Friday, December 17, 2010

Bright lights, big city

Okay, if you've been trapped in a box for the last month or so, firstly, that must have been horrible for you, and secondly, you might not know about the grand finale BrisStyle Twilight Markets that will be lighting up King George Square and Burnett Lane in Brisbane TONIGHT!
That's right - starting from 5pm and kicking on until 9pm, this is the place to be.
Music, food and shopping... what more do you need?
Miu & Umi will be bringing an eclectic array of jewellery and accessories, including vintage and up-cycled hairbands and button rings. We are also super-dooper excited to share Burnett Lane with the sterling BrisStyle talent of Wicked Child Designs and Miss Dish, who feature in this months Peppermint mag!
This is the big one, ladies and gents, and the perfect opportunity to find some incredible handmade Christmas presents!
Come and say hello, because we love you!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Mental health day

I never worked in a place where 'mental health days' could be taken if you were feeling stressed, but I like the sound of it. So I'm taking one today. Giving myself permission to be a slacker. My body is telling me I'd be wise to listen sooner rather than later - stress-induced lock-jaw, anyone?

Prep for the Twilight market is coming along well, although I'm still waiting on a few parcels of supplies, which is a little worrisome. I've made more of my cute little heart earrings, which sold out last time, and some simple ribbon-tied fabric gift bags (adorable and re-usable - better than paper wrapping!)  I've had lots of fantastical ideas for my stall set-up, but keep reminding myself there'll be time for that next year. Focus!

Photos: family ramble around the lakes. I'm deeply in love with the Hipstamatic app for the iPhone. Instant vintage!

Coming soon: I'll tell you just how I fared in my mission to buy BrisStyle this Christmas.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Congrats Chrissy!

The winner of the BrisStyle Mega Giveaway is Chrissy Foreman, who just happens to be a member! I think it's lovely for a fellow member to scoop such a lovely swag of goodie - handmadies really appreciate handmade!

BiDM wrap up - or should it be 'wring out'?

My stuff got wet, my shoes were filled with muddy water, and I performed an impromtu version of Flashdance. You know the scene with the bucket of water? That was me. Minus the legwarmers.

After discovering my umbrella lacked in the waterproofing department, Helen whisked me to the relative dry of the promo tent (thank you a million times!), and Cass stuck with me and kept my impending freak out at bay. But it was still a lot of fun! There was good cheer and a bolstering sense of cameraderie that even the torrential downpour couldn't dampen. Even the stallholders inside showed a lot of support, Shelleyberelli using the phrase 'survivor guilt', which I thought was hilarious!

So, once again there are no photos from my day, but I have a good excuse. Now the prep begins for the big one, the grand-daddy of markets, the BrisStyle indie Twilight Market on Friday 17th December in King George Square. I'm very excited to be a part of this one!

Monday, December 6, 2010

It's all Latin to me

I have this little sister Kirsty, she is small and very funny. Often we trade words or phrases we have found, or grammatical errors in official documents. This morning we dabbled in a little Latin, as I'm sure many of you do from time to time.

Hers: 'Functus officio' - roughly means 'my work here is done'
Mine: 'Sic transit gloria mundi' - is kind of like 'all worldly things are fleeting' or 'thus passes the glory of the world'

Yes, we are nerds. We both agree that being a librarian is one of our dream jobs, and cannot abide poor spelling.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Mission: entirely possible

My mission is to do ALL my Christmas shopping this year with BrisStyle members. I want to stand by the handmade cause, as well as this quite suberb group of artists and crafters, and the best way I can see is to put my money where my mouth is!

There. I've said it and I can't take it back.

No jostling and ankle-crushing in soul-less department stores for me! Hurrah! Why not join my 'mission' - not only with BrisStyle, but with the greater world of creative expression and independant action? It's a win/win situation: your purchase supports a small business, keeping money local and using fewer resources, and you will have a unique, handmade piece of art or craft with a story behind it.

And it's not too late to enter the massive BrisStyle Christmas giveaway worth over $300! Just click on the link and leave a comment and your email address to be in the draw. If you win, you won't even have to worry about the Christmas shopping!

The road to where is paved with what?

I recently stated my intention to write everyday, and to post at least once a week, and while this sounds like an achievable goal, it isn't as easy as I thought it would be. There are a million reasons I could give, but that would be so boring!
Let's just say, I'm sticking with it. And with my 27 readers! I appreciate you all very much, and love it to bits when you comment.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Stop to catch my breath

What a whirlwind of a night!

Once again, the BrisStyle Twilight Market was a bustling, colourful night of gorgeous handmade creations, from food and body products to clothes, jewellery and accessories. The whole night seemed to fly by so rapidly, I missed my chance to do a little shopping! But I couldn't resist a trade with my neighbour Rondelle, who makes adorable canvas art. We also discovered a shared love of b-grade zombie movies and alone time.

Oh, and once again, I took no photos! Tisk tisk, I was so busy chatting with shoppers there just wasn't time!
Instead, here are my 'Charleston Diva' button brooches, don't they look swell all watching the skies together?

Monday, November 15, 2010

HUGE BrisStyle November Giveaway!

Voila! My contribution to the BrisStyle November Giveaway - the movement and sparkle of my
'Dear Prudence' glass and Swarovski crystal earrings on lux oversize silver hoops, as seen in my Etsy shop, Miu & Umi. This giveaway is going to be impressive, so I recommend popping over to check it out!

All hail! The queen of procrastina....

Image from lululetty

Remember that scene in Black Books where Bernard does just about everything to avoid doing his taxes, including calling his mother and asking some skinheads 'Which one of you bitches wants to dance?'

Well, that's me.

Apart from taunting skinheads. But it's still procrastination.

So, I'm playing tiggy with Pom Pom and poking the dog. I'm looking at pretty pictures, like the dreamy one above and reading a good blog or two, like Kimono Reincarnate, which is clever and inspiring. And ignoring the pink elephant in the room, which is market prep! Once again, each time I sit at the sewing machine or my desk, I'm filled with nerves and doubt. It's crazy, because I know what to expect, but real nonetheless.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Cool to be kind

But I think you look beautiful every day.

Self image is something that keeps popping up in conversation lately, and it's always the same conclusion.
As young women, we are so hard on ourselves (I can't speak of young men - I haven't thought to ask any. Do men think about this stuff?) , but looking back on our lives, photographs that might have seemed so cringe-worthy at the time are now precious reminders of how we glowed in our youth, our innocence.

We're quite cruel to ourselves, and I think it's a dreadful waste of time. If I could go back, I'd shake myself by the shoulders and tell myself  "Stop it! This time you're wasting on self-critique - you'll never get it back!"

And I wonder if, when I am 80, I'll look back on the me of now, and think the same thing?

I'm going to save myself a little time, and quit the cruelty now. There's just too much cool stuff I could be doing instead.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Eye candy

Image found through Design For Mankind (seriously a great blog) from I Love Wildfox.

Such a great photo. Frou-frou dress, pretty girl and a giant bag of fun!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

BiECO compost

Oh, I know it's a dreadful photo, but I fell in love with the head-dresses from Wimcee. I bought one for each of the chilblains and couldn't resist putting one on and doing the woo-woo-woo hand over the mouth.
(This is possibly very non-PC, and if so, sorry. My aim is hardly ever to offend.)

The market day flew by in a blur of friendly faces, mile-a-minute chatting and some truly fab shopping. Luckily I had my two best peeps in the world, Kirsty and Cass to mind the stall while I bought up big.

Melanie (or is it John?) from Kimono Reincarnate held a most incredible sale of her fabric from Japan, and I think I managed to stay pretty calm in the face of so much glorious colour and pattern. And it was great to learn that I'm not the only one who hesitates to cut into something so beautiful.

Alas, there was no time to join in the 'softie workshop' with Teneale from Wicked Child Designs, so I bought one to go. I sewed him up today and attached his button eyes, and now I just need to think of his name...

Megan from Meggy Green and her cutie-pie daughter Ella were great neighbours, and I'm happy to have found my new fave place for sweet retro and Little Golden book covered notebooks. Love love love!

Highlight of the day? Music 4 U playing 'Crafty Lady' to the tune of Jimi Hendrix' 'Foxy Lady'.

My little slice of heaven - Miu And Umi

Thursday, November 4, 2010

From Baton Rouge with ribbons and bows

Have I mentioned before how much I love the post?
I confessed my serious fetish for ribbons and fabric to Shelita, who lives in Baton Rouge and yesterday I had the unexpected pleasure of finding this package of sweetness in my mailbox.
All the way from Louisiana. Thank you Shelita, you're the bees knees! 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Thrifty love

Untitled and unsigned - mysterious, no?

I'm in deep infatuation with this painting I pounced on at the op-shop. Just exactly what it is that rings my bell, I'm not sure. There are no people, no animals, but there's movement.

It's one of those paintings where you half expect to see a figure in the window from the corner of your eye. 

Now all I need is a bit of wall space!

Saturday, October 30, 2010


There were never strawberries
like the ones we had
that sultry afternoon
sitting on the step
of the open french window
facing each other
your knees held in mine
the blue plates in our laps
the strawberries glistening
in the hot sunlight
we dipped them in sugar
looking at each other
not hurrying the feast
for one to come
the empty plates
laid on the stone together
with the two forks crossed
and I bent towards you
sweet in that air
in my arms
abandoned like a child
from your eager mouth
the taste of strawberries
in my memory
lean back again
let me love you
let the sun beat
on our forgetfulness
one hour of all
the heat intense
and summer lightning
on the Kilpatrick hills
let the storm wash the plates

Edwin Morgan

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Boy, did I lose my temper.

So I'm building the dog house, unable to get the last piece into place. I struggle for half an hour, getting sweaty and more and more frustrated. The kids circle me, entertained, making suggestions and when Cedric tells me I should wait for daddy because he’s strong, I order them to go jump on the trampoline.
The puppy just  lay on the grass watching me with mild interest.
No matter what I did, no matter which angle I tried, I could not get that final part into position.
It was only when I lost my cool altogether, stamping my feet and storming away, leaving a puzzled puppy and a half-made hound house, that I realised that sometimes I need help. Not just help putting together dog houses, but help finding my voice, being the artist I want to be, and creating a successful business.
Don’t we all need help sometimes?
Do you seek help when you need it? Who do you ask?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Mad BiECO scrabble continues

No, I'm not really in a panic. See? Calm.
I'll save the freak-out until the very last minute. (It's just how I roll.)

This crocheted brooch with vintage button detail is just an example of what I'll have for sale on Saturday 6th November. I source yarn, sometimes from op-shops, friends and family, to make these cute and versatile flowers, and match them with a button from my grandmothers' collection, which goes far back to at least the 1950's. I pop a brooch pin on the back, and voila!

There will also be crafting tutorials from some clever BrisStylers, so stay tuned for more on that.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Australian Women's Complete Household Guide 1953 continued even further...

This dreamy red polka-dotted garden chair beckons you to come, rest your weary 1950's bones. Put down the borax or ammonia or whatever it is, pour yourself a nice Martini, and bask in the glory of your perfect garden.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The internets never looked so good!

               Photo taken right before I fogged up the glass in the Marais, Paris
After some tedious computer issues, I’m happily back to tickling the keyboard and being wowed by the new stuff I’m seeing.  It’s also time to get excited by the end-of-year markets. There seems to be a new one every week.
A newly tinted carrot-top Kirsty joined me for the slightly soggy fun of the Suitcase Rummage. The light rain didn’t stop the bargain hunters, and we ended up trading a few gorgeous  items with our neighbour Phoebe.   
We zoomed out to Bundamba for the Handmade Expo, only to find some stalls had literally been blown away. It was incredibly windy, but there were still smiles, some yummy food (I saw cakes that reminded me of the boulangeries in Paris – rose petals and chocolate? Yes, please!) and some good shopping.
Highlight? Voodoo doll pin cushions from Jaffajaf. Just too cute, in a murderous sort of way.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Packing my bags!

Suitcase Rummage
I'm gathering some lovely vintage goodies for the Suitcase Rummage this Sunday 3rd October. King George Square will be the scene for suitcase oriented shopping from midday until 5pm.
As well as a selection of MiuAndUmi jewellery, hair accessories and my new stationery (!), I've put together a collection of books, buttons, dresses, lace and dainty scarves. Some gorgeous Basque peep-toe heels, a Sex Kitten candy-stripe dress, the complete Keats and a 1953 edition of War and Peace! A couple of vintage diamante and Siam silver jewellery pieces and a handpainted Russian brooch.
There's too much to list here, you'll just have to see for yourself! Come say hello and snap up a bargain or two!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Australian Women's Complete Household Guide 1953 continued...

Woman! Bring me my pipe and my slippers! I'm tired from a long day at the office, and lawd knows what you've been doing all day. Probably sitting around, eating bon-bons and gossipping on the electric telephone.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Australian Women's Complete Household Guide 1953 continued...

The chairs! That lamp! The wallpaper! Excuse me while I hyperventilate.

Australian Women's Complete Household Guide 1953

Why ever would you throw this out? Doesn't every household need an in-depth textbook to refer to when building a house, lifting a stain from the carpet, making your own gloves or diagnosing poisoning by opium? There's a handy segment on writing business letters, although it does state that the 'average housewife' will not have much need to do such a thing.
There's plenty of sexist and condescending dark-ages writing to raise the ire of even the least militant feminist, but the most striking thing I've noticed is the all-encompassing nature of this book. I'm wondering if this is the birthplace of the over-achieving, do-it-all-and-look-impeccably-gorgeous uber woman?
All that aside, I'm in love with the Atomic Era look of these colour pages. Aren't they just too much?

Monday, September 20, 2010

I do love a giveaway...

Kel from my new favourite green tea and red nails is holding a giveaway, ending at midnight tonight. You should take a peek at her blog while you are there - she has a vintage appeal and a fun approach to life.
And don't you love the late notice? It's in keeping with my general approach to life, but honestly, I am trying to be more organised. This generally manifests as scads of to-do lists which are lost almost immediately, but now that the entire household has escaped the clutches of a foul and long-lasting flu, I am energised and ready to get serious.
A wise person, Tara of the awesome Scoutie Girl recently said that accountability forces the hand of creativity. Which I took to mean if you speak your goals aloud, you become accountable for seeing them through. Rather than being some hazy, day-dreamy idea which is allowed to evaporate like mist on a sunny morning, you are obliged to honour your plan.
I find this idea appealing, and a touch confronting, but I'm ready to put it to the test.
Here and now, I'm stating my intention to you:

I will write everyday
I will post a quality piece of writing once a week

Phew. I was about to write a third intention, but maybe I should walk before I run.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Little cabin

Hey there! I had to take a little break while the whole family recovered from a wicked tummy bug, and now I realise how much I've missed sharing my snippets of frivolous frippery.
After attempting the granny square a few times and throwing my hook and yarn down in frustration, I tried it one more time, following a very simple set of instructions with lots of photos, and voila! I can do it! And now I can't stop doing it... thank you obsessive nature.
Today we set off on a hunt for bathroom fixtures, armed with measurements and a promise not to bicker. But before I go, I have to share this photo.
I think it speaks for itself - it's an absolute dream. Hand me a ginger beer with a sprig of mint, a copy of "The heart is a lonely hunter", and I'm in heaven.

(I've lost the link for this photo - if you know where it came from, please let me know!)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Loveheart cupcakes

Little Pompom turns 5, with a little sugary help from Enticing Icing. Thank you for the lovehearts Bel, they were delicious!
Fast on the heels of the 5th birthday, we celebrated the 7th of Ced, with a flaming rocket cake and the traditional birth stories.
"At this time, seven years ago, I was sitting in the bath at the Birth Centre..."
"...and Daddy rubbed my back and said I was beautiful and I growled at him to shut the damn hell up..."
"...and you took a deep breath and you roared!"
I enjoy this very much because I know that soon enough there will be no mystery surrounding where they came from, and they will NOT want to know the details of their entry into the world.

BiTM recap and even further back...

The old Brisbane Museum, Finders Keepers Brisbane City Hall, BrisStyle indie Twilight Markets
What a gorgeous night it was! All my scowling and fist-shaking at the grey skies really paid off - it was a warm, sunny afternoon and a glittering evening, complimented by a gentle breeze. The jazz band had us snapping our fingers and singing along, and the visitors to our stall were very friendly.
(I noticed a few surreptitious photos being taken, and I'm not the only one. It's simultaneously flattering... and a little annoying!)
My own photo documentation of the evening is this. One snap of the Town Hall. I did the same thing at the Finders Keepers markets. And I'm still having camera issues, so it's a surprise to even have these.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Ah, the traditional last minute scramble. Why would I do things any other way? MiuAndUmi preparation for the BrisStyle indie Twilight Markets is coming together, slowly but surely, and I did have the unique pleasure of having not one, not two, but three Bunnings staff walking me around the big tin shed looking for sandbags! That was fun. I've elected to make them myself, because I like to be resourceful, I like the feeling of finishing a task, and I'm too stubborn to be told there isn't enough time.
I'm jazzed about Friday night, crossing my fingers it doesn't rain, and so far have managed to evade the naked-at-school type dreams of derisive shoppers and epic failure that got me good last time around. I'll be propped up by my beautiful sidekicks Kirsty and Cass, who help make any event something to remember. Look for the brunette, the blonde and the redhead and come say hey, or howdy, or ciao, bonsoir, or just hello.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Ok, the camera issue is really beginning to make me cuckoo. I'm lusting after one of those DSLR with all the trimmings, but I'd settle for one with a viewfinder right now! If this photo doesn't make your eyes dance, congratulations.
We made the mad dash to the BrisStyle indie Eco Markets quite late in the day (as it was little Pom Pom's 5th birthday and we had to have pancakes for breakfast and choose the best birthday outfit) We had time to try a vegan hot-dog - quite tasty, and scoot around, ogling all the handmade goodness. As always, I developed a serious case of the wants, there were so many interesting, clever and eco-friendly items. I came away with a few lovelies, but could've bought alot more.
BiEM finds, clockwise from top left: "Brisbanesque" t-shirt transfer and Frida pendant, Ruby 2 Go-Go, Hair bands and pretty mosaic birds, Cairo Made That, Handwoven ecodyed silk headband, TrishAlan, divine Japanese fabric, Kimono Reincarnate.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A little morning sunlight

The kitchen windowsill with morning sunlight streaming in. The purple flowers are called Batchelors Buttons - how cute is that?

In Rome there is a small and picturesque cemetary tucked away behind a pyramid. I won't start with a history lesson about the pyramid and the graveyard, you can google the hell out of Rome, the amount of history at every turn is almost overwhelming. What I loved about this quiet place (which we dubbed 'the heathen cemetary' for the non-Catholic status of those within) apart from finding possibly the cleanest public toilet in Rome, was the gravestone of the poet John Keats. Near to the pyramid and an expanse of lawn peppered with little white flowers, engraved with such bitter words, it brought tears to my eyes. "...Here lies one whose name was writ in water."
I felt despair at the hopeless anger of one who had died young, thinking himself a failure in his craft. I turned from the gravestone, heart-wrenched, to find a memorial on the stone wall nearby, written by Sir Vincent Eyre.

Keats! if thy cherished name be "writ in water"
Each drop has fallen from some mourner's cheek;
A sacred tribute; such as heroes seek,
Though oft in vain - for dazzling deeds of slaughter
Sleep on! Not honoured less for Epitaph so meek!

I know poetry isn't everyones cup of tea, but this story makes me think about how we value ourselves, and the importance that we place on being valued by others. Isn't it enough to honour our hearts and our crafts? To live truly? Must we have the critics nod before we are ok with our creations?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Guerrilla Knitting

This isn't the first time I've seen 'guerrilla' knitting, but I was inspired by the photos in the Artspace Mackay Flickr pool. It looked like so much fun, I had to have a little go myself...

I heart Australia Post

I mean it! After trying to send a couple of postcards from a post office in Rome, and getting home before they did, I developed an even greater adoration for AP. Cam and I had one of those old married couple discussions over the local newspaper this morning about the price of stamps increasing to 60c. He said 'Didn't they go up to 55c just a while ago?' and I commenced my monologue about the incredible magic of placing a tiny square of sticky paper onto a larger piece of paper with written directions on it, and sending it into an enormous system filled with millions of other little bits of paper with directions on them, and knowing that your one little missive will find its way!
I've always been a letter sender. Invites, thank yous, "I was just thinking aboutcha"s. Knowing that sometimes my sister will get home from a long day of work to be greeted by a colourful envelope filled with things to make her smile, makes me feel good.
And opening a parcel of loveliness from my latest Etsy obsession? That's a bundle of all my favourite things - Australia Post, shopping, supporting handmade, and making new connections.
When I opened the parcel from Tammy at Boorah Designs, and saw the cuteness inside, I just had to take a photo. It's hidden now, waiting for Pom Pom's birthday, but I know she's going to love it.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Dancing with Fred and Ginger

My vintage buttons-turned-earrings were featured in an Etsy Treasury by Yoshiko from Euphorianchic. They sit well in this beautifully vibrant colour scheme. I named these earrings "Fred and Ginger" because the swirling folds of glass, combined with the deep dusty rose colour, instantly made me think of the divine gowns Ginger Rogers wore while dancing with Fred Astaire in all those 1930's movies.

A covet list - my Treasury on Etsy

Sally from Flight Industries contacted me to let me know my Etsy Treasury had made the front page, and I confess after a dreadful, worrisome weekend, it really made the sun come out. This was my first attempt at a Treasury, and it was so much fun telling a story with images. There is so much gold out there! If I wasn't hooked on Etsy before, I sure am now.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Domestic Construction

There is beauty in the simple things, and much to be admired in those who can see it. Trish and Maureen from Domestic Construction in New York just kidnapped my sensibilities with their 'hearts and hammers' approach to design. I can just see their teacup light installation in my kitchen - it's adorable!

Sunday, June 13, 2010


How can I be cranky at all the ruined garden when this is the end result?
Posted by Picasa

Wait a minute Mr Postman

Little Pompom doesn't know it yet, but there is a lovely gift on the way to our house. I just had to order a gorgeous, original skirt from Tammy at Boorah Designs. We were neighbours at the BrisStyle markets, and I couldn't stop staring at the colours and pattern combinations the whole day. Of course by the time I'd made up my mind to buy it,we were all in the mad scramble to pack up our stalls and clear out. Luckily I caught this one-of-a-kind skirt before it sold! If you have kids or know a kid or are just unusually small, you should have a look around Boorah Designs!
Oh, and the trade of clutch purses between Tammy and I - I may only be able to get one leg into Pompom's skirt, but the clutch will be all mine!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

BrisStyle Markets

Kirsty, Melanie (I love the weird reflection on my lips! A bit Gaga?) and Cass

What a gorgeous day! The sun was shining, the stalls and stallholders all looked wonderful, and the sausages were piping hot. The grounds at St Augustines in Hamilton were perfect, leafy and relaxed. We had stripped off our scarves and coats by 9am, and joked with a couple of BrisStylers who were trying to thaw out because their stalls were in the shade.

In between chatting and laughing with shoppers I managed to have a quick look around and buy some gorgeous things. There were plenty more that I would've loved to grab, if only I had the money! For now I must stick to cute fridge magnets, like this one from Pannikin

I also met the delightful Natalie from Miss Dish, who makes the most amazing hairpieces and jewellery. I can certainly see one of her creations adorning my tresses, perhaps the "Black and Gold Baby"?

There were so many remarkable people and covetable artworks, I intend to talk about it way more. But today I must prepare to host playgroup in my tiny house... ten small children and their mums? No problem!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

I've been playing with fabrics old and new to create these hairbands, finally using some of the ribbons and trims I brought back from Paris, and some of the vintage buttons from my heavenly (ever growing) collection.
Kirsty and I got together and drank tea and threw some display ideas around for the upcoming BrisStyle indie Designer Markets (BiDM) to be held on 5th June. This is my first time and I'm equal parts nervous and excited. Anybody who has been to the BrisStyle markets will know what high quality can be found there, so I want everything to be perfect!
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