my mobile phone called “Design Home“. To say I love the game would be an understatement. Basically, in this game you’re the interior designer and you’re given a brief, and then you have to “buy” furniture, accessories and plants to furnish your look. In return you get “paid” for each completed assignment, and then your work is voted on by other players. If you get above 4 out of 5 stars, you win prizes by way of furniture, which goes into your inventory. If you get 5 out of 5 stars, you win the furniture prize as well as Diamonds.

Diamonds can be converted into Cash, and Cash is then used to purchase more furniture. Here’s where real money comes into play – you can buy Diamonds if you haven’t got enough Cash, but Diamonds cost real $$$. 

Anyway, check out Design Home here for yourself. Here are some screenshots, taken from the App’s listing on Google Play:

Did you notice the Fiddle Leaf Fig tree in the last 2 images above? Yup, that’s where my hankering after one of my own comes from! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Kantha + Patchwork Quilt Project

Here’s the result of my latest sewing efforts. I’d found someone’s unfinished patchwork project in one of my local thrift stores. It was basically just some square patches sewn together, without a backing. I liked the uneven, slightly wonky, amateurish feel to the piece and knew I could do something with it. At just $5, it was a real steal. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, right?

Inspired by my fascination with Indian Kantha quilts, which are fashioned out of layers of vintage sari cloths sewn together using simple running stitches, I decided to try my hand at making my own Kantha + Patchwork quilt. 

I had amongst my fabric stash a Queen-sized duvet cover in a lovely blue stripe, which would work perfectly with the patchwork piece.

First, I lay the duvet cover right side down on my bedroom rug. (This unassuming rug, a recent purchase, is around 6 x 8 feet and has become my workfloor for my bigger sewing projects, as well as providing a handy template for sizing quilts). 

Next, I lay the patchwork piece right side up, on top of the duvet cover. The duvet cover is larger than the patchwork piece. After making sure all the sides were equally balanced, I trimmed, folded and pinned the excess duvet cover fabric over the patchwork piece.

The laying out and pinning took a long time to get right. 

Next, I took the pinned piece to my sewing machine and sewed along all the edges, to secure both pieces together. Then I pinned the patchwork piece to the duvet cover at regular intervals, to prevent it slipping out of place when Kantha stitching.

The reason I chose the striped duvet cover as the backing for this project was so I’d have a handy guide to sew the running stitches along. 

I decided on a 4+3 pattern, i.e I’d sew along 4 rows of stripes and skip the next 3, then sew the next 4, skip 3 and so on. I used white crochet thread, which is strong and smooth at the same time. 

3 weeks of nights spent “watching” TV while sewing, rolling and unrolling this humongous swath of fabric on and off the sofa, et voila! I give you my first Kantha + Patchwork Quilt!

(Showing the front)

(Showing the back)

Now to show this off outside, in natural sunlight! The previous photos were taken at night, indoors, and don’t do justice to the vibrance of the colours in this quilt.

I draped it over Meep, my little Kia Cerato here, so you can see just how big a project this turned out to be!

This photo shows the rows of stitching and how they simply go over the patchworked squares on the other side. I just love the crinkly effect Kantha stitching produces!

Now for some close-ups:

Here’s what it looks like folded up. I love it! โคโคโค

I intend this year to sew up a whole batch of Kantha-inspired items, ranging from little to large. These will be my inventory and stock for when I start selling my crafts later this year.

So, watch this space for more Kantha-inspired projects!

Valentine Hearts

Valentine’s Day is coming up next, but rather than exhort the virtues of a consumerist festival, I thought I’d share with you some curated Heart-themed ornaments and Art instead. 

The following have been made by craftspeople and artisans, lovingly shaped by hand, fired, soldered, carved, sewn, assembled, sculpted, painted. Valentine’s Day or not, the Heart symbol is iconic and evergreen.

So, if you’re looking for inspiration this Valentine’s Day, take a look at these ideas:

(Images sourced from: Pinterest)

Patchwork Sofasย 

I’m in love with the idea of having a patchwork sofa in my home. Problem is, I’m not sure where I’ll find the space for it in the living room. There IS a battered armchair  recliner that my dog Shelagh uses as one of her daybeds (yes, she’s very spoilt ๐Ÿ˜„), I could try my hand at re-upholstering it, or maybe I could donate it to a charity shop instead, and buy another armchair that I Could do up myself. 

The armchair that I have is not vintage or even beautiful, but it serves its purpose. It IS bulky and creaky, though, and the reclining part has barked my shins several times OUCH! So, I’m going to go for Option Number 2 – change it for a better one.

I’ve been researching upholstery techniques online, and I’ve browsed through a library book on upholstery. But, to be entirely honest, it looks very time consuming and labour and parts intensive. 

So, I might just have to save up and try to get a readymade patchwork sofa. Or ottoman, or bench, or stool. Or, maybe just do a simpler project with easier, straight lines. I DO have a piano stool that needs recovering, hmmm maybe I could start with that?

Meanwhile, in the land of the rich, here are some patchwork beauties from Pinterest, to whet your appetite.

Room by Room…

I have yet to move into my new rental, but I’ve already started daydreaming about how I’ll furnish it, room by room. 

It’s going to be fantabulous, I know it! My Pinterest boards are burgeoning with pinned interior decoration ideas. Oooh, the possibilities! And, the best thing is, if you’re cash-strapped like me, it doesn’t have to cost the earth to create these looks. All you need is your Imagination…and a sprinkle of Fairy Dust.

I have this gorgeous turquoise colour on a wall in my current home, and I’d love if the owner of my rental gave permission for me to paint the walls any colour I like. Right now, everything in that house is white, except for the jarrah floorboards, which are a deep reddish brown.

Again, with the turquoise wall…and now add a dash of blue velvet. I’d love to have this chaise longue, but I’ve never seen its type here in Australia.

Of course, one must have a cosy corner to curl up in and read a book, or watch the world go by. Not sure about curious passersby looking in, though…the front garden is open to traffic.

Still, the idea has a certain cottagey charm about it. I love the fairy lights idea.

And during the day, with crystals like these hanging where the sunlight streams in, there’ll be rainbows dancing on my walls. What’s not to like?

I think I might even decorate the trees in the backyard like this!

The backyard is fully enclosed, and dark as there’s no lamp post on the street outside. Hanging some solar-powered fairy light strings will give the garden a magical feel at night. A bit like fireflies.

Get a shallow circular planter like the one in the foreground. Fill it with pebbles at the bottom, compost, sand and fine gravel, then plant succulents in it. Makes a spectacular, easy to care for display. Succulents are about the only plants I’ve ever been successful with.

The kitchen is ultra-modern and ultra-white. So I’ll inject some colour using green houseplants. And maybe a dash of colour by way of vibrant Mediterranean/Moroccan-inspired crockery.

This verandah is very similar to the one at my new home. It even has the grapevines growing in the same corner! Some potted plants with lush green leaves, and a splash of galvanised metal ought to do it.

My bedroom will be simple, with a riot of jewel colours by way of Kantha bedlinen and cushions. 

I’d love to have these iridescent rainbow aura mosaic tiles in my shower, SIGH…maybe in my next home? 

(Update: Well, I might NOT be moving into the rental after all…due to unforeseen circumstances and the extremely fickle nature of Australian mining employers. The Ex had a 3 week shutdown job up north, which would’ve paid for the rental bond and deposit. But he was back after only 4 days, because the employer decided to cut numbers by 10. SIGH…it always seems to be 2 steps forward, 3 steps back in this country. So, we are going to do our darndest to hang on to our current home instead. It’ll be a real struggle to get on top of the mortgage arrears and to keep the wolves at bay, but I know if we work together, it Can be done. Maybe THIS was the lesson, after all).