Aug 072015


I came across a lovely blog called My Handmade Adventure. The author is Karen, a Melbourne blogger, and her blog is about making things, discovering new crafty skills, and rejoicing in the skills of other talented people. Sounds like my kind of blog.

She set up The Handmade Challenge for 2015 at the start of this year but I thought I'd give it a go. The idea is to make a list of things you've been wanting to make and then make them before December 31st - originally it was 12 things but seeing we've past the half-way mark of 2015 Karen is happy to accept late comers to join in the challenge so I'll be looking at making 4 things.

Why am going to do this challenge?

I need a push-start to get me on the creative path again. During my time running EP Designs - a part-time, home based, decorative homewares business - I created and recreated numerous things and I really enjoyed being creative. It was also my 'me time' and 'think time'. But life happens, plus outside work commitments increased and I was also organising a makers market - My creative time came to a halt and I gradually brought EP Designs to a close.

So here is my Push Start list of 4 items I'm aiming to complete before December 31st ...

  1. Doyley bowls and tealight holders. I have a number of lace doylies that I collected over the years for some of my past work so now is a good time to do something more with them. I found the idea on Pinterest.
  2. Framed pinboard or chalkboard - I have several gorgeous old vintage and vintage style frames just sitting there waiting for me to recreate them ... a nice gift for someone?
  3. String ball ornaments - This is another idea I came across on Pinterest and I hope to make these in time to use as Christmas decorations.
  4. Canvas Art - this could be a tricky one for me but it's something I've been thinking about doing for years so now is the time.... right?

I'm actually aiming/hoping to finish before Christmas because I'll need most of those items beforehand.

If you're interested in joining in, even at this late stage, pop over to Karen's post about the challenge and leave a comment.We can then encourage each other, comment and share each creation as they are completed.

Happy Creating

Aug 042015

Contemporary Bark Art by Shirley Yeates

Contemporary Bark Art by Shirley Yeates

It was the miniature designs that caught my attention at first, and then as I looked at the whole stall set-up I saw a collection of very different art. I hadn’t seen anything like this before so I had to stop and chat to the lovely lady who created these gorgeous artworks. It’s amazing what can be achieved on retirement and Shirley certainly seized the opportunity to do something creative – and look at what she’s created.

Shirley Yeates Bark Art.Dresses

Shirley Yeates lived on a vineyard for a short while after her retirement in 2014 and each day as she walked around the property something caught her eye and sparked a flow of creative ideas that eventually became the start of a very creative retirement. Bark, lots of bark fallen from various beautiful Australian trees, each with different textures, colours, shapes and sizes – these were used to create artworks. The subject matter may not be so new but the style is quite clever and unique.

Shirley Yeates Bark Art.Lady

I can imagine Shirley’s studio (or creative nook) would house a huge collection of various bark pieces. Each will have the mark of a new design idea waiting for the artist’s hand to work its creation. What a wonderful way to use fallen pieces from nature to create such gorgeous artworks.

Bark Art of Shirley Yeates

Shirley can transform tree bark into contemporary art … but I also think that tree bark has transformed Shirley’s retirement. This lovely lady with her framed art can be found at various markets around Melbourne; so if you would like to get up close and see for yourself first hand, visit her Facebook page to check where and when she’ll be at craft markets. In the meantime, read all about Shirley’s work, browse through her photos, and enjoy what you see.

Jul 292015

All around Melbourne, over recent years, there has been an increase in makers'/handmade markets (and I'd say all over Australia too); And although there will always be a demand for brand name goods, shoppers are discovering more and more the unique, one-of-a-kind handmade goods on offer and they are loving what they find.

Support Small Business

Support Small Business

I love and prefer the feeling of walking into a market or boutique store knowing that everything being sold has been designed, made/crafted or recreated by the stallholder or local artisan, compared to walking into a store knowing that everything being sold is a trend design which has been mass-produced and imported. My recent visit to The Creators Market (in the old Prahran Town Hall, on the corner of Chapel and Greville Streets), was a pleasure. The market was buzzing with shoppers when I arrived. The hall was filled with gorgeous, quality creations making the browsing exciting and chatting to stallholders delightful. I made a food purchase plus collected a number of business cards from makers I wish to purchase from at future markets or online (I'll share them with you in upcoming posts).

My Purchase at The Creators Market.

My Purchase at The Creators Market.

I believe that with the increase of handmade markets shoppers are seeing and hearing more about the benefits of buying handmade goods and how by supporting local crafters and artisans, in turn, also benefits the local community; And with all the posts, groups, photos and sharing of information on Social Media, this too has helped to propel shoppers towards buying handmade and supporting local artisans and micro businesses.

Is it possible to have too many handmade markets in Melbourne? Many of them are found far and wide from my location and I haven't had the chance to visit all. But I say, 'Lucky shoppers', as they currently have a smorgasbord of markets to visit and gorgeous handmade items to choose between. I may be a little biased but to my way of thinking handmade markets and boutique stores give shoppers an opportunity to really savour and enjoy their browsing and shopping time and experience a more personal service from the makers themselves.

The Creators Market Next Market Dates.

The Creators Market Next Market Dates.

Much more can be found on the internet on reasons to buy handmade but one of my personal favourites is the story behind the creation. Who doesn't love a good story? I believe it adds an authentic and absorbing detail, depth of character and an extra dimension to the item by knowing something more about it and how it was born and evolved at the hands of the creator. I guess it's similar to a nostalgic keepsake or a gift given to you by someone close to you - it adds meaning, a memory, a beautiful thought, a reminder of something special.

So, to buy or not to buy things that are made with skill, take time to craft and are embedded with soul and uniqueness? I know which I'd rather choose - so it's off to more upcoming handmade markets for me. If you have any favourite handmade markets or boutiques please let me know about them ... I'll share mine ... please share yours  🙂