Sunday, December 21, 2014

Through the Lens...

A long, long, loooong time ago I purchased a DSLR Nikon camera. And I kinda thought that simply by having an expensive camera, my pictures were going to start turning out great (silly, I know!) and of course I was very, very wrong!!

So I started reading my manual, and looking through guides on photography, and although I understood what I was reading about shutter speed and aperture, I just couldn't seem to get my head around how to actually apply them! So like a big silly, I put my camera away and continued relying on my phone and instagram to record my life. 

At the start of every year, I sit down and write out a goal list of what I want to achieve in the next 12 months. It's not a serious list - previous years have included "read more books", "make hollandaise sauce from scratch" and "don't stress out if you don't complete everything on this list". Among other things, "learn to use my DSLR camera" has been a constant item on the list, being transferred year to year and never getting crossed off.

I was looking at my list the other day, and realised, this year I have done everything on my list!

I've visited Mount Field National Park...

Admiring the view from the top of the mountain

...I've read more novels...

I'm a late bloomer when it comes to Terry Pratchett, loving the Disc World stories!

...and I have replaced the garden along the front of my home with plants that I like, and that are edible!

I hated these square (!) bushes and boring ground covers!

This is an old photo. The Bay at the front is going really well and the Thyme just along a bit is huge!

Okay, so I might not have gotten any better at jogging. But I have jogged, so technically I haven't gotten any worse. So that counts, right?!

So, how could I possibly finish the year with that one thing left outstanding?! Well, I couldn't. I so I signed up for a course and learnt a thing or twenty.

Making sure an object is straight before snapping away is a good practice...

The results aren't perfect

But I like to think I know a little of what I'm doing

My Turkish Van cat Luna tolerates the camera for a short moment

And I'm fairly sure that practice will make all the difference!

Do you set yourself goals every year? New Years Resolutions? How do you go with completing them? 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Market

I know it's already Wednesday but did you have a great weekend?! I hope you had the time to do a little bit of what you love (because that's what weekends are for!). It's been dark and gloomy here in Hobart lately, not summer weather at all, but we can't complain too much because all the rain is keeping things green and I do spare a thought for the many people on tank water who must be sighing with relief to have a decent top up before the hot weather arrives.

This weekend was extra special as it was the last "The Market" for the year. The Market is *the* market for boutique, quality items from local Tasmanian independent makers and designers. Held in The Masonic Temple in Hobart, The Market hand selects each stall holder to ensure the items for sale fit with their philosophy, and a packed hall on Sunday was the best indication that their formula works! And of course why wouldn't it, with so many beautiful items to buy direct from their maker. 

The Market is on 6 times a year, so you'll have to wait a while for the next one, but I can tell you now, the wait is definitely worth it! So much good stuff, every stall holder was unique, well presented and very polished, and the items were just so beautiful! Some sellers were so busy I couldn't even get in to see their range properly. Luckily The Market website is fantastic and even has a Look Book for each market which you can peruse, and then head to the Profiles page to find the artist and their beautiful wares. 

I'd already had a look through and pin pointed the artists I was especially interested in, so my first stop was Sea Soul Studio. I'm not sure if it was the dreamy and quaint porcelain pieces or the story of their creation in a beautiful 1800's cottage studio which made me fall in love - perhaps both - and I just knew a stunning driftwood spoon had to be mine. 

They were even more amazing in real life and I took a (bad) photo while deciding. When I asked Sarah if I could take a photo, she laughed and said "as long as you're not sending it to China to make copies!". Turns out that an overseas manufacturer had contacted her to say they could replicate her product in a factory for a fraction of the price! Can you believe the nerve?! When I said the photos were for a new and not-very-good blog, she asked for a card! I never thought a blog would be interesting enough to warrant a business card but perhaps its worth considering...

Anyway back to the market! Driftwood spoon in hand, I wandered through the other stalls snapping where I could.

Little Twig's display is their namesake

This pic is a little fuzzy but I still had to share their cute sign!

I would have loved to get better snaps of the gorgeous displays but unfortunately there were too many customers! What a nice problem to have :) I bet there are some very lucky people getting some beautiful gifts this Christmas.

Did you spot my terrible photo of this beautiful calendar?! Bon Mot Design - Bec Adamczewski - is the creator behind this lovely piece. Here is a better pic borrowed from the Facebook page - I love the colours, the woodland theme, and the beautiful saying across the top! Notice how all the little animals are in pairs?! It just looked amazing in the frame too.

You can purchase this calendar from the Facebook Page

The calendar isn't on Etsy but Bec's other sweet designs are, you can find them here. I can't stop thinking about the wall calendar, I'm thinking I might have to make some room for it in my office upgrade - which I am still working on, and will update about soon!!

Do you have a favourite market? Or is there somewhere else you head in the Hobart area to buy your local loves?

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Transforming a step ladder

For the past couple of years I, with the help of my family, have been renovating my plain little suburban house in Hobart.  It was a "renovator's delight" back in 2011, and has slowly been transformed into a bright and modern home. By current standards, my house is small - only 10 squares, with a single bathroom and three small bedrooms. I love it though, especially now that the major works are done and it's just the trimmings to complete.

The part I have enjoyed the most is decorating and bringing together the interior with furniture and art and items I've collected over the years. I've had to be mindful of the potential resale as this house is also a stepping stone for me, which means a neutral interior - white walls, pale floorboards, grey tiles... perhaps not very inspiring but its a palate which allows me to bring in colour where I want it, and means when its time to sell I don't have any major changes to make with floor coverings and wall colours, and not doing things twice sounds pretty good to me!

Out of the three bedrooms, one is mine (obviously), one is a guest room and one is an office and craft room. The guest bedroom has a double bed, and even by putting the bed hard against two walls, I only have about 35cm for a bedside table - and let me tell you, there are not many options out there for very small bedside tables!

So when I went looking for inspiration I fell in love with these:

Aren't they just the sweetest?! Lucky for me, I just happened to have my eye on the perfect little ladder! I bided my time and when the poor rickety old thing finally gave in and its owner decided it was destined for landfill, I quickly whisked it home for its new life!

Here she is! Obviously in need of some serious TLC, I'm looking forward to transforming this little piece into something new and great!

This poor step will need repairing or replacing.

With old furniture, I can't help but wonder what it's story is. The marks underneath means its probably home made. Was it a school project, proudly bought home by a budding furniture maker? Did an experienced man whip this stool up for his wife to reach the heights of her pantry? Maybe it was a gift, or simply an item made from scraps someone had lying around....

I will never know its story (the previous owner can't remember where she got it from), but I look forward to adding to its useful life, and showing you how it comes out along the way!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Local Creator: Opaque Handcrafted

Pic stolen from Lilla's Facebook page:

Nothing quite makes my soul sing like someone delving into a creative adventure, following their heart and dreams and putting their hand to something completely new... and the venture being a great success!

That's why I absolutely have to share Opaque Handcrafted with you. I met Lilla a few years ago, we worked alongside each other for a few months in Launceston. She is one of the funniest and stylish people I know so it didn't surprise me at all to find she's been making the most amazing jewellery!

I'm not sure if I've mentioned it but I am a hands down, tree lover. My folks are tree people - I think I knew how to spot different types of deciduous trees before I could complete my times tables as a kid (I'm still pretty rough on the times tables!) so to see Lilla using beautiful Tasmanian timbers in her work meant I was always going to be a hands down fan.

The timber paired up with the pastels of the resin work beautifully, and when Lilla started using copper, well, I had to make some mine! 

Over the moon when my package arrived, how sweet is her logo?

And here they are, sweet as can be, I absolutely love them.

Pic stolen from Opaque Handcrafted on Instagram - Lilla takes far better pics than me!

Shameless selfie wearing my new bling!

Well done Lilla on putting yourself out there and making such a stunning product - I can't wait to see what new stuff you come up with in the future!

You can find Opaque Handcrafted on Facebook:

*This is not a sponsored post. Although I know Lilla, she never even told me about Opaque Handcrafted, I had to stumble onto it myself on Facebook!* 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Shopping Locally this Silly Season

I know it might seem a little typical of the times, but as we head into the silly season, where Australians are forecast to spend a whopping $32.6 billion dollars on food, gifts and home decor, I want to get on the bandwagon and really encourage you to think about where your dollars are really going.

Perhaps, in this crazy world of excess and commercialism, its truly time to sit back, reassess how we do this time of year, and make a conscious effort to be more local with our spending. Because money spent at retail chains and corporate giants simply lines the pockets of shareholders, whereas spending money with your local retailers helps keep their doors open, their kids in out of school activities, and means they can then contribute to their local community as well. It also means you can have more of a say about the conditions your gifts were made in, and where the parts of the gift were sourced.

Why buy a mass made candle, when you can support a local person who makes beautiful candles from Tasmanian beeswax? Think about it. You're supporting the farmer, and the creator.

Perhaps think a little further - if you buy a range of local jams and relishes from a stall at the Hobart Farm Gate farmers market, your dollars are supporting a local maker, a local business, and your lucky gift recipient is eating a preservative free product made from locally grown fruit and veg which is in turn supporting a local farmer! That's at least three lots of families who live in your area, send their kids to school with your kids, and work and (hopefully) support the community you work and support. Perhaps the maker had their labels designed by a local artist, perhaps their business cards were printed with a local printer.... the flow on can be endless if you think about it.

And here's another thought - what about buying second hand? The vintage craze is well and truly in full swing so why not take advantage of the trend and buy your loved ones a vintage cake tin, or a retro vase, or a antique tea cup? Recycling, a unique item, and also supporting a local shop or market stall are all advantages of something that's used. 

Use the opportunity to tell your gift receiver your new philosophy behind the gift - nothing says thoughtful like a person actively supporting local this time of year.

So if you're still with me, here are some places you can start looking right here in Tasmania:

Gorgeous artwork from My Little Pixels

Aren't the dreamy colours in these pictures beautiful?! Isn't it nicer to decorate with a local artist, with images from Tasmania, than the mass produced items from the big retailers? 

There are so many that I love, the trouble would be picking which one! Anna Jane also makes her artwork available in phone cases, pendants and calendars!

You can find My Little Pixels on Etsy and Facebook. (And Anna Jane is having a sale at the moment too! Woo!)

Vintage finds with A Creative Lifestyle

Jane must have the best luck ever in finding on trend and sweet items out and about, because her Etsy shop is packed full of pre-loved vintage pieces! I especially love the more industrial style items like wire baskets...

...vintage keys...

...and these quirky wooden shoe forms!

I purchased some great items from Jane, and they came wrapped in old dress patterns and she included a sweet gift too - I can't wait to show you once I finish my craft room upgrade!

Especially good if you don't have the time to go scouring yourself, why not give something unique and pre-loved this year?

Cards with an Australian twist with Trees 4 The Wood

Don't you think its funny that here in Australia people still insist on cooking winter meals at the height of summer, and decorate their homes with frosty santas, snowflakes and wintery evergreens? I see this style in seasonal cards all the time and that's what to love about Grace's hand printed, linocut Christmas cards, featuring local fauna and flora.

What's not to love about this hand printed, hand painted card? Aren't they the sweetest thing! 

And see that funky pencil there? You can buy those from Grace as well! In fact it was these very pencils that lead me to her Etsy page in the first place!

You can even check out Grace's blog to see how she hand prints these cards, right on her kitchen bench! 

Beautiful Books with Jennifer Skelly at Red Parka

Do you love books? I sure do and what better way to support a local bookshop by buying a local book? Especially a book about local birds!! With both words and illustrations by Jennifer, you can check out her funky stuff here on her website

So there you have it. Just a couple of the endless options of items you can buy this silly season from local people. And don't forget, local markets (both traditional and artisan), the Farm Gate farmers market and the new Hobart Twilight Market are also great resources for finding local sellers. 

I know this post is only scratching on the surface! Where do you shop locally? Any Tasmanian favourites?

*This is not a sponsored post, I genuinely think these artists and sellers rock, and you should totally buy me a present from them!*

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Creating a Living Wreath with Kate at Botanical

Botanical is at 139 Macquarie St, Hobart

Did you know that there is an amazing new florist open in Hobart?! The first I knew about Botanical was driving past on my way home from work, I couldn't miss the stunning window display which instantly reminded me of the florists and flower shops I've admired in Melbourne. I knew straight away that this was something different. Of course this meant my daily drive involved checking out the window to see what was new, because every couple of days the display changes! Wire cage Edison bulbs, terrariums, hanging pots and of course abundant blooms spilling onto the pavement, I had to know more!

Thankfully Botanical has a beautiful website and after reading all about Kate, her business and seeing the beautiful photos of her flowers, I was so excited to find Kate hosting workshops right in her lovely shop! Luckily that very day I needed a gift to celebrate the birth of my best friend's first baby, a perfect excuse to call in and sign up for the last spot for the Living Wreath workshop and collect a very cute succulent terrarium on the way.

Saturday couldn't come around quickly enough! What better way to spend a Saturday afternoon than with 8 lovely ladies, creating something amazing among beautiful gift ware and the heavy scents of hundreds of flowers.

Kate's passion is infectious! Her style is organic, natural, simple and classy, allowing the flowers to be the star of the show - no leery cardboard boxes or glitter spray here! During the class Kate told us, "Do what you love. If you don't love what you do, you won't succeed" how true is that?!

No doubt like you, I've seen living succulent wreaths online, including how to guides. I've probably pinned quite a few but like a lot of these sorts of projects I've just never gotten around to actually making it happen. Plus why try and work your way through hard to follow online instructions when you can support an amazing local business and learn from their many years of skill?

Kate shows us how!
So the next few hours were spent getting our hands dirty, digging in to moss and peat and dirt all under Kate's careful guidance, upon rustic recycled benches with Tasmanian bubbly in hand.  We selected succulent cuttings from a huge range and arranged them where they will hopefully grow and look lovely for a long time! Kate has no hesitation in sharing her tricks of the trade, and happily provides all the details so you can go home and create more of these amazing wreaths, even offering ideas on collecting succulents for free!

I love my wreath! Now I have to wait a couple of weeks for the roots to attach, and then I will be able to show you a picture of it hanging in all its glory!

Needless to say I am so very pleased I went along to this workshop, and highly recommend them to anyone and everyone! Well done Kate, your shop is amazing and I can't wait to see how Botanical grows and evolves in the future.

Be sure to "like" Botanical on Facebook (especially now as she has a great competition on!) and head to her website,, clicking on 'Workshops' to find out what's coming up. Or better yet, head on in, experience the lovely shop and grab yourself a stunning posie!

*Obviously, all views on this post are mine, and this isn't sponsored in any way - I simply just want to share stuff that I love, and you might too!*

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Summer is almost here...

A lot of my childhood memories revolve around fruit, and nothing says Summer to me quite like picking raspberries from the garden! Imagine my delight when raspberry canes suddenly appeared from behind a bush in the garden beside my driveway - a perfect compliment to the strawberry patch they are growing next to.

Lucky to last long enough to be photographed, I hope to be picking fresh raspberries daily for at least the next few months!

Fruit has to be the most satisfying thing to grow in the garden, and trust me when I say if I can do it, you can too, as these poor plants are ignored for most of the year until its time to start picking and eating!

Do you grow fruit? What is your favourite? 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Market Find: Tea Cup

Are you a crazy market lover like me? Going to markets has long been a love affair in my family and now I can't resist stopping in for a look at any country market that comes my way.  Since living in Hobart I've become a semi-regular at the Sorell Market (don't you just love their hand written calendar?!), and especially on their long weekend markets which seem to attract far more stalls than the good amount that go on a regular Sunday.  All the usual things are there like crafts, bric-a-brac, veggies and plants, stalls selling food and old tools and books. Part of the market is indoors at the Hall, the rest spreading outside the front and back of the hall, the rear carpark and the paddock area next to the Hall. 

I don't always buy things at the market but this time I found the cutest teacup I just couldn't resist. Pale green with a ivy design, its fine bone china from England and says its from the Romany collection underneath. I love the little leaves, different to the flowers that are usually found on teacups, and what better way to enjoy a herbal tea on a Sunday afternoon!

Perhaps this is the start of something new to collect?!

About Me

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I'm a young earth loving Tasmanian who loves nature, art, old things, handmade things, collecting things and embracing the lovelier things the world has to offer.