Christmas coffee pot delights!

I received this fantastic coffee pot for Christmas from my lovely partner Mr DB - who knows me and my style all too well!! He picked it up at a local vintage and second-hand market - and I just love it! It goes perfectly with my little red enamel milk pan and it makes a lovely pot of coffee :-)
We don't know anything about it though - if it is an original retro coffee pot, or the manufacturer / country of origin..... it certainly doesn't look hand-painted, and definitely looks like it was manufactured with the red top and cute floral pattern.
If anyone does know anything about it I'd love to know - I wondered if the fab retro fanatics over at H is for Home might know?.....

Seasons greetings & holiday wishes

I just thought I'd take this opportunity to pass on festive seasons greetings and wish everyone happy holidays! I know not everyone celebrates the Christmas tradition, but I guess it's still a great time to (hopefully) take some time out to relax, enjoy being with friends and family - and share much laughter, joy and good food!

Having grown up in England I still can't get used to Christmas in the summer - and I do miss the cold, dark days at this time of year. It was always magical growing up with all the twinkly christmas lights, cold and dark weather outside but so lovely and toasty and snug inside with open fires and endless supply of mince pies and mulled wine.

Not having family over here Christmas is normally spent with other 'orphan' friends having a good Aussie Christmas with obligatory bbq packed with lovely fresh seafood - so it's not all bad!!

Whatever and however you chose to celebrate I wish everyone a happy one!

Little Golden Books - 'Tootle'

A few weeks ago ( on yet another second-hand shop jaunt) I picked up a pile of old 'Little Golden Books' and was very excited to see some of my favourites from when I was a child! It really was a trip down memory lane and it was lovely revisiting them after such a long time.

I thought I'd profile a few of the books starting with 'Tootle'. Tootle is a small locomotive train and his story about his education at Lower Trainswitch School - where small trains learn how to become big trains, and all the distractions with the meadow next to his train tracks.

It's a very cute story and full of lovely old-school illustrations by Tibor Gergely. The books original copyright date is 1945.

Framed plate artwork (and last market stall for 2009)

I am doing my last market stall this Sunday at the Shirt & Skirt market at Abbotsford Convent! I have finally had time to make these framed pictures using cut out sections from my growing collection of found second-hand plates. As usual the theme for the shapes is tableware related (teapots, cups and cuttlery etc). Some of the shapes feature the patterns from the front of the plate, whilst some I have reversed to show the plate backstamp.

Sorry for the very crappy photo's - it's hard to photograph them without getting a reflection of me in them! I will be selling these at the market and it will be a good venue to test the response.
Anyway I'd love to hear what you think of these new additions to the Me Old China range of products!

London Kitchens

As you can probably tell by now I do love anything to do with tableware, kitchenalia and vintage / retro styles. So, I just had to buy this fabulous book called 'London Kitchens' which is jam-packed full of the above! It is a Japanese published book - and they have a great selection of other must-have titles.

The book is, of course, full of images of contemporary designers, photographers, illustrators, lecturers and artists kitchens - most of which also have a penchant for vintage and retro style elements making the book an absolute visual treat!
It's a great reference book and it's never too far from reach. It's my dream to create my own range of tableware designs - and the book is a great reminder of how creative kitchenware can be!

You can buy this book and other titles here:

.......(have I left it too late to ask santa for some other titles from this collection?....perhaps London Vintage or London Gardens......) :-)

Sundays market at the 'Meat Market'

Inside Melbournes iconic Meat Market

Gorgeous ceramic functional vessels by Sophie Milne
Yesterday I took part in a Christmas market at north Melbourne's Meat market - it was a good venue and I had great stall neighbours including the lovely Sophie Milne who creates beautiful functional vessles and Small Space Jewellery who specialise in contemporary hand-crafted jewellery (they also have a very cute shop and on-site workshop).
The market went well and it is always a really nice experience meeting fellow talented and creative people. Everyone selling hand-made work share the same goals and there is a common understanding of the difficulties, frustrations, highs, lows and overall the passion involved in wanting to earn a living being creative in a specific chosen field.
I also made a few purchases..... I couldn't resist the delicious soft green ceramic vessels by Sophie Milne (see picture above). They are very beautiful and quite multi-functional but I think they are a perfect size for drinking tea - especially as they are so lovely to hold. Sophie has a great blog: Six Hundred Degrees and here you can find where to buy her work.
I also bought some very yummy marmalade and dips from Elfreds. They had free dips and tastings opposite my little stall (mmm -perfect for hungry market sellers!) Elfreds are keen to use and promote local produce and use all natural, additive and gluten free ingredients. Yum!

Christmas at the Meat Market!

I'm taking part in a special Christmas market in North Melbourne's heritage listed Meat Market this Sunday! The Meat Market built in 1880 is a lovely example of Victoria architecture complete with large exposed beams and bluestone cobbled floor.
There are up to 80 stalls featuring talented local crafters and designers where you can find unique hand-made gifts away from the crowds and generic products on the high street.
I will be at the market on Sunday from 11.00am - 8.00pm - and it's indoors so I don't have to worry about the wind or rain!
You can visit the link to the market here.

Gardening with quirky 'pots'

I thought I'd share some more pictures from my garden and my love for turning all sorts of found and recycled items into containers for plants.
My love for kitchenalia and ceramic dinnerware doesn't just end in the kitchen - it also extends into the garden! Found coloured saucepans, old second-hand tin kettles and empty food tins all make wonderful colourful and unusual containers for plants! I've even used an old magazine rack as a plant holder (see picture above). Teacups and saucers also feature housing small succulents and small spider-plants.
Gardens are great for anyone with a creative passion - you can be very experimental in the garden and I love that gardens are constantly changing. Container planting is perfect for moving plants around and playing with different compositions. For anyone else with a quirky eye for their garden I can highly recommend the book 'Planted Junk' by Adam Caplin - you can buy it here.

Garden maintenance

As the weather was so lovely over the weekend we decided to do some garden maintenance in preparation for the hot, dry summer. In our front garden we planted little mixed beds of herbs, succulents and some drought tolerant native plants - we learnt pretty quickly that not much else survives those 40C days in summer!!
On the exposed soil areas around the garden beds we used a cheap, recycled and very effective form of mulch - old newspapers! Not only does the newspaper break down to form a protective layer of mulch but it also helps to vastly reduce those pesky weeds (gotta love that!)
Working in small sections first we soaked wads of newspaper in water (collected from the rinse cycle from the washing) before laying directly on the soil, we then covered this with a weed mat before topping with decorative stones. This will hopefully help to retain moisture, keep the soil temperature more consistent (insulating against cold and heat) and protect the soil from baking in the heat of the sun. I can also recomend following this with a nice cool refreshing beer :-)

Christmas illustrations

I was flicking through the Sunday Age 'Christmas Essentials' magazine on the weekend - and came accross one of my Christmas designs featured! (see inset on top picture) The illustrations and designs were comissioned for a range of Christmas ceramic tableware items for Kmart.
I thought I'd share the original illustrations for the designs; they were all painted in watercolour before being scanned into the computer and arranging the placements for each ceramic item, along with creating coordinating borders.
It's always a nice surprise (and sometimes a little strange) coming across your own designs unexpectedly!


Things have been pretty busy for the last week or so..... I have been working on some freelance design projects, as well as preparing for my second market stall which I had on Sunday. I made some more wall plates with cut-out kettle, cups and tea-pot shapes for the market stall which I hope to be listing on Etsy soon as these have proved to be quite popular.
The second market stall went a little better than two weeks ago (phew!) and I did sell a couple of my new teapot brooches and necklaces. It's lovely that people like them - and it's really funny to hear people talk about recognising plates they used to have at home!
I did learn a valuable lesson at the market...... that my hand-made tags aren't waterproof! We had several big bursts of rain and unfortunately the ink ran on my tags and got ruined. Fingers crossed for sunshine in two weeks time!

Peppermint magazine!

Well today I was very excited to receive the forth issue of Peppermint magazine - which features one of my Me Old China ceramic plate necklaces in their eco christmas wish list!

Peppermint magazine describes itself as being Australia's only eco fashion magazine and prides itself on featuring and promoting environmentally friendly, sustainable and ethical fashion design. It is a fairly new magazine (issue 4 has just hit the stores) but has already won several awards including best sustainability in publishing.

I was very flattered to be included in the eco christmas wish list amongst many other talented and environmentally aware products - and to be featured in the magazine in general. It is a great concept to be supporting ethical fashion and is well worth checking out. You can find Peppermint magazine here.

Cute tiles

I bought these tiles a while back from Retro Active in Northcote - I had great ideas of actually putting them onto my wall as decoration, but as with most projects I haven't got round to it yet!

I particularly love the emerald green and olive green hens - soooo cute and as green is my favourite colour I just couldn't resist snapping them up.
They are all English tiles and have a very retro look to them - although I don't know if they are new tiles with a retro look - or if they are original? Most of the tiles have at one stage been on a wall and have clearly been used.....however new or old I love them and will one day get around to doing something with them!

market lessons learnt

Still feel like I’ve got first-market-hangover, but slowly getting over it. I’ve learnt lots from this first market..... the main one being how hard it is to sell your own work!

It’s actually quite horrible - and I’d much rather hide behind an on-line shop than face people. I’m just no good at selling my own work – and say all the wrong things! It’s really hard to try and make small-talk and inform people about the process without it sounding like a sales pitch – so very often I said nothing.

When I sold one of my new wall-plates I panicked and then didn’t wrap it properly, had the wrong size bag and after the customer left I felt awful that I made such a mess of it! One of the good things of selling on-line is you can be ‘hidden’ from the selling process and almost separate yourself from it. You can take the time to make sure everything is packaged correctly and looks nice - which is really important to me, but at the market I felt under pressure and realised I had no space to easily wrap and package the goods apart from the floor!

The pricing of my products has a big impact on sales and I think even though it is a market selling all hand-made / designed products there is still an expectation that these will be at fairly cheap prices. When you sell through a retailer (as I am) you need to make sure your prices are consistent with their selling price (you can’t undercut them) and so it does make the pricing very difficult to tailor to a market.

Ho-hum. It was a good learning process for me anyway – and I hope that things can only get better for next time!

Post market blues

I am suffering today from ‘post-market blues’ – I wonder if this is a common syndrome craft-market sellers suffer from?....

Yesterday was my first ever market stall selling the products I make for Me Old China and also my own range of greetings cards – it was a beautiful sunny day at Abbotsford Convent and I was sweltering under the shade of 2 garden umbrella’s! I had two great stall neighbours – The Cats Meow and Babushka Baby and they made me feel quite at home in the market environment. After several weeks of preparation and madly trying to get everything ready, I now feel slightly deflated and very tired after the event.

Thank you to all my lovely friends who came along to say “Hello” – it meant a lot to me and I was really grateful for everyone’s support, interest, feedback and encouragement. Thanks also to the lovely Miss M for helping me man the stall for a few hours. :)

Cut wall plates

I thought I'd share some images of these cut wall plates I have been working on as part of the Me Old China collection. They are plates designed to be hung on the wall as decoration (there is quite a revival of this I have noticed recently - funny how things come back into fashion all of a sudden) but these wall plates have retro kettles, teapots, cups and cuttlery cut out of them!
I think they are quite fun - and would look great in a kitchen don't you think? They work really well as a collection of plates and add a new twist with the negative shapes. It is still a work in progress and they need a few technical adjustments - but I'm hoping to make some more of these and add a few more different cut shapes.
Happy Friday everyone!


I'm still busy preparing for the market, and I have decided to get a range of cards made featuring my illustrations to also sell on my stall. I have six designs printed - two signature floral illustrations, some cup-cakes and of course some vintage tea-cups. All in watercolour and all created with my very own left hand!

Anyone fancy a cuppa?.....

I have been working on some new designs for the Me Old China range of jewellery especially to trial them at my up-coming market stall - and have made a small collection of brooches and pendants with a tea theme in mind.

I do love a nice cuppa, so I thought it would be fitting to create some teapots and cups fashioned from these second-hand 'Willow' ceramic plates. The collection consists of retro inspired teapots and kettles with some good old-fashioned cups!

You can just dangle them in front of someone as a cute hint that you might like a nice cuppa tea ;-)

I will be launching these at my up-coming market stall at The Abbotsford Convent this Sunday 15th November. I'd love to know what people think and if it's worth making some more on similar theme - so please let me know your thoughts!