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 :-)