Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Zakka at Home in Japan

All the photos are courtesy of The Pal, who is a much better photographer than I.

I am so excited to be in Japan right now. Home of all things kawaii and zakka, I am in heaven. The attention to detail on everything from the warm toilet seats to the engravings on 800 year old temples is extraordinary- this is a culture that likes to get it right.

In a totally unexpected way, too, floods of schoolgirl Japanese are coming back. Words I haven't thought about for nine years or more are flowing out of me like water - such an odd feeling. These memories are of useful phrases such as "one way train ticket" and "I'd like the bill please" but are also peppered with "usagi means rabbit!" and "enpitsu means pencil!". Very strange indeed.

In that spirit of the stream of conscious, I thought I'd share with you a beautiful Nikko find called Nazuna - an antique and zakka shop that was a dangerous place for me to visit!
The most beautifully curated collection of antiquey things - I loved these old wooden spools (if I sewed they'd be coming home) and this set of Japanese family name stamps.
I ended up, in a very restrained way I thought, coming home with a few cards, an antique kimono jacket and a beautiful old key from The Pal for Christmas, which I shall find a chain for to hang around my neck.
I was also very tempted by these dolls, but my suitcase - yes, a carry on - is really already straining at the edges, and I haven't even hit Tokyo's stationery sellers!
I'll post some pictures of some purchases soon. In the meantime, Happy New Year! May 2009 be full of all you wish for.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Space Invaders II

I have written before about how much I love Space Invaders and was thrilled to find a few more to add to my collection. So unexpected - so lovely.

The Pal and I are trying to update our travel blog as we go, too, if you want more holiday love.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Best Book Covers of 2008

As we approach Christmas and New Year - a time of reflection - I thought I'd share with you some of the best judged book covers of the year. Have a wonderful Christmas with your loved ones!

Monday, December 8, 2008

New York City

I know I haven't posted in a while, but I've been in New York City. How anyone actually lives here and can tear themselves away from all there is to do in order to blog? I just don't know!

Apart from being quite sick here, I have had the chance to catch up with some friends, meet the delightful Abbey (aka Blog Royalty! Even more lovely than on her blog!), and had a walk in the snow in Greenwich Village. The Pal made a short video which I think sums up the trip so far. So much fun.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Miroslav Sasek

Miroslav Sasek was an incredibly talented illustrator and released these beautiful books in a big series. While travelling, I keep wanting to buy them, but know they would problematise my carry-on baggage rules!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Mission District, San Francisco

Spent the day yesterday wandering around the Mission district of San Francisco, which for Sydneysiders is a bit like if Newtown and Glebe had an op-shop lovechild. In other words, it's lovely! Above is the steel (?) desk I coveted (with a strange spiky thing which I didn't covet) in a fabulous shop called X21 .
The shop was full of oddities like these lights, which looked more like extras from Wall-E than electrical fixtures.

Next stop was 826 Valencia St, where Dave Eggers famously has a pirate supply store, where a pirate in need can buy such necessities as peg leg oil, treasure cleaner, gold dragoon coins and notebooks galore. In the back of the shop, they teach (all for free) young kids and high school students English and writing skills. It made me want to start up a similar project in Sydney next year - I'll keep you posted!
This sign was for a cane shop, but I thought inadvertently hilarious. It looks rather threatening, no?!

By the way, I am posting lots more photos over at our travel blog, if you're interested!

Friday, November 21, 2008

My Travel Blog

Just in case you're obsessively curious to see what I'm getting up to on this trip (and why I've been bad at posting here), you might want to wander over to our new travel blog and see where we're at.

Holiday Fun: Big Sur

We arrived in LA on Monday and drove up the coast road arriving at San Francisco tonight. While I don't want this to morph into a travel-blog, I had to share with you Treebones Resort. The Pal and I stayed in yurts (Mongolian-style round luxury tents) and had panoramic views of the ocean. At night, you could hear the elephant seals playing on the beach, and see stars literally for miles. We're having a great time!

Envelope Madness

Remember how I said I made lots of envelopes in one day? Well here they are in the Dumbo Feather Shop - wahoo!

Go and have a look at their mook (magazine + book = mook) - it is a really lovely and inspirational read.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Packing and Moving Forward

What a calming and peaceful wall. All's well at Packing Central. I haven't, ahem, actually started to pack yet, but have left today as my calming down and cooling off day. I have a stack of bad movies, a new empty suitcase and I feel unstoppable!

By the way, the news I had to share is quite exciting. The lovely people at Dumbo Feather asked me to put together envelopes and badges for them made out of previous issues of the magazine. They look lovely, and will hopefully be up in their shop and at some markets. Eee! The only downside was that I had to make 75 envelopes in one day, which is a record even for me!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Crazy Fruit

The title of this post both references my own craziness pre-trip and these amazing fruit sculptures, which I was emailed yesterday. Funny, yes?!

I have been running around like a crazy woman trying to get everything done before we head off on Monday, and am getting very excited now. Packing list is all ready to go (I think!) and I'm starting the travelling-for-two-months-with-hand-luggage-challenge today.My blogging might be a bit sporadic over the next little while, but I'll try to steal the Pal's mac while we're away to give you a little update.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Swap Lovelies

You may remember me talking of the Autumn Swap a little while ago. I had actually totally forgotten I would be receiving a parcel, so imagine my surprise when I found this BOX of goodies (all colour-co-ordinated in wrapping, no less) at my door yesterday morning! Eee!

My incredibly talented partner is Shelley from Oiseaux, and I feel as though she has reached into my brain and made the most perfect box for me. How lucky am I not only to be treated to so many beautiful things, but I'm so excited to have found a new friend with such amazing talents.

I honestly couldn't believe how much this all looks like me. Shelley sneakily looked at my favourites list on etsy (She must have! Or how would she have known?!) and generously added her own touches to things she knew I would love. You'll also see there on the far left an incredible collage Shelley made herself, entitled 'Wish'. It is so peaceful.
This incredible necklace from etsy seller Brookadelphia which I haven't taken off yet, and amazing card by another etsy seller, all the numbers.
Pear soap (eee!) and stickers from Brambleberry Lane.
The most charming bookplates from Shelley's own shop, Oiseaux. I am in love with these more than I can explain - they are too, too perfect! (Have a look at her shop, but visit at your own peril...)And last but not least, a fabulously, geographically correct Golden Book! Shelley was also kind enough to include a beautiful collection of teas, gift labels, and a great book about the Twelve Days of Christmas, featuring the ever-luminescent Quentin Blake. It is superb!

Thank you so much Shelley for your thoughtfulness, generosity and attention to detail. I am all a-flutter!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Exciting New Projects

My brain has been whirring with new ideas of late. Crafty things, new book ideas, artiness and the like. And excitingly, I might have some news about an interesting project later today. Very cryptic, I know, but stay tuned!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Travel Fun

New York, March 2007.
I am starting to get very excited - the Pal and I leave in one week today for a two month holiday around the world.
Rome, January 2006.
Don't get me wrong, the economy is worrying us, and certainly everywhere in North America will be especially expensive, but we figure the next time we have eight weeks to holiday, we'll be eighty and in wheelchairs. Or at least much older :)

Hong Kong, December 2003.
I have been enjoying using the lovely Trip It to plan our itinerary, including flights, accommodation, and car hire. It's such a great resource - highly recommended to replace my old spreadsheets!
Paris, December 2005.
We are also planning to take only carry-on luggage. Partly this seems like a cool challenge, but partly it just seems sensible. I hate lugging around huge backpacks or suitcases, and would much rather use a cute, small wheelie bag and post things home as I go. Any ideas for this challenge?
Florence, December 2005.
I have been writing a list of things to take in my bag, and think I'm doing pretty well so far. I shall keep you posted!
Mui Ne, Vietnam, 2004.

*By the way, I'll post pinata fun later this week, too!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Party Time!

The Pal and I decided to have a big party this weekend with our good friends - here's the invite we came up with. Hopefully I'll have some good photos on Monday - happy weekend!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Couldn't Resist


A lot of the blogs I read have been apologising for being political - not me! This decision radically affects so many people - I am ecstatic at the news! If you need more, have a look here.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


What an historic day! I feel heady and excited - I can smell and feel change on the wind, and feel safer for having a compassionate, curious intellect in charge of the country whose decisions so affect my own.

Thank you to all Americans who voted - even if for the Republicans - as you demonstrated, as Obama said, a return to the true values you stood for long ago - democracy, transparency and community participation to name a few.

I first heard about Barack Obama in 2004, when I saw a small segment of a speech he made. I was mesmerised by his articulate and thoughtful speech, and the way he could combine grace with power in such a unique way.

Here's to a new world order which sees a move away from consumerism, self-interest, illegality, insularity and fear-mongering. And let's welcome in a progressive, all-encompassing, public-minded and change-oriented super power, who urges us to speak truth to power and be engaged actively in governance.

Please, please, please!!!

As an Australian who can't vote in the US elections, but whose life is deeply affected by the US government (go figure), I am desperately hoping for a more compassionate and progressive world. Please vote! And vote the right way!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

New Things in Store

So exciting! I've just listed brand new Paris envelopes made from gorgeous old papers of mine in the shop! I've been collecting these papers for ages, and so enjoyed putting the packs together.
Each pack contains three envelopes, address labels, Parisian seals and crisp and lovely white cardstock.