Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A little provedore in a seaside town…

So as far as I can see design is a part of everything we do, say, look at and think.  It is everything you encounter through out your day, and eating is a big part of the day. I was brought up by a “foodie” and good food in a good space has become as important to me as the nurturance I need from the food to continue my existence.  Mind you this is spoken by a women who has literally never been able to stick to a diet, ever.

I’m currently sitting in a very groovy seaside town in Victoria called DSC00591 Barwon Heads.  Famous for being part of the set of the popular ABC “Sea Change” series Barwon Heads is a up market gem which has seen its property prices double and triple in the last five years.  I mean, it is just so nice.  Even in winter, right now when we are looking at 12 degrees, rain and wind. This town has a number of great shops, cafes and restaurants to hunker down in and chill out.  I will admit that I am a little bias about this place (I grew up 20 minuets away by car), but in the last 5 years it has really out done itself when it comes to food!

I am most impressed by a little shop called “Annie’s Provedore & Produce Store- Natural, Fresh, Local”. This place ticks all the boxes.  Firstly the coffee is great, IMG_0213consistently good. Not bitter, not small, and no sign of  burnt milk, just really smooth good coffee in a great mug.  Then there is the menu.  It is beautifully understated, and is changed by the seasons.  Lashings of Roast vegetables in the Beef Lasagne, Chicken & Feta burger in Turkish bread, and beautiful Polenta Pizza with different toppings depending on the produce for the day.  Not to mention the fact that you can order yourself a Regional Produce Plate and a glass of wine to while away the afternoon.  That's not the best though, Annie’s serves breakfast until 3pm everyday (with free range eggs!)  The breakfast menu is as complete and diverse as the lunch menu and gives you the basics with a twist.  The Avocado on Sourdough topped with Meredith goats cheese is so simple and IMG_0212mouth watering you could go back for seconds if you weren’t already going back for the French Toast and Maple syrup.

It is so simple and so beautifully presented that you think, “why haven’t I thought of that, I could do that at home!” BUT if you were to do it at home you’d miss the essence of the place.  Recently renovated to add more space for seating, Annie’s is also a visual delight. This is where the design comes in and seals the deal.  Big and small wooden tables running long ways invite you to sit in groups and meet the locals if that's what you wish. The stools and chairs all slightly different are all warm  honey toned woods with the occasional ‘white painted rescued’ chair from a farm house kitchen. From the roof hangs garlic and boxes which once, many decades ago lovingly transported fresh foods and wines.  There are also the weaved baskets and lengths of paper ribbon used to tie gifts in paper.  Even the floor is beautiful!  Rock concrete which has been laid and then rubbed back to a fine semi gloss smooth surface.  ThIMG_0216e cool grey and blue of the floor plays beautifully off all the warm provincial wood tones.  There are small well placed blackboards everywhere framed again in wood, which are practical, smart and crafty. I haven’t even started on the displays of produce! Stainless steel is limited but used as an accent to the farm kitchen vibes, beautifully displaying the cheese, local and from far a field.  The display is inviting and smart, it looks like the open kitchen larder my mum dreams of, where every ingredient is placed in order of its use.

There is a warmth here that is not only about the lovingly created menu and food, but from the staff who are genuinely happy to be at work.  The walls are lined with IMG_0214produce you can buy for home, Macedon sea salt and quince past to name two, not to mention the local beer, which is really VERY good. I really have fallen for this place. It is inspiring to sit here and watch this town go by with all its beautiful well groomed people and to eat and drink.  I think its time for coffee number three and I’ve  just spotted a Blackberry Shiraz homemade jam in the middle of the communal table I’m at, so I think its time to sign off and order the local Sourdough toast.  Oh it is nice to be by the seaside.


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Made it in Australia? Sell it on "Made It"

Over the last few weeks I've found a revolation in selling your craft... "Made It"... I love it, and I want to spread the love by getting some of the beautiful designs & hand crafted goods out and into your lives.

Each few weeks I'm going to post some of the best and most interesting pieces from the site and I encourgae you to click on the links and explore futhure. I have decided myself to support these local talented artisits by buying most of my gifts on line via Made It. The jewlery is stunning, the clothes made with love and care, the doggy treats are so cool I think my dog may end up more spoilt than she is now, and everything in between there is just inspirational.

ONE>Ingred Necklace- Vintage Mustard

$45 by Osier, Laser cut frame pendant with vintage 60's fabric insert. blog@

TWO> Pocket of Posies A-Line Skirt$65 by 5starbaby, Stretch denim with cotton feature fabric panel, sizes 10,12,14

Three> Swing Tags x4 Vintage storybook-School Fun!$12 by totallyinnocent, hand made and stitched swing tags

Get in and see some beautiful wonderful original art!


Friday, July 16, 2010

Craft Blogs? Wow, Yeah!

I've been doing a lot of surfing the web and I've been focused on Blogs. Being new to blogging, I'm looking to see what works, what gems people have to say and sell, and what makes you want to follow a blog... I've come across a beautiful range of craft blogs! These are hosted by passionate, exciting, self motivated, talented people who have something to show the world. One I'd like to share with you is "Easily Distracted" run by Shell in Brisbane, which talks about scrapbooking and craft. Not only is it beautiful set out it is gorgeously enthusiastic and simple. She has plenty of links and challenges with great photo's of her work. If you like a good read and you like art/design/craft I'd defiantly get onto this blog. It is lovely!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Creativity on the edge of land


I’ve spent the last 8 years living inland.  Not so inland that I couldn’t get to the waterside if I drove an hour, but not close.  I couldn’t see it, I couldn’t smell it, or sense it.  I’m in a transitional faze at the moment, and I’m having a ‘sea change’.  An over rated term I know, but it fits for my current predicament. In approximately six weeks my husband and I will don backpacks and go feral globally.  Until such time, we are house sitting 10 minuets from the beach, back in my home town, and I feel a resurgence of creativity.  It begs the question, does your geographical position enhance or diminish your creativity?

Photo below- Ocean Grove, Victoria, Australia (photograph Clare Simons Kelly)

DSC00071  Granted, the image above was taken back in February, unlike today’s 5 degree non stop raining, but even in this inclement weather, there is still such wild beauty along Australian’s coast line. I defy anyone not get even the slightest bit of inspiration from such a view.  Wide open space, white surf, blue soaring sky’s.  The sense of personal space, physically and mentally, it is exhilarating. Even in this gloomier of days I still feel embraced by the spirit of the creative. 

So does your surroundings, make you more or less creative? I guess I can’t answer for you, but for me, it does.  I feel more at ease with life on the coast, on the edge of the land, and being in Australia there is a lot of beach and coast line to source inspiration from.  There is something about water meeting land, about sand between your toes and sunsets over vast every lasting oceans.

Image below- Geelong Eastern Beach, Victoria, Australia (Photograph Clare Simons Kelly)


I feel less anxious.  I feel more in tune with life and nature, I mean it could all be wank, but all I know is I feel better by the seaside! To get inspired try getting in the car, regardless of the weather and drive.  Drive to the edge and just look at the edge of the world with fresh eyes.  There are so many shades of blue in the sky and ocean, so many textures and shapes I bet you’ve never even focused.

Photo Below- Queenscliff, Victoria, Australia (photograph by Clare Simons Kelly)

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Now, if you are by the edge of the “earth” do the opposite!  GET OUT!  Get on the train or in the car and move inside the land.  Get amongst the prowls and the sky high buildings.  Smell the coffee, walk the damp streets, sit in the cafe’s and watch the people go by at a rate of knots.  I suggest getting to Melbourne if you near by and getting lost in the many cafes and bars, all over the city, BUT the BEST places are just outside the CBD.  Get to Fitzroy, Brunswick, North Melbourne, Coburg to find a hub of artists drowning themselves in coffee, conversation and sangria.  You’ll find dark and comfortable booths in what use to be churches of fabric showrooms, or green grocers.  I spent 5 of the last 8 years exploring these haunts and I could have spent another 5 happily. 

Image below- Somewhere in Northcote at the “Wesley Anne” (photograph by Clare Simons Kelly)


BUT, the opportunity has arisen to live on the edge of the “earth” again for a time, and I can’t explain how my blood is re-energized with creative juice!  So in conclusion, it may not be ‘where’ you are geographically, it may be ‘when’ you get there.  I know I loved my life in Melbourne, and felt an intense creativity for years, but the change to the coast seems to have re-started me.  I think with hindsight staying anywhere for too long will eat away at your spirit and leave you stagnant, its the change, the new or the familiarity of the old which gives you the go.  I’d challenge you to make changes for the sake of your creative soul, let yourself go to the edge of the earth or the crowds of the city or the country town in between and enjoy the creative buzz you get.

Image below- The top of Mt Osborn, Wilsons Promontory, Victoria, Australia. (Photograph- Clare Simons Kelly)

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More soon!


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Coburg- Rat Rod Party

You can by this shot via red bubble...

One thing you need to know about me is I LOVE my automobiles. My father and I have always joked we had petrol running through our veins rather than blood. In fact some of my earliest and best memories where sitting in his double garage, which attached to the double carport, that completely dwarfed the house behind, 'helping' dad with the MG's. The smell of oil and grease, the amazing tools he used to solve all manner of problems, and the cars (& bikes and bits of engine). It was and still is a place of sanctuary, with Radio National stories and interviews in the background and the dog sleeping on her peace of warm carpet.

It is this magical scene that made me the women I am today; the women with the love of the machine.
I've worked in the industry as a designer and there is nothing I like more than a weekend away, picnic basket and slab in toe, walking rows and rows of classic or hot or just plain strange cars.

So I was thrilled when some friends had a factory party out in Coburg after a long week at work. The factory is arented space where friends have their own corners and work on art and restoring their pride and joys, their cars! The party was great, people milled inside and out, talking, drinking, eating, just being. With trusty SLR in hand I was able to stand back and shoot beautiful vehicles and some very cool people having a seriously fun time...

I'm proud to say that these images where picked up by Fuel magazine and published in this months issue (issue 4). You can see in the inside shot the stain black rod (a mate had this brought out from the US and did it up in between working 14 hour days and was still able to fit in a weekend surf!) has the Fuel logo painted on the door. VERY cool.

This is the sort of party out in the back streets of Coburg where you can meet some very cool people, and see some beautiful cars. This night came complete with push bikes hanging from the roof, cars on blocks, engine parts lying in wait for there next round of work, and of course DOGS!

Melbourne has a fantastic "rock-a-billy, punk, hot rod, get yourself tattooed by the most talented artists, have a great night" scene. There is always something going on any night in Melbourne, whether it be a live acoustic gig, a punk concert of covers by 5 different bands for some dudes birthday, an art exhibition made completely out of toilet paper, you really can find what ever floats your boat.

For me, it's cars and these shots that show the laid back, cool mood of a Coburg Factory Rat Rod Party...Takes me back to my childhood in the garage, except with more drinking...

My big thanks to Luke (Fuel Mag) for publishing my work and also to Pete, Craig, Shane, Mike and the other boys at the factory for throwing this party.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Victoria-What art inspiration can you find? INTRODUCTION!!!

I’ll say it straight up, I’ve lived in Victoria for 85% of my 27 years and therefore I’ve had the time to explore and appreciated it. What I aim to do in this FIRST post of Design & Life & everything in between is let you in on some of the coolest & most random thoughts and images from this great state.  For perspective I have also lived in the UK, travelled western Europe as a teenager, seen some of Asia (although not enough), and done Australia inside and out and still don’t feel like I’ve scratched the surface.  So I’m saying I’ve seen a bit to compare the Victorian art/design landscape too, and I’m still constantly surprised with what this state has to offer.

DSC00132 A street in Coburg, Melbourne, Victoria… every post is an art gallery…

What’s my cred to be able to talk about this? Like I said, 85% of 27 years in Victoria. I’ve live in Geelong, the surf coast, a short stint on the Great Ocean Road, Ballarat, Melbourne (Brunswick, Coburg), and camped everywhere the signs said we could.  I’m a Graphic Designer, Automotive Designer, Trend Analyst, Illustrator, Amateur Photographer and all-round crafty arty person.

There is a few different outstanding categories to investigate here:

  • Street Art
  • Coffee cafes, breaky stops, evening drinks
  • Nature
  • Architecture & infrastructure
  • The randomly inspirational

Over the next few weeks I’m going to flesh these out and hopefully give you the same inspirational feeling I get when I go looking for or fall into Art!

Cheers X