Jewellery on show: Markit@FedSquare

By | July 4, 2012

Markit@FedSquare is a bi-annual event where some of Melbourne’s talented designers come to showcase and sell their homewares, linen, fashion, jewellery etc. DesignMuse visited Markit@FedSquare recently and we wanted to share some highlights with you.

So Little Time

A light and bright stall caught our eye where friendly designer Kirsty Eckard was happily displaying her delicate, colourful jewellery range So Little Time. There was a lot of laser-cut wooden jewellery at Markit we have to say, but Kirsty’s designs especially caught our eye. They have that subtle balance in being both bold and very delicate, featuring geometric shapes and whimsical images, often part-painted with pastels or neon colours. Our favourite pieces were the Geometric Necklace in complimentary pastels, and the Circular Lockets with neon coloured detail.

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Mrs Smileys

We always love seeing something old being given a beautiful new lease on life. Vanessa Smiley (Mrs Smileys) comes from generations of jewellers and watch-makers and uses her jewellery to create beautiful lockets from original pieces, where she replaces the hardware, adds the chains, hand-paints and engraves the designs, and finishes the design in protective resin. Her lockets feature classical motifs like birds, music, portrait silhouettes, and often have a French flair about them. Another special aspect of Mrs Smileys designs is the ability to personalise the jewellery by combing the locket piece of choice with a delicate, inscribed metal disc. Our favourite combination from Mrs Smileys: A hot air balloon motif on a turquoise painted locket and a metal disc with the inscription “la vie est une aventure”; “Life is an adventure”.

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Limedrop jewellery & H by Heather Lighton

Another stall that impressed us featured two designers’ work. Limedrop, while more commonly known for their clothing line also had a range of laser-cut, wooden jewellery. We were smitten with the fun pop-out earrings!

More subtle but equally appealing designs were on show from H by Heather Lighton. This polymer clay jewellery range is delicate, pretty, and has that beautiful smoothness that you can’t help but run your fingers over all day when you wear it.

The next Markit@FedSuare will be held Sunday 25th November, 10am – 5pm. They have lots of hampers filled with Markit products to give away up to $500 value! Visit the website here for more details.

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Quirky Home Decor Delights

By | June 7, 2012

Have you noticed the mountains of replica Home Decor products being sold these days? This recurrent lack of originality really pains us! There are however, a handful of talented Designers who can still “think outside the square” to create wonderfully innovative and resourceful products! Here are some of our favourites:

EarthSeaWarrior never ceases to amaze us with her fabulously quirky Home Decor! Of course you need this pimped-up Sabre Toothed Tiger Skull, hand made from resin and laced with a fresh pair of 24k Gold fangs! Wurrrd.
Speaking of quirky, we love these upcycled Stiletto Succulent Planters from Giddy Spinster! “The concept is about hard-working women and the impossible images that women face in our society. It’s a prickly, spiky, sticky situation…” What a great idea and a fantastic way to put those old pumps to better use!
The Wild Animal Taxidermy look now comes cruelty-free thanks to White Faux Taxidermy! Turn any room into something extraordinary with a beautiful faux deer head taxidermy wall mount, custom painted to match your decor.

Need inspiration to get fit? Throw a few of these “go to the gym” cushions on your sofa and you’ll be moving that tooshie in no time! All felt used to make these cushions is derived from 100% recycled plastic PET containers, so they are pretty, witty, functional and eco-friendly! Hats off to Alexandra Ferguson! Forget using wasteful paper note-pads, why not write your to-do’s on a horse instead? We adore these Chalkboard Horses by Houndstooth Design! Perfect for a communal spot like the kitchen bench or dining table!

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A Delicious Sweet Chops Experience

By | May 25, 2012

It’s no secret that we have an obsession with dogs. From their warm, furry cuddles to their mischievous wrongdoings, we adore everything about them!

Emma Lulhaml, owner of dog-driven business Sweet Chops, avidly shares our canine obsession! Sweet Chops was born out of Emma’s passion for pooches and love of cupcakes, the end product resulting in delectable dog-friendly treat kits for you to bake at home. Not dissimilar to the way you might make Betty Crocker cakes, the Sweet Chops treat kits are fun and simple – even for the kitchen handicapped!

Our friend and pooch enthusiast, Eden, has kindly volunteered her miniature Pinschers Penny and Pokey to sample some Sweet Chops treats; “The Chompin’ Chocolate Cupcake Kit was a really quick and easy project with simple, natural ingredients that I would have been happy to eat myself!” said Eden. “Penny and Pokey were very interested in the whole baking process, especially when they got to lick the spoon!”

The Chompin’ Chocolate Cupcakes were cooked to perfection in just 20 minutes and later topped with the supplied yogurt drops and cute bone-shaped cookies. Eden loved the inclusion of these decorations, saying “They made each cupcake look so professional that you could give them away as gifts!” which she later did to several appreciative dog-owning friends.

Once cooled and ready to eat, Penny and Pokey hastily devoured their Sweet Chops treats in a flurry of tongues, crumbs and drool! These photos, taken by Redmond Hamlett, are proof of Penny and Pokey’s untainted, paw-licking enjoyment:

Eden was convinced that the cupcakes were an absolute hit! “The next morning I discovered the Tupperware box containing the remaining cakes half buried in the garden, having been stolen from the fridge by one greedy pooch!” She said.

So why not show your canine counterparts that you love them, too? Treat them to some Sweet Chops snacks like our friend Eden has! Your pooches will love you for it! Emma is offering all Design Muse readers a generous 20% store-wide discount off Sweet Chops online purchases! Enter “designmuse” at the Sweet Chops checkout to redeem your discount today! Offer expires on 30 June 2012.

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Glass Box 2

Making design clear and simple!

By | May 11, 2012

Now transparent objects in interior design is not a new concept. Kartell for example, has made a huge impact on the design world from the 1950s with multi-coloured clear plastic design objects including infamous pieces like Philippe Starke’s Ghost Chair and Ferruccio Laviani’s Take Lamp that were part of a resurgence around the year 2000.

What can be more intriguing is transparency used to ‘frame’ or ‘house’ another object. We’ve collated some examples of glass and acrylic design objects that, while lovely in themselves, also highlight the beauty of the objects within.

The stunning and quirky ‘Curiosity Object’ by Gaëlle Gabillet Stéphane Villard breathes new life into the common display cabinet:

Some further examples of lights used to display objects, including the ‘Favourite Things’ lamp by Chen Karlsson (at left).

We love these gorgeous glass display boxes and table perfect for showing off your own precious treasures:

These designs take a twist on the traditional glass bottle/vase/bell display, including the ‘Cylinder Vase’ available from Danish Modern, the adorable ‘Mosser’ on Etsy, and the ‘Milk Bottle Carafe’ from Three Potato Four.

This stylish work station is clear and crisp, while these jars have made a simple but effective DIY photo display:

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Thank You | The Thank You Shop

Giving Gratitude: Thank You Shop

By | April 27, 2012

“Can you imagine going about your day with no one ever saying ‘thank you’ to you? Being grateful makes you happy. Being happy makes you productive and helpful. Being helpful will make someone else grateful. It’s a win-win.”

So believes talented Adelaide-based designer Melissa Jaine of Thank You Shop, where you can find these bright, fun and heartfelt prints to express your gratitude to the people you care about, or the things that bring you joy. These artworks are printed on 8” x 10” thick, smooth-pearl semi-gloss paper which has a beautiful, subtle ’sparkle’.
There are so many different designs at Thank You Shop – a charming reminder of all the good things in life to be thankful for! Leading up to Mother’s Day we especially love the “Thank You Mum” print in deep rose pink!

Melissa took her idea one step further with what she has titled, the “Twenty5 Project”. Generous portions of the sale of Melissa’s artwork are shared between 25 charities that support the efforts of those in the Defence Forces, a cause that initially inspired her to say “Thank You”.

GIVEAWAY FOR MOTHER’S DAY! For your chance to WIN 2 fabulous Thank You Shop prints, simply “like” Melissa Jaine Blog on Facebook and post a message on the Design Muse Facebook wall telling us what you you are thankful for. You could WIN the above featured “Thank You Mum” & “Thank You Brother” or “Thank You Chocolate” & “Thank You Darling” prints! Entries will be drawn on 6th May 2012.

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Sign Fail No Tossing

Sign Fail: Making us Smile

By | April 22, 2012

While watching the news recently it dawned on us that much of our current way of living can carry a great deal of seriousness and angst. Goodness knows that we all need a laugh from time-to-time and with this in mind we ventured off to find something to make you smile.

Our search came to a sudden halt when we discovered SignFail, a Melbourne-based business filled with some very chuckle-worthy home decor signs and stationary. SignFail’s humour is pooled directly from the funniest and most ironic English translations, known as “Chinglish”, “Engrish”, “Czechlish” and so on. However politically incorrect these translations may be, they sure put a big grin on our faces!

We met the mastermind behind this witty business concept, Designer and Artist Michael Bancroft, who we have interrogated for your amusement:

Please sum up your products in three words.
Same, but different.

What is your favourite Sign Fail product and why?
Promised Land, inspired by an overhead freeway sign. I love that in China, the Promised Land is a real place and you can get there just by taking the next off-ramp.

Are your products robust? Do they have an average lifespan?
My signs will last years both indoors and outdoors. Aside from making them out of metal, my acrylic perspex signs are about as robust as they can get.

What are your Top Selling items?
My top selling item by far is the Do Not Disturb, Tiny Grass is Dreaming sign. It has almost fifty thousand likes and re-blogs on Tumblr. What I like about this is that it’s not even a fail, more like public poetry rather. The Dying Right Here is Strictly Prohibited and Toilet: One Place, One Dream signs also sell well.

Tell us a little about your background as a Designer.
My Design schooling started at TAFE in 1999, though I was interested in art well before then. I eventually moved on to uni and travelled to Germany to study (which every young Graphic Designer should try), then returned to Melbourne to begin my career.

Which other artists or creative people do you admire?
There really are too many to list. Suffice to say, I love art, going back to the Renaissance all the way through to stencilling. I’m also heavily inspired by music. Again, I listen to everything from Beethoven to Karnivool.

Where would you be spotted on an average Sunday morning?
I wouldn’t be. Sunday doesn’t start until at least 1 o’clock in the afternoon, right?

GIVEAWAY ALERT! “Like” SignFail on Facebook and send them a message mentioning “Design Muse” for your chance to WIN the sign of your choice! 5 lucky winners will be drawn randomly on 13th May 2012.

All Design Muse readers will receive a generous 20% discount on all Sign Fail products from now until 6th May 2012! Head over to the Sign Fail Etsy Shop and enter this code at the checkout: DESIGNMUSE.

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Chocolate Skulls Gone Nuts

Captivating Craniums

By | April 15, 2012

We have developed a new obsession with skulls as of late, so today we bring to you a collection of our favourite skeletal finds thus far…

This work by talented NZ Photographer Ross Brown has really taken our fancy. Brown eloquently exposes the union of both the romantic and the morbid, perhaps depicting a poisonous relationship? It sure does make the mind wander!
If you have ever experienced a migraine, then you will certainly relate to this sculpture by Canadian Artist Maskull Lasserre. This piece has been meticulously created from books, steel and hardware. View the production process here, it’s all rather intriguing!
This new EarthSeaWarrior glass jewellery box is certainly worth lusting over. It features a striking skull carved out of precious Australian Opal and a quartz crystal point cluster:
Etsy shop iamhome also share our skull obsession. Of course you need one of their Chalkboard Skull ornaments for your kitchen bench! What a fun way to leave messages for loved ones!

It was instant love when we set our eyes upon this silver metal Halo Skull Ornament from Spell Designs. Just divine!

Our weakness for chocolate has developed into a grand infatuation thanks to sparganum‘s Chocolate Skulls Gone Nuts! These fine cacao confections are skeletally shaped with delicious walnut or candy brains:

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Home-made Easter Gifts | Design Muse

DIY Easter Gift Idea

By | April 4, 2012

There is a great deal of unnecessary over-consumption that comes with Easter and other such occasions, so anticonsumerism is the theme of the week here on Design Muse! Today we show you how to take ordinary items, re-use them and made them extraordinary! Why not try this super-easy DIY Easter Gift?

We do not claim to be cooking masters, but these Easter biscuits look and taste fabulous! In this particular instance we used a fairly fail-proof shortbread recipe which resulted in that deliciously familiar buttery finish! Find this step-by-step Shortbread recipe here.

Once you are done with baking, let your creative juices flow! Decorate the biscuits and gift box using any colours and patterns you like, just have fun with it! With any DIY craft project, do try to be resourceful! We like to keep wrapping paper and gift ribbons to re-use later for these such crafts.

…and here is the final product! How easy was that? Looks rather professional, dont you think?

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Spearmint Baby | Easter Egg Colouring

Easter Decorating Eggstravaganza

By | March 21, 2012

A particularly treasured pastime of mine is our family’s annual Easter Decorating Eggstravaganza, a day filled with lot of crafty Easter DIYs, great company and delicious Easter treats! Today we share with you a taste of this beloved Easter tradition with a sample of our favourite Easter Egg Decorating ideas for you to try this year! Happy Easter!

First up, you will need to discover your inner egg-colouring skills, Spearmint Baby has a great step-by-step egg dyeing guide here.
Next, learn how to create beautiful hollowed and hand-painted eggs with Home Life’s simple DIY tutorial.
Getting inspired by Willy Wonka now, we love this Golden Chocolate Easter Eggs how-to by The Kitchn. “I want my geese to lay gold eggs for Easter, at least 100 a day!” ~ Veruca Salt.
Why not send Egg-o-grams to your family and friends? These are surprisingly easy to make and will certainly create smiles-all-round! A step-by-step guide can be found here, thanks to Poppytalk.
These Paper Flower Easter Eggs are perfect for a table top display at your Easter Luncheon or as hand-made Easter gifts. The DIY tutorial by Such Pretty Things can be found here.
Last but not least, this super-cute egg decorating project by A Bit of Pilli Pilli is a fun one make with the kids!

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Ice Cube has a Hidden Passion

By | March 13, 2012

Before his killer career in Rap music, Ice Cube studied Architectural Drafting at the Phoenix Institute of Technology. Slightly out of character, yes, but he now openly celebrates the architectural beauties of his hometown, Los Angeles!

Ice Cube’s familiarity and respect for design emerges from behind his notorious hard shell in this recording as he dotes on the iconic Eames House (also known as Case Study House No. 8) and it’s creators.

“In a world full of McMansions, where da structure takes up all the land, Eames made structure and nature one. This is going green 1949-style, bitches”.

We love Ice Cube’s no-bull approach to design education. Perhaps a new gangsta-style Grand Designs series is in the making? What do you think?


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