I live in an old apartment with picture rails and I sometimes get a bit stumped for ideas when hanging small prints. I love the arrangement above... the different shapes and sizes of frames combined with the varying heights works really well to create a gallery feel. Never in a million years would I have hung a picture as high as the round frame on the left, but it creates a perfect sense of balance don't you think?
This week I was delighted to interview the very lovely Stephanie Nichols - an accountant turned lamp shade designer who is the creative force behind local Australian company, Steal The Limelight. Finding stunning lamp shades is one of my pet obsessions, so I was thrilled to discover that Stephanie not only stocks a whole range of beauties online, but she will custom-make shades to order (hip, hip, hooray!). Make sure you pop on over to her site for a peek!
WHAT IS YOUR DESIGN BACKGROUND?
I have no formal training in design but probably should have followed that path rather than accounting which is the path I took. I have always had an interest in home décor and interior design and have renovated numerous houses. Other than the complete rebuild of our house in Balgowlah Heights, my most recent home decorating adventure was in Beechworth, Victoria. I bought an old turn of the century cottage and moved another cottage from Melbourne onto the site. With the help of my brother who is a builder we completely redecorated the houses. I absolutely loved that project!
WHAT WAS YOUR INSPIRATION FOR STARTING YOUR COMPANY AND HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN BUSINESS?
Steal The Limelight was born out of sheer necessity. When I was decorating our home in Balgowlah Heights, I wanted some fabric lampshades to hang over my island bench but I didn’t just want plain ones. I looked everywhere but all the fabric pendant shades on the market were either made of poor quality fabric or they were very expensive. I researched the materials required for making my own shades for months and found good quality lampshade lining in Europe, Australian made wires and the Warwick Fabrics showroom where I made my first lampshade fabric purchases.
I have been in business for almost a year now! I love pouring over magazines and fabric houses searching for beautiful fabrics to create gorgeous brightly coloured and heavily patterned lampshades that people can enjoy in their homes.
HOW DID YOU TURN YOUR BUSINESS IDEA INTO A REALITY?
Many, many hours of research and many failed lampshade attempts that ended up at St. Vincent D ‘Pauls (a charity). My quality standards are very high, and of course my accounting background has been very handy! My family, particularly my husband Brett, are very patient!
ARE YOUR PRODUCTS MANUFACTURED LOCALLY?
I hand make all of my shades in my studio which is part of my home in Balgowlah Heights, they are each a labour of love and I never tire of admiring the finished product!
Look what just happened to find it's way into my house over the weekend.... ANOTHER vintage trunk!
I found it beneath a whole pile of junk at a garage sale just down the road... the best $5 I've spent in a long time! I'm going to stencil Leo's name on the front and he can use it as a toy box (... just as soon as I can figure out how to make the rusted edges a little more child-friendly!!!). I swear every child that enters this house needs a double Tetanus shot!
I'm always on the lookout for fun, creative and affordable art ideas for children's bedrooms. Here are some of my recent favourites...
This door is so simple and so clever... the possibilities are endless... you could get the children to create their own artwork, you could use a vintage poster or some funky wallpaper... or paint the inserts with blackboard paint so they can scribble on their door with chalk!
This idea is ingenious for little kids... imagine how much fun they would have changing the images around!
The frame above has been backed with wire mesh to make it easy to attach different items - kids can peg, hang and tie up all the little bits and pieces they collect.
Framed vintage hankies... a great idea! You could even hunt down ones with monogrammed initials to represent the alphabet... "A", "B", "C", "D"... or find ones with an animal theme.
Sometimes I wonder if you all tire of my obsession with vintage paraphernalia... in particular, my love of vintage suitcases, which upon reflection, do seem to appear in a rather startling number of posts! I'm afraid that I have to plead total helplessness - you see, it turns out I'm an addict - a problem I've had since I was about seven when my mother gave me an antique flower press as a gift (other little girls wanted Cabbage Patch Kids... I wanted vintage lace doilies!). No matter how much I write about it, no matter how much I surround myself with it, no matter how many gorgeous pictures of tatty old stuff I post, I just can't satisfy my craving for VINTAGE! I'm considering starting a support group... anybody care to join?
One of the most endearing things about my husband, is that he came into my life complete with vintage trunks full of old family heirlooms... its kind of like having an antique store hidden in my lounge room!
Today I opened a trunk and this is what I found...
Have you heard of the blog The Odessa May Society? If not, you better get your skates on quick smart and scoot over there for a peek... I met Jennie Prince, the talented author of this lovely site, through the recent Blogging Your Way e-course. I was really touched that Jennie nominated Wicker & Stitch for a Stylish Blogger award (woohoo!). I always get such a kick out of these things - the blogging world is so full of love and friendship and encouragement.
The deal with this award is that the recipient has to reveal 7 things about themselves that readers wouldn't already know before passing the award onto others... now, I've done this a few times before so, as a bit of a twist on the theme, I thought it would be fun to share some personal things that have happened to me today that have made me smile:
1. Our little Monkey, who will be seven months old in a few days time, woke up this morning and called for "Dadada" and "Mamama" from his cot... Andre and I lay in bed, holding hands and smiling into the darkness at the wonder of being somebody's parents (never mind that it was 5.30am!).
2. I received a package of beautiful fabrics in the post and then sat with them on my lap, stoking them like they were a cat... yes, really!
4. The Monkey got the giggles while eating his morning tea and couldn't stop... I wish I could bottle his unbridled joy and give a dose to all the sad people in the world!
5. I went for a walk in the sunshine and felt the warmth seep into my soul and fill up my heart.
6. I received a beautiful email from my gorgeous friend Jane, full of wisdom, love and encouragement... her blog, Life on Planet Baby is a lovely place to visit.
7. I rang my Mum to tell her about the cot calling... her delight at my delight made me feel light as a feather.
And in case you've ever wondered where I sit when I blog... here is a sneek peek at my messy desk (which sits in our dining room in our tiny little apartment!).
Now... for the good part! I decided to nominate 3 stylish bloggers whoI have only just discovered as a way of introducing them to you and hopefully letting them know just how fabulous I think they are:
1. Gigi from The Magpies Fancy - a blog so beautifully written it sometimes makes me cry.
2. Gina from Doe-C-Doe - the quirkiest little vintage-inspired blog you'll ever read.
3. The Beauty Comma - my latest crush for inspirational imagery.
I hope these blogs bring you all some happiness today.
Sometimes, when I stumble upon a like-minded creative soul, I get so excited that I want to grab them and hug them and run around in the playground holding hands with my new kindred spirit!
I have been so inspired by all the incredibly talented people I have met lately that I decided to begin a new interview series for Wicker & Stitch as a way of sharing these wonderful creative souls with the world and exhibiting their work for everyone to see! I'm so intrigued by what makes creative people tick and I love having the opportunity of delving into people's lives and discovering their motivation.
Today, I am so excited to introduce the gorgeous Sarah Barnett of twice designs- a writer turned crafty mama with an eye for creating quirky vintage-inspired cards and artwork. Now you know how much I love anything remotely vintage and quirky, so it should come as no surprise that I have become mildly obsessed with Sarah's whimsical designs - please check out her fabulous blog and Etsy store to see her full range of beautiful products!
WHAT IS YOUR DESIGN BACKGROUND?
It’s funny you should ask that, because I don’t have a design background! My background is history and writing and after postgraduate study, I ended up as a movie reviewer! Since childhood I always considered myself inartistic. I have always wanted to be able to draw and create visual wonder but felt completely lacking in skill. Words were my thing. I wanted to write and I did write a novel that was short-listed for the Vogel/Australian Literary award. I still wouldn’t consider myself a designer or an artist. I call what I do, “almost art”. It’s really just tinkering and recontextualising what someone else has already created.
I started making cards when my third child was about one. I stopped work just before he was born and I felt the need to make something. I had a whopping case of writers’ block and was frustrated. As a mum there’s a feeling of never finishing ANYTHING. There is always more washing, more cooking, more cleaning. Nothing is ever done, complete. And while I love being a mum it is a fairly thankless job. So I started making cards, then soft toys, then brooches and my almost art. And I couldn’t quite believe that people liked it!
The special thing about twice designsis the notion of recycling. I am passionate about vintage goodies and recycling so I’ve combined them to make one-off and limited edition pieces. I have a lifelong love and fixation with vintage books, posters and games - there is a richness of colour, illustration and texture that issues a warmth and humour that is hard to explain.
I am also inspired by the whole recycling / upcycling movement in the US and also Australia. Light fittings from milk bottles, Knitting needle bracelets, seat belts into bags and fashion belts – I enjoy the recontextualising of items and the creativity involved in seeing something transformed. I enjoy using vintage and preloved materials because they have already “lived”; they have a story. They have been used, worn or played with and are getting another chance to be useful and beautiful. And then there’s that idea of a second chance, the opportunity to begin again. I love that.
HOW DID YOU TURN THE IDEA OF A BUSINESS INTO A REALITY?
Well it’s still kind of small, but I started by selling at markets which was great for getting feedback and figuring out what works and what doesn’t. I still do markets because I love that contact with people who have bought my things. After that I visited a couple of shops and left samples. Some led to sales, others didn’t. But I was amazed at how kind and encouraging people were.
WHERE DO YOU SOURCE YOUR BEAUTIFUL VINTAGE PRODUCTS FROM?
I find some items locally through garage sales and op shops, but mostly I find my vintage delights from the US and the UK through ebay and etsy. A few lovely people have donated buttons and buckles. It’s amazing how many mothers and grandmothers collected buttons!
ARE YOUR PRODUCTS PRINTED LOCALLY?
My cards are all made and printed by me. My “almost art” wall pieces are assemblage pieces so I use genuine vintage playing cards, maps, scrabble board, toy cars etc. I don’t make any prints of these – they are just one-off special pieces. (See image below of vintage scrabble board artwork).
WHERE CAN PEOPLE FIND YOUR PRODUCTS?
I sell at Mosman Markets (NSW) which is held on the first Saturday of the month. I also do a few other markets that are Iisted on my blog. I sell through Madeit and Etsy. Sous le Soleil (Roseville), Pulp (Balgowlah) and Neck of the Woods (Manly) also sell my products.
Lately, I've been harbouring a quiet obsession with pattern, particularly patterned fabric... this is something quite new for me... I'm more your 'co-ordinated plains' kind of girl. But suddenly, I can't get enough of bold colour combinations and wild designs. The lovely Anna Spiro from Absolutely Beautiful Things, does this look so well (of course!) and then there's Kellie from Ada & Darcy who sells some stunning cushions in her online shop. Yep, there might just be room for some turquoise zebra print in my life after all!
There is something so wonderfully decadent about a wide entrance hallway... it sets a tone of spacious elegance for the entire home. The image above makes we want to squeal with delight (yes... like a little piggy!). The ceiling, my lovelies... the ceiling! Have you ever seen anything quite so divine in all your life? WOWie!