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Inspired By: Lobster & Swan

There’s a certain calm and curiosity that washes over me whenever I look at the Flickr photo stream of Lobster & Swan. I just love her shop too, maker and photographer Jeska Hearne is such a treasure to have in the independent art & design community. I hope she realizes that, but if not perhaps this post and will your comments of support will remind her. I think it’s important to regularly toot the horn of those who positively impact the way we live and see the world. It’s important because these are the same ones who have a tendency to feel drained at times, like they’re constantly inspiring others but in turn who are inspiring them? And do others care about all they are doing to share intimate parts of their world?

Lobster & Swan

Creative types like Jeska have personally helped me to not be so focused on the pursuit of perfectionism and to take more pride in the little things, which I neglected to do as a young adult and striving to be perfect held me back many years ago. Looking upon that time in my life, I see clearly why this was the case: I was in a crowd of friends that were extremely competitive. The companions we keep as children, but equally important as adults, make a huge impact on how we see our own life and work and how critically (or not) we judge ourselves. Even in the online world, we are associating with so many on a daily basis – it’s important for me to be in circles where I do not feel an undercurrent of jealousy or competition but a feeling of support and encouragement. I’ve had those feelings with some in the past and I had to walk away and pursue other friendships, not because I didn’t like or appreciate the person but because I sensed they were trying to compete with me more than aiming to create something personal and important to them. Many artists and designers who have found supportive circles online tend to thrive and magic happens. And this is the kind of magic that I want to naturally occur in my life and the magic I feel when I visit blogs like Lobster & Swan.

Lobster & Swan

I love her paper garlands, photographs, and pretty inspirational things on a string that you can display in your home on a fireplace mantle or over your desk perhaps. In addition to the pretty things that Jeska makes, I love the things that she takes — in the form of memories captured on film — which she posts on her blog that continuously inspire me and so many of her fans. I enjoy her relaxed and cozy design sensibility – no frills and naturally beautiful. It’s the supermodel without layers of makeup, hanging out in her crumpled t-shirt and worn out jeans with a favorite cardigan and a mug of hot cocoa in hand. Disheveled perfection. :)

Lobster & Swan

Lobster & Swan

Jeska also maintains a second blog, Record The Day, that is equally drool-inducing where she takes clippings from magazines and such and puts them together on small pieces of paper as a collage of inspirations. I do something similar, in the folders that I create, but now I’m thinking I should try creating them weekly in smaller format and posting them online somewhere. Hmmm. Well inspiration should motivate action sometimes, right? What is the point of simply feeling inspired if nothing becomes from at least some of those feelings? Perhaps I’ll give it a go.

(photos: Jeska Hearne)

Posted in Arts + Crafts on November 05, 2009

Shop Tour: Lark

It is time for another gorgeous shop tour with tons of photos with many little things to study! Ready to take a moment out of your busy day to go on a little shopping trip with me? Today you’ll meet Allison Jones, owner of Lark in Daylesford, a small country town in Australia near Melbourne. Allison opened up shop only one month ago and so this is an exclusive peek at her gorgeous wares. Allison selected her shop name because, “It means joy, fun, a happy song. It’s a very light-hearted word. Also my baby boy was always waking up so early, so I was forced into becoming a Lark even though I am naturally a Night Owl!”, she says.

Shop Tour: Lark

Lark carries their our own range of knitted toys and handmade accessories, plus homewares, stationery, totes, t-shirts and paper products. When I look at her shop it almost reminds me of a blog brought to life because she carries so many independent brands that you wouldn’t typically find if you were out buying at a trade show. This makes the whole Lark experience for someone living in Daylesford so very unique. For example you can find art prints by London’s Belle & Boo. In addition to small companies, Allison carries Japanese zakka and books, picnic sets from Danish label Rice, handmade children’s clothing, craft kits, zines and handcrafted products from Australian designers including Beci Orpin, Victoria Mason, Betty Jo, Little Shop Of and Twiglet. I asked Allison a few questions about her store and I’ve included her comments below with more deicious photographs.

Shop Tour: Lark

Why did you open a storefront? We started with an online shop, but I felt that it was missing something, I really wanted to meet our customers and for them to see how all of the things that we choose could work together in a space. We moved to Daylesford as a young family three years ago and it’s where we live and work so I jumped at the chance to open a shop when an old factory building came up for lease in the centre of town. It looked a bit ugly but I had just returned from a trip to Tokyo and been impressed by these amazing boutiques like the Jeu de Paumes shop and gallery, tucked away in unlikely buildings, so I knew I could make it look pretty. We could have opened our shop in the city rather than the country, but Melbourne already has so many amazing shops whereas here, people are surprised when they come across us, we’re like a huge burst of colour and craftiness, a fresh, young shop that you would not perhaps expect in a small country town. And Daylesford is a favourite weekend destination for people from the city because of its mineral spas and beautiful scenery, so we do get a lot of visitors coming through anyway.

What feelings would you like for your customers to have when they enter Lark? I hope that visitors feel welcome, surprised, a little excited, nostalgic and happy.

Do you have any perks to lure in new customers and to keep current ones? We have a store newsletter, shopping nights and free goodie bags to tempt customers. We also run a fundraising scheme with our local creche. But mostly customers return because we always have fresh new things to entice them!

Ummm a creche? What is that? Oh, it’s a community childcare centre or kindergarten! We have a great one locally, and whenever the parents come into the shop and buy something the centre gets a percentage.

Shop Tour: Lark

Shop Tour: Lark

Shop Tour: Lark

What future plans do you have for Lark? I would really love to open a cute tea shop inside Lark, serving classic Australian cakes like lamingtons, yoyos, and lots of different slices inspired by the CWA (Country Women’s Association). But I think we will need bigger premises for this!

Do you also have an online shop? Yes, right here.

How do you find the products that you carry? I organise a local makers’ market, so I have a lot of contact with crafters and makers from our area, there are some very talented people around here. The Australian website Made It is also a great source. When I want to look further afield, my main inspiration comes from blogs, Etsy, and my travels around Europe and Japan.

Shop Tour: Lark

Shop Tour: Lark

Shop Tour: Lark

Are you accepting new artists and designers and if so, if someone reading has a product that may fit your aesthetic, can they contact you? Certainly! Just this week I received in the mail a gorgeous brooch from a designer in Sydney who had read about our shop on my blog, and we are going to be stocking them very soon.

Thank you so much Allison for touring us of your exquisite and charming shop! All the best in your new business venture, I see a tea room in your future for sure. ;)

(photos: Rohan Anderson)

Posted in Shop Tours, travel on November 04, 2009

Appliqué Your Way

I’m so excited to share this news with you today, in fact I couldn’t wait until my copy of Appliqué Your Way arrived for this very reason! If you flip it over you’ll read my praises on the back of Katie Terry’s beautiful new book. Thank you so much Kayte for asking me to be a part of this, I’m honored. And in addition to the projects, the photography is gorgeous and were taken by the extremely talented Jennifer Causey.




I started following Kayte’s work through her blog years back, then I met her in person at a craft fair in Brooklyn back in ’07 and instantly felt a creative connection — she is talented and very humble about it, which I appreciate so much because even in the craft world there can be snobs.  After meeting, Kayte and I worked on a project for a magazine shoot and so I felt confident in supplying a quote for that reason — I felt like I was in the position to give it since I knew her work a little more personally from that experience. Again Kayte, thank you for including me.

If you want a super inspiring, beautiful book all about the art of appliqué — then this book is for you. There are so many things you can embellish in your home including pillows, tea towels, handbags and clothing that you’ll most likely go on a appliqué spree! I can’t wait to try out a few of her ideas. Yay!

(images: holly becker for decor8)

Posted in Books + Magazines on November 04, 2009


This is one seriously classy line of pillows. I’ve been crushing on the designs of AphroChic lately, and in case you haven’t heard of the collection yet consider today your lucky day! Jeanine Hays is the founder and creative director behind AphroChic and her Dreamland pillow collection is just great — modern and soulful. The colors and patterns are vibrant with tons of personality but also high quality and eco-friendly produced from 100% natural fabrics like Belgian linen, cotton and silk. My favorite: the yellow and white haze pattern – beautiful!



And don’t miss this… Jeanine authors a fantastic blog where she blogs about her life and inspirations, you simply must check it out (it’s blog of the week!).

(photography: Patrick Cline.Model: Maryse Weekes.)

Posted in Objects on November 04, 2009


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