Handmade Jakarta

Sarinah is an Indonesia department store chain that has all the usual clothes and accessories but also large sections (and in the case of the one in central Jakarta, several floors) devoted to Indonesian handcrafts, including carving, painting, fabric (mainly batik but lots of ikat too); pretty much everything, really.

I spent an afternoon on my recent trip to Jakarta happily lost in there.

This life-size tiger was never coming home with me but it was amazing. As I was crouching to take a photo at close quarters, a shop keeper standing behind me growled in the otherwise silent store. I got such a fright and he and his mate then peed themselves laughing. As did my friend and I. Once my heart rate had returned to normal.

Reams and reams of batik fabrics covered the tables.

Look, it isn’t for everyone but as a long-time Indophile I am very fond of it. Not the shirts so much but there are some beautiful dresses. And check out the lampshades. Want one of those.

This sparkly batik, unlike the wooden tiger, did come home with me.

As I mentioned in my last post, ikat is still very in evidence in the design world. There is lots of ikat-inspired fabric but the real stuff, the stuff that is made in the traditional way where the warp and weft threads are pre-dyed and then woven to create patterns, is much rarer. Not least because it’s such a complex process.

This rug was made entirely by hand using dyes derived from local plants in Sumba, one of the lesser Sunda Islands in Eastern Indonesia that is particularly famed for its ikat.

This perfect example so very nearly came home with me.

But it was AUD$400. Which in many ways is so reasonable for what it is. But expensive for me. Plus after a discussion with my handsome husband I got the impression he may have filed for divorce if I proceeded. And I’m quite fond of him so decided against it.

The ubiquitous crafty owls have even made it to Jakarta.

Fabric headbands.

And these fabric covered bead necklaces (my tutorial here) are so twirling betty. Loved ’em.



Need to go back…

My splurge: Phil Cuttance’s Faceture

I splurged on this vase by Phil Cuttance recently and I can’t stop looking at it.

The play of light and shadow on it is endlessly fascinating.

“It also looks almost digital but it’s actually super low-fi”*

Each vase is handmade and not only that but handmade from a different mould each time. This wonderful video shows you the mesmerising process. Truly, even if you’re not into how stuff is made, this is worth watching. The process itself is an artwork.

“I’m working out an approach that I like – handmade and craft-based, because craft isn’t a dirty word anymore…The Industrial Revolution kicked off in London, and there are still so many corner shops where people do craft-based things, like blacksmiths or little potters” *

Yes, yes, yes.


This is just one (eeek) of the things I’ve bought after seeing it on one of my most favourite Aussie design blogs, Kitten Bear.

*Quotes from interview with Phil Cuttance in 2012 Autumn Australian DQ Magazine.

The most surprising (and delicious) thank you bouquet

You can imagine my reaction when this was delivered to my doorstep.

It was a thank you from a friend. Totally unneccessary and over-the-top. But my goodness I’m glad she did. Such a treat.

From: freshandfruity.com.au

Kate Spade NY, Florence Broadhurst and my cushions.

Do you remember this post from a while back where I showed you these cushions I made from some of my most precious fabric for our (then) new couch?

Well I was very chuffed to see the same wonderful Florence Broadhurst print in Kate Spade’s 2012 collection. Made me feel very fashion zeitgeisty indeed.

Here’s the print adorning various gorgeous accoutrement. I’ll take one of each, thanks.

Wouldn’t think of leaving town without this suitcase.

And finally, Florence B aside, I am loving every single thing on this stage and indeed the entire collection.

Last 4 photos from Fashionista.com which, incidentally, does a really good summary of how Florence Broadhurst’s endlessly fascinating life inspired the collection.

Yep I do without reservation loves me my FloBro. Only available here.

One step closer to being a mermaid

(Picture from The Mertailor)

Sophia, that is, not me. I’ve long ago given up my dreams of gliding siren-like through clear water, hair streaming back and glittering tale flashing. Well, I had until I started poking around on the old interwebs to find a mermaid tail fin for Sophia to take on holidays with us this year.

I found (and bought) this:

(And yep, I’ll be the mother on the side of the pool trying to squeeze her adult feet into this kid-sized fin)

But I also uncovered a treasure trove of watery wonderfulness.

I’ve always been obssessed with underwater worlds and as a kid I used to hold my breath as long as I could while I studied the play of sunlight on the wonderful natural slate that lined the pool of my childhood home. I thought if I practised long and hard enough and wished for it vehemently enough, I would sprout gills just like the little chimney sweep child in the Water Babies book I loved so much.

(Pics by me from my 1979 edition of Charles Kingsley’s The Water Babies: A Fairy Tale for a Land Baby, illustrated by Linley Sambourne)

Long story short, I didn’t grow gills. And to be honest I think the only thing that will be growing on my neck in the future is some unsightly wattle. Which presumably won’t help me breathe under water.

Anyway, while I’m sorting out the whole “become half fish half human thing” I might have to pay a visit to The Mertailor because he can make me a tail like this.

Isn’t that dreamy? I must confess, though, that my fantasies of being a mermaid don’t include porno music of the type the gliding lass in the video is enjoying. But that’s just a minor quibble.

The Mertailor got his initial inspiration from visits to the Weeki Wachee Springs State Park as a kid. This is a place that bills itself as the Only City of Live Mermaids!

The young Mertailor even spent a week at one of their Mermaid Camps and well the rest, as they say, is fishtory. HAHAHAHAHA.

Weeki Wachee is my dream holiday destination. It’s kitschy, historical and brimming with mermaids who perform daily shows.

In the meantime, I’m going to track down a copy of this film.

It was filmed at Weeki Wachee and looks utterly divine.

(Pictures from allstarpics.com)

And I know this takes away a tiny bit of the magic, but isn’t this the most gorgeous photo of Ann Blyth being helped out of her mermaid suit?

Shanna Murray wall decals – a subtle and gorgeous alternative to standard wall decals.

5 years in this house and I am slowly putting together a list of things I want to decorate our bare living room walls with; pictures, photos, various ephemera and although I was shying away from the whole done-to-death wall decal thing, I have fallen head over heels in love with Shanna Murray’s illustrated decals.

They’re so subtle and beautiful.

And see how she’s used tape to attach the photos, I think it looks fab but I also like the thought of one of my removable fabric wall tape decals to hold up a photo here.

My walls are white but the decals are available in charcoal, speckled gold and speckled silver as well.

I think these are such a gorgeous way to “frame” a photo on a wall.

Now if I could just decide which one I want…

Fabric confetti: a tutorial

It was only a matter of time before I figured out how to use fabric in my hole punches instead of paper. And that time, my friends, has arrived. Hurrah, I hear you cry. Hurrah for fabric and hole punches and the slightly worrying people who sit around working out how to combine them.

What you’ll need:

What to do:

1. Cut fabric to manageable size and smear enough PVA glue over both sides  – not so much that it’s drenched but enough that the fabric feels wet on both sides. I used my fingers to do that. More elegant types might prefer to employ some kind of brush.

2. Allow fabric to dry. This is the hardest bit as it usually requires an overnight stint to be thoroughly dry. Patience is not my middle name. It’s Elizabeth.

I hung mine from a make-shift string clothes line my handsome husband strung up for me (because by the time I realised I needed it my hands were too glue-y to do it and I couldn’t put down my fabric). Forethought is also not, as you’re now aware, my middle name.

One little tip: if your fabric is not patterned on both sides, you will need to fold it in half on itself as you’re glue-ing. That didn’t occur to me until I started creating my first lots of confetti and I was left with dots that had a right side and a wrong side. Not very festive. Not in my world anyway. So then I went back and glued the fabric over itself and waited another 24 hours. The waiting was agony, I tell you.

3. Once your fabric is completely dry it will feel stiff and basically be begging you to give it a once over with your hole punch. That’s right, begging you. Put your ear right up close to it and you might actually be able to hear it begging. Shameless stuff.

4. Now punch to your heart’s content. That’s right, punch it up my friends.

I even like the way the leftover fabric looks.

And this works on a variety of fabrics. For the next batch I used quite a thin grey poplin and then a much heavier piece of yellow floral quilting cotton. I also combined smaller circles with larger ones. Oh yes girlfriends, I mixed it on up.

But of course, if circles aren’t your thing it doesn’t matter a jot (as my lovely Grandmother, the less-oft mentioned Isobel used to say) because if you can find a hole punch in a shape, you can make fabric confetti in that shape.

Imagine my excitement when these perfect little hearts fell out of the little collection tray at the bottom of my punch.

Spurred on by my success, I decided to really up the ante and with my heart in my throat and hands all a-tremble I slid some fabric between a snowflake punch. Yep, a finely detailed snowflake punch. I know! Potential fabric confetti suicide. But my courage paid off. OMG, I was so elated. I fist pumped the air like 10 times.

Okay I didn’t (no, really, I didn’t – please believe me *plaintively*), but the thought of myself doing that because of fabric confetti makes me laugh.

I don’t think I would go doing anything rash like trying the snowflakes with a heavier fabric though. Unless you’re totally without fear. And if that’s you, I salute you.

And would it be twirling betty without polka dots? Nope.

This could be used in so many ways.

  • As, um, confetti. Ie, imagine gorgeous paper (or fabric) cones filled with fabric confetti to shower the bride and groom with. Especially if it were heart-shaped. Sigh.
  • In an envelope with a special invitation or letter. Although,  whenever I open a letter like this:

and confetti or glitter or whatever goes all over my floor I do get a touch annoyed. But if you enjoy irritating your friends, this could be the use for you.

  • Strewn over a white tablecloth for a posh lunch or at a wedding. Would be lovely to use fabric that had already been used eg, for bridesmaid’s dresses or even the bride’s dress. But only if she’s a bit of a goer and has gone the non-traditional route. White confetti on a white table-cloth wouldn’t have quite the same effect.

By the way, there are dedicated fabric stiffeners on the market including one with the snicker-inducing name of  ‘Stiffy’, but PVA glue works equally well, is probably cheaper and available everywhere. And in any case, I might be brave but I’m not brave enough to go into a shop and ask for some Stiffy. Well not without blushing anyway.

Please do comment with other ideas for how you would use fabric confetti. There must be lots…

More love than you can handle

I’m not quite ready to relinquish the loved up-ness of the past few weeks. What with Valentine’s Day and my last three love story posts, I’ve still got that lovin’ feeling. So I thought I would share just a few more little things that warm the cockles and then, my friends, it’s back to hardcore craftoir.

As I’ve mentioned before, my handsome husband and I don’t really go in for Valentine’s Day very much but when I saw these pencils, I couldn’t resist getting them for him.

I bought these from lovely Etsy seller Knot and Bow and she shipped them extra quickly from New York so that they arrived right on V Day. Lovely.

I recently bought this little cross-stitched cardiograph from Ukranian Etsy seller Skrynka.

How cute is it?

Finally, after kind of a rough week a little while back, I arrived home one afternoon to discover a present on my front door step. My gorgeous friend Luisa saw this wrapping paper and the hearts reminded her of stuff she had seen in the past on this blog so she picked it up for me.

Made my day, it did. Absolutely love the colours. It’s designed by Caroline Gardner.

And while I’m sharing some love, can I just say how very, very grateful I was for all the gorgeous comments people left in response to my last three love story posts. I was taken by surprise by the number of comments people left and your positive response overwhelmed me and really, truly made me very happy. Thanks to each and every one of you. I feel so lucky that people read the things I write (some, apparently, right to the end!) , let alone to then have them take the time to say lovely things. Smooches one and all.

Back soon with a couple of tutorials, some “before and after” mini makeovers, twirling betty celebrity encounters and lots, lots more.

On an evening in Roma

One of my “ciao” clips was included in a lovely treasury by Kiddins Design on Etsy.

It’s called “On an evening in Roma” which is particularly relevant for me because Sophia was born in Rome.

Some of you already know just how much Rome means to me but this little story illustrates the tragic and almost hilarious extent  to which I am emotionally attached to Rome.

Do you know that song “Goodbye my Lover” by James Blunt?  Well, it came out just as we were leaving Rome and every time it came on (and it was played ad nauseum) I bawled my eyes out. No, not because I was being separated from my husband or something normal like that, no I was crying because I was leaving my beloved city.  Well, I never said I wasn’t the emotional type.

Deep breath. Right, back to the treasury at hand. Some very cute picks here but I bet you can guess which one is my favourite?

On an Evening in Roma by Kiddinsdesign

Valentine’s Day…




Pair of Vespas – 4x…


Red roses Fifi medi…


Vacanze Romane Post…


picnic cocktail nap…


Olive You – Pillow …


Copper and Lace Nec…


Handmade wallet tr…


Green felt stamped …


set of italian wine…


Ciao Bonjour, Print…


Venice Italy -Gondo…


cottage stripe and …


Red and blue foular…


SALE 50% off: Scoot…


Treasury tool is sponsored by Lazzia.com.

Yep, one of those cheeky OLIVE YOU pillows will be coming to live with us very soon.

For another Italian-themed Etsy treasury you might like to have a look at this one I put together a while back called Primavera Picnic featuring all the things you might need for a Spring picnic in the Italian countryside.

Just before I go, a couple of things: I hope to be back in the next couple of days with a tutorial for something Valentine’s related but sheesh it’s taking ages to put together.

Also, I wanted to say THANK YOU so very much to the people that have made a $5 donation to the Premier’s Relief Fund for the devastating Queensland flood and are now entered in my raffle to win $60AUD worth of twirling betty goodies plus a further $40 donation made to the fund in their name.

I am extending the raffle for a few days and it now closes on Wednesday, 26th January at 12 midday (AEDST). I’ve amended my previous post to reflect that change.

So you’ve still got time to make a difference to the people who have been through so much and lost so much in Queensland. And the chance to win some fab prizes to boot. And if twirling betty goodies don’t appeal, then do check out the masterlist of auctions and raffles over on the Make It Perfect blog. There are SO many wonderful things to choose from.

Ciao belli!