24th June 2016
When it comes to hair, it seems the grass is always greener on the other side. These days, hair envy is as real. Almost as real as ‘all my friends are in Santorini right now’ holiday envy. I have to admit that up until I was twenty I was convinced if I straightened my hair enough times it would stay that way. I can’t believe this myself but it took Ben more than a few months to realise my hair was actually curly. Turns out our hair relationships can be as complicated as human ones.
What I’ve learnt over time is that the key to a great relationship with your hair (that is, loving it) is compromise, experimenting and forgiveness – I’ve learnt not to be angry at my hair for being frizzy in humidity (Although I refuse to forgive Hong Kong for these 46 degree days!). It’s always a fun process of discovery – cutting, curling or colouring and seeing what works, what doesn’t and what eventually grows on you. Literally and figuratively. In partnership with Dove Hair, I thought it would be fun to show you some of the ways I love to do my hair with my four personal go-to styles.
My four go to’s: Straight Up, Go Low, Messy Waves and Up Do (with a difference). In typical me style they all have (somewhat) simplicity in common – I never have long to get out the door!
This is what is says on the tin, a sleek and straight do that out of all of the looks probably requires the most attention – and low humidity! After toweling dry I give it a quick blast with the hairdryer then straighten using a fine tooth comb.
Although a pony is pretty basic, I feel like this sleek version takes it up a notch. Well it’s basic in how easy it is but when side parted and spritzed with hairspray for a little shin and sleekness, it’s the perfect business to party situation.
This is my ‘fancy’ hairdo and fittingly it’s the one that takes the most time. I use a barrel curler on large sections of hair, holding down for 20 seconds and then letting go. I think run my fingers through to thoroughly mess the curls up to give them a lived in feel. (I think it’s time I did a more detailed tutorial of this one because a lot of you have asked for it!)
Up Do (With A Difference)
The difference being t takes me all of about 25 seconds and 4 bobby pins to bring this one to life, this is go to for when I want to look pulled together but have limited time to apply to my hair. I side part my hair, and twist one section on each side to the back, and then pin the rest of my hair in a loose messy bun. Easy!
This post is sponsored by Dove. Photos by Bryant Lee and top from Iris & Ink.
23rd June 2016
Speaking of transformations guys, I thought it would be nice to share with you something I’ve been (vaguely) working on for a while – a before & after on our apartment! Although we’ve lived in the same place for a while, I haven’t invested that much time in doing it up – mainly because I thought we might move to another place, but having recently decided to stay for another two years I thought why not make it somewhere I absolutely love hanging out?
In the last few months I’ve been planning and preparing and so a few of the DIYs and sourcing is already underway, but I wanted to share with you now so you can join in the process. In lieu of sharing pics of the ‘before’ which I will do later, I thought it would be nice to share some inspiration for the direction I’m going in. At the moment (it changes all the time) I’m feeling bright minimalist with some muted colour in the form of rugs and other textiles. And plants. Plants everywhere!!!! All the benefits of a garden without the weeding. 🙂
The biggest challenges for doing this are/will be:
- Space. Yep, our place at the moment is pretty small, and although that feels positively palatial compared to our first apartment it’s still quite tight. So all the ideas for this project will focus on space saving ideas and ways to make rooms look and feel bigger. I think related to this is the need to be brutal about what styles that are to be included, because there’s just not enough room to experiment.
- It’s rented. I love our apartment, but because it’s a rental the way we’ll approach decorating is way different to if we owned. I won’t be knocking down any walls this time around (maybe one day soon? :)) instead opting for cosmetic updates that make it our own. I’m excited to share lots of interesting ways with you!
- Neutrals. The gender kind. As much as I want to be like OMG ACME PINK EVERRRRRRTTTTHINGGGG, Ben’s not going to go for that. Not that he’s overly strict about gender divides or expectations, but I want something everyone feels comfortable coming home to. You got me?
- Budget. I’m keen to keep the costs of this before and after down (more money for ice cream), although I know that somethings you have to spend actual money on (like a sofa etc) to get quality. For everything else I’ll be making, thrifting and repurposing, so I’m excited to share that process with you too!
You may have seen some sneak peeks of how it’s coming along on snapchat (username: apair_andaspare), but over the next few months I’ll be sharing a shedload of DIYs, sourcing and styling ideas as well as the final before and after of the space. Can’t wait to take you guys on this journey with me. 🙂
Let me know if there’s any particular home DIY you’d like to see! I’m all about a challenge. 🙂
22nd June 2016
Happy Summer guys! And as they say, ‘sun’s out, bun’s out’…. Or in my case, suns out, ribs out… Doesn’t quite have the same ring to it but either way it’s on! To celebrate the first of many fun summer days to come, we decided to whip together another before & after project for you. Taking a frankly horrific dress and turning it into something… better? I hope you think so.
We found this piece in a thrift store and although we were repelled by the fluffy leopard print bottom, we loved the soft and structured fabric of the rest of it. One of the main problems with the dress was that it was way too short to remove the leopard print piece and still create a dress, so we decided to make it into a to. As an ode to weird tan lines everywhere, we threw in a few cut outs along the way.
- Black shift dress
- Open end zipper
- Tailor’s pencil
- Measuring tape
- Sewing machine and thread
- Unpick the lining and remove any trims (like in our case, the fake fur).
2. Mark where you are going to cut the dress with the tailor’s pencil. We cut the dress just above the bust to make it strapless and at the waist to insert the cut out.
2. For the skirt, pin and sew the bottom hem.
3. Remove the old zipper from the middle section and insert an open end zipper.
4. Using the scrap fabric from the top section, sew enough fabric together to create a rectangle. Pin and sew the sides.
5. Pin the rectangle to the middle and skirt section of the dress and sew together. You will also need to fold over any raw edges to make it look neat.
6. Create two strips of fabric using left over pieces. Fold them in half and sew lengthwise.
7. Turn the tubes inside out using a skewer or stick and iron flat to create the straps.
8. Cut the straps to length and sew onto the top edge of the dress.
Photos by Bryant Lee.
21st June 2016
Man, judging the Etsy Awards was hard. Wayyyyyy harder than I thought it would be. A few weeks ago I sat down with the team from Etsy as well as fellow judges Lucy and Sara, and was absolutely overwhelmed by the talent and creativity of the more than thousand entries. It was one of the most challenging, and yet rewarding, things I’ve done in a while. As someone with a passion for all things creative, it was amazing to see how so many people had turned bright ideas into big (or at least aiming big) businesses. I was so impressed by how so many of the entrants had managed to perfect their products and also their marketing, aesthetics and brand. After much debate about our favourites, we decided on the winners.
Drumrollll please! This year’s Etsy Award winners are:
Community’s Choice: Jeremy and Dee Rolston from Needle & Nail (Whatawhata, New Zealand
Lasting World: Kirralee Robinson from Kirralee & Co (Brisbane, QLD)
New Talent: Noël Skrzypczak and Andy Newton from BankyMoon Plantstands (Melbourne, VIC)
Fashion & Accessories: Joram Salisbury and Cameron Paterson from Paterson Salisbury (Wollongong, NSW)
Home & Living: Lucile Sciallano from La petite fabrique de Brunswick (Melbourne, VIC)
Art & Illustration & Paper Design: Penny Ferguson from Min Pin (Melbourne, VIC).
To celebrate the winners, and indeed all the entrants (and actually just creativity in general), I thought it would be nice to feature one of the amazing winners in depth – Lucile Sciallano of La petite fabrique de Brunswick, a Melbourne-based ceramic studio. I was immediately taken by the details of her work!
These amazing designs are just what my (and your) table needs. Took our usual Monday Meeting treats up a notch, wouldn’t you say?
You are originally from the south of France, what made you decide to move to Australia and start your ceramics business in Melbourne?
When I completed my Masters degree in the Netherlands, I met my partner Ben who is from Australia. During my Masters I learned how to combine research and making – my brain and my hands! That’s where I fell in love with ceramics and even though I couldn’t do all my projects in ceramics, I knew that as soon as I graduated and could choose to work with a particular medium – I would focus on ceramics. So when we came to Melbourne, I moved into a house across the road from Northcote Pottery Supplies, so I had no excuse not to pursue my ceramic practice, and took over a shed in the garden, which has become my studio.
How did you discover your passion for ceramics?
I studied object design in France at a school that sits between fine art and design. My projects were all handmade, and I learnt how to work in wood, metal and ceramics. In my bachelor studies, I worked a lot with plaster. From there, moving to ceramics was a natural progression. I like ceramic’s versatility; that it’s a natural material, that there is a process to follow, and you can return to work on the object several times.
How do you gather inspiration to create new designs?
Coming from a design background, I’m always trying to think outside the box and break the rules about how things should be made. I experiment a lot with colours, shapes and patterns. Often luck and randomness play a part in my process – I’ll sometimes see a shape or a line in nature or in a painting, and it will spark an idea about what I could make. I also trust my hands’ ability, and try not to overthink what I’m making! The creative process is a funny thing- you can be really absorbed and inspired by something and it will take you a lot of time before you know what to do with it. So in my day to day life, I don’t look specifically for inspiration, but I feed my creativity with Instagram, Pinterest, some random Google research, and also looking back on books I love. I also use drawings to record my inspiration and find a balance between that and my computer research.
Can you explain the process for creating your ceramics?
I slip cast porcelain to make functional wares. Slipcasting is a very interesting process as you have to create the positive object, make the mold in plaster, and after use slip (liquid clay), to cast the object. I really love working step by step and thinking through all the implications of each decision I make. I use very white porcelain and a limited palette of colour to create patterns. I always use a stain in the slip rather than coloured glazes. Each pattern I make is unique, and I like the randomness of each piece. Every one is different, and different people are drawn to different ones!
How has Etsy helped you to build your business?
Etsy is a great platform to support your work and show it to the world. It’s a great system to connect makers, craftspeople, and customers. I found a very supportive and caring community through Etsy and it helps a lot to keep you motivated in making and loving what you’re doing.
What is the most challenging part of making a business out of your passion?
I guess for me there are two types of challenges in my business. As I don’t have a degree in Ceramics, I’m always learning a lot – but you learn as you go, and other people have been so generous and helpful! That support gave me confidence to start my studio. Even though starting your own business is really exciting and being able to do what you love as a living is bliss, sometimes it can be really hard and you can have doubts. If you don’t push yourself to get out of bed every morning no one else will do it. Some of the biggest challenges at the beginning were to be confident enough to start to show my work to shops and get better at talking about it. Working by yourself can make you feel lonely and insecure but I got a lot of help and very good tips from other makers.
Your Instagram feed is full of delicious cakes and pastries that you’ve made! Does cooking good food play an important role in your life and how does eating it from beautiful ceramics add to it?
I have to plead guilty about cooking desserts! I have a big sweet tooth and I love making pastries and cakes! I find cooking relaxing and meditative. When I am stressed I will probably end up in the kitchen cooking something. I love making desserts and trying to present them well. The first thing you experience before eating anything, is seeing it. So using a nice and well tailored container for what you cooked is also part of the experience. I would love to work with a chef or a baker to design some specific shapes around the food they cook.
What are three pieces of advice you would give to other budding ceramicists or creatives wanting to turn their passion into a business?
Stick to your guns. Sometimes social media, customers and other makers can influence you and push you in different directions and it’s hard to know where you want to go and why. So trust yourself and try to stay focussed on what you really like. Be honest with your work, fair in your criticism and keep finding joy in what you are making, otherwise what’s the point?
Thanks Etsy for the honour of having me on the judging panel. And Bree Dunbar for the gorgeous studio photos.