Decorative lettering

I snapped these pictures of different types of decorative lettering on my recent London visit. I love decoration in any form - and clever use of fonts and typefaces can be extremly eye-catching and decorative in their own right.
The first two pictures were from posters in the East-End advertising Ice Cream - they caught my eye instantly and I loved the simple but strong graphic elements. The 'Toy Theatres' was from a street sign at Covent Garden (very shakspearean!) and the 'No Exit' and 'Way Out' are from original tiles in the tube station at Covent Garden.
And I couldn't have a feature of decorative lettering from London without the famous Underground logo! It's proper name is 'The Roundel' and its distinctive style and font was designed by Edward Johnston in 1913 - and remains in use to this day.
Click here to scroll through some great old photo's featuring the London underground and it's iconic logo.

Ruby Patootie

I wanted to profile 'Ruby Patootie' which is another boutique stocking the Me Old China range! Ruby Patootie is based in the very cute Sparta Place in Brunswick (just off Sydney Rd, next to Mariana Hardwick).
Ruby Patootie 'draws inspiration from the myth of the ruby slipper and the belief that all girls can find their power in a new pair of shoes or indeed a new outfit' (absolutely right!). They stock hand-picked garments and one-off designs often with a slight vintage or retro feel to the ranges, and include accessories and jewellery from local artists (like me!)
There is a great selection of colourful prints and fabrics in the store, along with some gorgeous comfy shoes (I bought a pair) and is well worth popping along if you are looking for something a little different and individual to wear. You can find details of the shop here:

Old childrens illustrations

I have a real fascination at the moment for old childrens illustrations, so I thought I'd share one of my own books from my childhood. I think it's one of the only books I have kept, and it finally made it's way out to Australia last year.
The book is called 'Lavender's Blue' and is a beautifully illustrated book full of classic (and some strange) nursery rhymes. As a very young child I loved leafing through the large pages - and rather than reading the nursery rhymes I was always drawn to the illustrations (well before I knew why!)
The book was first published in 1954 and contains a mix of black and white linear artwork and full colour pages of lovely naive and soft hand-drawn images illustrating the rhymes. As with the other books I have been collecting the appeal is in the style of the artwork which is so different to todays illustrative style, and the fact they are all hand generated with all the lovely quirks this brings.
"Lavender's blue, dilly, dilly, Lavender's green, when I am king dilly, dilly, You shall be Queen."

Decorative tiles - London

When I was in London recently I took these photo's in Richmond of gorgeous old blue and white tiles decorating shop fronts. It's lovely to see such beautiful decoration and detail that went into older style architecture - and in such contrast to todays modern (and rather plain) style. Although they are old tiles I think they provide great inspiration for modern pattern creation.

Vintage teacups and saucers

I love finding and collecting second-hand vintage or retro teacups and saucers, and I have been using a few of mine in some recent artwork for a design commission (these are all painted in watercolour).
I found a few more vintage lovelies on a recent second-hand shop hunt - and have decided I should do some more painting as they are just too cute to have sitting lonely on my shelf!

Fab packaging

When I was back in the UK recently I bought some teabags (well - it is the done thing in England) and I was drawn to buying these rather yummy bags because of the fabulous packaging! I loved the simple, but slightly quirky graphic imagery - and green is my favourite colour too!
The packaging is biodegradable, the teabags were unbleached and organic - and the manufacturers of the tea only work with producers who are striving to improve standards of welfare for workers and their families. How good is that! Great tea, great packaging, great ethics.
We could all learn a lot from this about how to produce goods in a thoughtful and sustainable - but beautifully packaged way. Visit Clipper teas here!
You can also visit the very clever design-firm 'Big Fish' who created the packaging here:


I thought I'd do a couple of features on the boutique stores that are currently stocking the 'Me Old China' range of pendants - and the first store is Lulamae!
Lulamae is named after an Audrey Hepburn character (you've got to love that for a start!) and is the inspiration behind their range of colourful vintage-esque range of clothes and accessories...... they also stock a great range of coloured shoes (you can never have enough coloured shoes if you ask me) in greens, reds, purples etc....too cute!!
The colourful, vintage-inspired and mix and match approach of Lulamae fits in perfectly with the style and character of Me Old China - and is definitely worth dropping by for a looksy.
(It is the South Melbourne store only that are stocking pieces from the jewellery range - click here for the website and address details).

Second-hand finds in England

Cute vintage florals and the classic monochrome 'Homemaker' pattern

Detail from one of my favourite floral patterns with its beautiful backstamp and a stunning unusual interpretation of the Willow design by Wedgwood.

I picked up these plates (amongst some others that I am now eagerly waiting to be shipped out)whilst on my recent trip to the UK. I was especially pleased with the 'Homemaker' plates; the pattern is one of the best known ceramic designs of the 1950's and is considered a design classic and one of the most popular patterns of the 20th Century. Cute backstamp too!

I also found several retro teatowels - I love the simple stylised graphic patterns - especially the cocktail fruits! The small cute floral pattern is from the 1960's, but I'm not too sure about the others. I love the Queensland print - how fab are the colours and it does seem very tropical in contrast to the Scottish brown and purple design with recipies for haggis, scotch broth and clootie dumplings!

Time for tea

After returning from my trip to the UK I am missing the customary afternoon tea and cakes, so I thought I'd share some illustrations I did a while back of cakes and cup-cakes - always a favourite to draw especially as I get to eat any samples purchased! ;-)

The artwork was painted in watercolour and commissioned for a range of ceramic tableware and servingware items - which eventually went on to be applied across a complete range for Target.
Time for tea anyone?....