We Are Scout - Hunting. Gathering. Making. The Good Stuff


Archive: Aug 2008

  1. Wee finds at TK Maxx


    I can count on one hand the amount of times I've set foot inside a TK Maxx store.

    When I first arrived in the UK, I made a beeline for this shop. It was, apparently, where "savvy shoppers" head to unearth a designer gem. Heck, I thought, I'm a savvy shopper. So off I toddled, dedicating a decent amount of time to digging around in a bid to bag a designer bargain [note to self: go easy on the alliteration]. But after a few visits yielded zero startling finds, I gave it up as the stuff of legend.

    But there I was this afternoon, back at my local Lewisham branch, trawling the racks in desperation for a bikini. I know. It's the end of the season. I've missed the boat. BUT, I'm flying off to Sardinia next month and I have a bad habit of leaving bikini buying 'til the last minute. That's because it's a demon task from hell. Still, I thought I had nothing to lose and dutifully made my way around the shop floor.

    Not surprisingly, there was zilch in the way of swimsuits BUT, I did end up in the scarf section (yep, miles away from bikinis) and found a rather choice selection including a See by Chloe cotton print scarf (£19), a striking orange and black silk McQ by Alexander McQueen scarf (£99 – down from £500), a dancing Olivia red silk Moschino scarf (£15) and a woolen tan and cream scarf by Michael Kors (£19). I also discovered a bunch of pretty Calvin Klein and Elle McPherson bras for around £6 over in lingerie. Cheep cheep!

  2. I *heart* Fridays: I *heart* eggs

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    Image source: marthastewart.com

    Eggs are pretty close to perfect. The name of the company I created over 10 years ago for my graphic design work is ‘egg star’. I chose the word egg because an egg is such a great example of design perfection. Eggs are strong yet fragile, the beginning of life, a wonderful package, and the sort of shape that makes me want to cradle them in my hands. The colours are glorious and range from creams, whites and soft browns, to pale blues, and the rich dark blue/green of emu eggs. I also love the way the word ‘egg’ looks when written.

    I have recently started to paint goose eggs and I’m going to make Christmas decorations out of them. I’m thinking about adding them to the Red Thread creations available on my website. I have dyed them with natural dyes and I’m loving the soft watery and earthy palettes I’ve achieved. I’m working on getting the right tone of barely-there aqua at the moment as well as painting directly on to un-dyed eggs for a very subtle effect. My designs are similar to the nature-inspired illustrations on my SushiBird Tiles, which are based on Japanese motifs, and also have some reference to Scandinavian design… a somewhat eclectic series of inspirations!

    some of my decorated eggs

    I am also working on more detailed designs on glorious big ostrich eggs.
    They really are a joy to work on – I *heart* eggs!

    And of course I love eating them too…mmmm… nature’s most perfect package contains it’s most perfect food. Eggs offer endless culinary opportunities, but a simple soft boiled egg is a treat all on its own. Bill Grainger is known as the egg master – here’s his recipe for scrambled eggs. Our three chickens in our little back garden give us delicious organic free range eggs. What could be better?

    Happy Friday!

  3. Sneak Peek

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    I’m still working on my new website and hope to have it up and running with all the new products in the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, here’s a sneak peek of my new range of Vintage Storybook Tiles.

  4. London shopping: Sunday & Rex


    Pop-up galleries and shops is where it’s all happening in London right now. I do like a bit of a pop-up myself – something about its temporary nature and implied sense of urgency spurs me to actually get off my arse – lest I ‘snooze and lose’.

    And popping up in East London on Friday is Sunday & Rex, a gallery showcasing art, furniture, contemporary jewellery and designed objects from up-and-coming designers from Australia and Europe.

    Stewart Brooks and Georgie Morgan are the Aussie expats behind Sunday & Rex, and together they’ve curated a cracker line-up of design talent. Here’s a sneak peek of some of the tasty gems on offer …

    Lucy Folk's sterling silver popcorn ring.

    Lucy Folk's sterling silver cornchip necklace.

    Lucy Folk's gold popcorn necklace.

    Gregory Bonasera's ceramic bowls.

    Vaugh Shannon's branch table.

    Vaugh Shannon's happy lamp.

    Krista McRae's odd-shaped earrings.

    Krista McRae's gem studs in silver, oxidized silver and 24ct gold.

    Nina Ellis's bowls.

    Sunday & Rex
    Pop-up gallery
    30 August-14 September
    90 Redchurch Street E1 6LA

    18-21 September
    Tent London
    Truman Brewery
    Brick Lane E1

    Click here for more shops in E1.

  5. another year

    This is my birthday week – another year has passed in a flash. I’ve never had a thing about birthdays or age, but I think this year maybe I do. I feel like there is so much that I want to do, see, learn and accomplish and the days and weeks and years are just flying by. It’s especially true when you have a little person in your life who grows and changes literally every day. Roxy celebrates every month that she is closer to being 5: “Am I still four and a half mum?” she asks. Today I said “No, you are four and three quarters now”. I can’t think of many things that would excite her more. Except perhaps if I told her she could have lollies instead of dinner tonight. In total contrast, right up until the day of my birthday I’ll be thinking that I am the age I turned last year.

    That’s me on the right in the mauve jumper and the yellow crepe paper hat, both of which were made by my mum.
  6. Loving Amy Sol's work

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    images from amysol.com

    I thought I’d introduce you to an immensely talented artist whose work I’ve long admired (although she has a HUGE following, so you may already be aware of her art). Amy Sol creates the most divine dreamlike artworks on timber. The combination of her innocent looking subjects, beautiful technique and muted colour palette results these gorgeous etheral paintings.

    This info/bio came from Amy’s website:
    Amy Sol spent her childhood years in Korea then moved to Las Vegas, NV where she currently lives and works. Though the style of her work is greatly influenced by a combination of manga, folk-art, vintage illustration and modern design, she remains a self taught artist. She has dedicated many years of her life mixing pigments and mediums to achieve a unique color palette of subtly muted tones. The artist works intuitively from the beginning to end of each piece, with the intent that each painting’s theme or message can be interpreted subjectively. Within these delicate works, you may often find whimsical landscapes populated with exotic plants, animal and females… Amongst the expressions of each character are notions of peaceful reflection and a sense of companionship.

    I was really disappointed to find out after the event that Amy spoke at Semi-Permanent in Sydney earlier this year. Oh how much would I LOVE to own an original Amy Sol! To see more of Amy’s work visit her blog and website.

  7. before & after

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    I think I could happily spend a lot of time finding vintage chairs and revamping them. Although I must admit that I actually get the professionals to do the revamping, but I do enjoy finding fabric and seeing the results. The shapes of ’30s and ’40s chairs really appeal to my design asthetic.

    The chairs in the top images were a bargain buy in a second hand shop – I just love the curve of the arms. We had the timber professionally restored and bought the heavy cotton French fabrics from ici et la in Surry Hills. They have the most wonderful collection of striped fabrics in a feast of scrumptious colours. Because the fabric is very wide the stripe on each of the chairs is different, which reminds me of Camper “twins” shoes: they’re the same, but not.

    We bought the 1930’s bedroom chair from an estate auction at a deco house in Dover Heights. It was an amazing home filled with the original art deco furniture. It was a shame to see the house contents being dispersed, although I guess it also meant that new generations would get to enjoy and love each item. I had the chair covered in pink floral barkcloth which I bought in Hawaii a number of years ago. I think it really suits the chair and gives the old girl some of her former style back.

  8. I *heart* Fridays: I *heart* the Once-A-Year Book

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    I was very excited to receive my Once-A-Year Book order from Kasia at Laikonik yesterday. Kasia is a Polish born artist who draws her inspiration from the folk art traditions of her homeland. Kasia is passionate about recording things about her life and her children’s lives, which led her to create the Once-A-Year Book.

    It’s a wonderful idea for those of us who are time-poor (isn’t that all of us these days?), the concertina book has room for one photo and one page of notes for each year of your child’s life until the age of 18. Surely I can manage that?! It even comes with a little inspiration/instruction booklet with ideas to get you started.

    The book itself is beautifully handmade and comes in a hand-stitched felt bag. Kasia has a range of colours and cover designs to choose from, so check them out on the Laikonik website.

    I love Roxy’s book and intend to give it to her on her 21st birthday, until then I’ll keep it a secret so it’s a surprise for her. I wish I had one of my childhood – what a wonderful treasure to have!

  9. London shopping: Repetto 60 Ans

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    It’s all about tulle, tutus and tortured toes at Dover Street Market right now, and I couldn’t stay away for a second (OK, I made it over there yesterday).

    Repetto design by Rei Kawakubo, Comme des Garcons.

    I was there to check out Repetto’s 60 Ans exhibition, which opened in London on Monday. The iconic French ballet shoe company has just turned 60, and to celebrate they invited 60 sparkling luminaries from the worlds of dance, film, art, fashion and design to customise a pair of ballet shoes.

    Bardot ‘Strass Rouge’ – limited and individually numbered by Repetto.

    I’m not sure that I saw the entire line-up – perhaps they’re showing different designs over the exhibition period – but highlights included Vanessa Beecroft’s blood-spattered white leather flats (she got murderous with some thick red paint), and a French ballerina’s satin pointe shoes that had been hand-embroidered with a charming pas-de-deux design. By contrast, Carla Bruni’s silver star and moon design looked positively bland.

    There’s also a line-up of customised tutus and leotards, including Rei Kawakubo’s flirty and fun French-maid version with a shorter white ‘apron’ frill over a longer black skirt. It also plays with the difference between the classic shorter tutu and the romantic mid-calf version.

    Repetto design by Rei Kawakubo, Comme des Garcons.

    My only (tiny) complaint was that at times it was difficult to discern who actually designed what, as the labels were attached to each shoe and often tucked underneath. And a good sprinkling of “Do not touch” signs made me reluctant to turn them over. I would have loved to have seen the shoes designed by Chloë Sevigny and Kim Gordon.

    All designs in 60 Ans will be auctioned in October, with proceeds going to Unesco to fund select educational establishments.

    Repetto 60 Ans
    Monday 18th August to Saturday 13th September
    Dover Street Market
    17-18 Dover St,
    London W1
    Tel: 020 7518 0680

    Opening hours:
    Monday to Saturday 11am-6pm
    Thursday 11am-7pm

    Nearest tube: Green Park

    Click here for more shops in Mayfair.
    Click here for a Wee Birdy map.
    All images courtesy of Dover Street Market.

  10. Living Creatively

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    The Stitches and Craft Show is on at Rosehill Racecourse from today, so I went to check it out this morning. With the rise of cool crafting I imagined that there would be plenty of beautiful creations to drool over, new materials and techniques to discover, and a fun day to be had.

    … I was pretty much surrounded by nannas having a lovely day out – not that there’s anything wrong with that! Disappointingly, but not surprisingly I guess, the products for sale and on display reflected the taste of that demographic. That is until I ventured up to the 3rd floor to be greeted by this:

    Image source: livingcreatively.com.au

    Living Creatively has set up the sweetest display featuring beautiful contemporary crafted pieces complete with real grass and bunnies. Yummy looking felted and knitted cupcakes, strawberries and carrots sat alongside sweet fabric flowers and birds. There were clotheslines scattered throughout the area from which more creations were hanging, and some crafty young women were selling their wares.
    Living Creatively is, according to their website, “an online community dedicated to creativity”. I have to admit I am yet to explore the website, but from what I saw today they are doing a good job of nurturing young crafters/designers.

    Craft is very much in vogue and there is a rapidly growing groundswell of indie crafters using and reinterpreting traditional techniques and materials. How great is that? I really hope that the momentum continues.