A design blog to capture a collection of thoughts from a bowerbird who is in love with unique design - fashion, furniture, art, photography, interiors, jewellery and creative minxes

Friday, July 31, 2009

Finding Nemo

Aloha from sunny Hamilton Island…. After 5 glorious days basking in sunshine and azure waters I’m now sitting at the airport about to head home. How sad it is to leave paradise especially when the weather is a fine 28 degrees and Sydney is freezing.

However not all is lost, the pristine waters of this magical place have inspired me to research today’s blog - designer aquariums.

Now my personal experience with aquariums has never gone beyond a lonely fish in a glass bowl so seeing the work of artistic aquarist Takashi Amano completely blew my mind!

Takashi Amano’s work has popularized the art of acquascaping, where you set up the aquariums to look as close to real and natural scenery.

He has opened a company called Aqua Design Amano where he introduced Japanese gardening concepts (similar to bonzai) into the aquascaping hobby. A form of art that changes your normal aquarium into an art of nature. He has an outlet in Australia http://www.adaaust.com.au/

Some of his gorgeous work is featured below

Another unique aquarium concept that requires much less maintenance is the Ecosphere. A totally enclosed ecosystem requiring no maintenance - no feeding and no changing water!

The sphere is completely airtight and the plants and fish are self-sustained. The concept for this mini-aquarium comes from a NASA project where a ecosphere was taken into space.

Prices for these carefree mini-worlds range from 99 pounds to 499 pounds http://www.eco-sphere.co.uk/

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sunday Driver

I love a Sunday drive on a gloomy day. It’s very relaxing watching the rain fall on the window as it washes the scenery that speeds past.

So to make the most of today’s weather we drove to Bondi markets to collect my custom made ring from Zefyr Jewels (a stall at the markets).

I was so excited to finally pick up the ring after waiting with bated breather for 3 whole weeks while it was being made!

Tanya, the designer of Zefyr jewels did not disappoint (more of Tanya's designs at www.zefyrjewels.com.au)

At the markets I also discovered Holly Chalmers and StudioOat.

Holly Chalmers is a lovely fashion designer who creates a wonderful range of women’s clothing. Her unique designers “inject a bit of the unexpected” by using unusual fabric combinations or incorporating a different design feature – “I enjoy creating clothes that make people look twice, and a sense of playfulness is important too. Fashion should be fun, a little bit cheeky but always flattering”.

Unfortunately Holly's website is a little outdated as she’s missing the range of fish tail skirts incorporating Japanese Kimono fabrics that are just too cute for words! You can see her full range at the Bondi Markets every Sunday. www.hollychalmers.com

Studio Oats is the brainchild of graphic designer Christopher Tcheng who wanted to bring together illustrations and graphics to create contemporary artwork.

His designs are beautiful and delicate so it’s hard to believe a man is responsible for the artwork. You really need to see his work in real life to appreciate the detail. http://www.studiooat.com.au/store/pages.php?pageid=2

After a hard days market shopping we headed over to McMahons Point for a bite to eat. We ended up at Piato Restaurant at 123 Blues Point Road. This hidden gem was the perfect location for an alfresco late-lunch with a lovely little awning protecting us from the rain. We did a bit of celebrity spotting with our waiter being none-other than “Carbo” from Packed to the Rafters (his mum and dad own the restaurant).

The food was lovely with a good range of Tapas and Pasta options for lunch (we had French Onion soup, Dips with woodfired bread and Penne Arrabiata).

I love their unique business cards - 3 different designs using iconic imagery that makes you smile. Each one with the words"live the moment" (so Mediterranean)


Friday, July 24, 2009

Shop til you drop!

If you're wondering what to spend your pay packet on this week I've compiled a hit list of sales and markets to help you out!

Alannah Hill Sale: Now until Sunday 26th July. http://www.missyconfidential.com.au/cms/content/Sydney-designer-sales/ALANNAHHILLMASSIVEDESIGNERSALE1724.php
Minimum 50% off RRP sounds pretty enticing!

Peter Lang Warehouse Clearance: Now until Saturday 25th July
Extra 10% off if you pay cash and quote the missy confidential ad

Trilby Phoenix Sale: Now until Sunday 26th July 24, 2009
Gorgeous jewellery and accessories from international celebrity-favourite brands

The Fabric Store Sale: Saturday 25th July – Saturday 22nd August
Bring out your inner fashion designer with big name dress fabrics 30-50% off (Ksubi, Lisa Ho etc)

Balmain Markets; Every Saturday, The old church on the corner of Darling and Curtis Road, 8.30am to 4pm
Food, bric a brac, pre-loved clothes, homewares etc…,

Kirribilli Market: 4th Saturday of the month. Bradfield Park, cnr Alfred and Burton St, Milsons Point. 8am – 3pm
My favourite market – 200+ stalls!!

Hills Living Markets: Sunday 26th July. Castle Hill Showground.9am – 3pm
Giant garage sale plus arts and crafts

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Coco Avant Chanel

The name alone conjures up images of style and beauty so the chance to discover where this insanely talented designer came from was too good to miss.

“Coco Avant Chanel” is a bio-movie following Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel’s life from a young orphan in provincial France to her beginnings as a couturier in high end Paris.

The casting for this film was flawless with French actress Audrey Tautou (Da Vinci Code, Amélie) playing the adult role of Coco.

My opinion is probably motivated by my inner designer wanting to bust out but I came out of the cinema walking on clouds. The story of Coco’s life leaves you with a sense of love and admiration for a woman who overcame adversity to conquer greatness.

Be warned that the movie is subtitled and you will want to learn French and book a trip to Paris after you walk out!

Movie trailer - http://www.roadshowfilms.com.au/cocoavantchanel/
Viewing times - http://www.google.com.au/movies?hl=en&near=Sydney&dq=coco+avant+chanel&sort=1&mid=47af0c7feabf7bd&ei=qI1nSpyYJsuCkQWUxNn5Ag&sa=X&oi=showtimes&ct=movie-link&cd=1

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Pearls for me, not Parris!!!

Ok, the website is nothing special and the shop front is so-so but the goods are beautiful!

Pearls for Paris is a lovely little business specialising in pearl accessories and jewellery. Sadly they are closing the doors in August but to cheer us up they are offering 50-70% off all the stock in their Seaforth store and 50% off online stock from the 28th July for 2 weeks.

As an extra special bonus if you head into store on the 24, 25 or 27th July and tell "Jo" that I sent you she will honor the discount on these dates before the sale opens to the public.

Shop address is: Suite 1/53 Ethel St, Seaforth

Happy shopping, Kelly

Monday, July 20, 2009

Faux Flowers are not a Faux Pas

I would normally be of the opinion that faux flowers are a faux pas however one designer has completely changed my mind.

French designer, Herve Gambs http://www.hervegambs.com/ is a master of mixing and styling and has created the most sensational range of unique room fragrances, furniture and decorative objects including an array of faux flowers that would do their "real" brother's and sister's proud.

Using delicate materials and making many of his designs by hand, Gambs delivers a range of floral creations that retain their elegant shape and colour without water!

I adore this little leather clip around the stem of the lily

I love the organic shape vessels he uses to house his floral creations

Free standing flowers - no vase!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

To market, to market, to buy...

I’ve had the most delicious weekend of market shopping with many successful purchases.

Manly market yesterday was fantastic. I love when you scout the market stalls and notice a few stall holders the same size as you – it’s a recipe for a good shopping day.

I only parted with $45 and I managed to bag:

Adidas running jacket (prefect for my cold morning jog)
Esprit puffy vest
French Connection black & white strip top
Mustard bubble skirt (fantastic with black stockings and patent leather shoes)
Zoe Wittner red wedge shoes
Crystal earrings
Stripe scarf
Blue jeans
Red coral necklace
Grey & black striped skirt

So the next challenge is to turn these cheap and cheerful pieces into some killer outfits. Inspiration ensues:

Bubble skirt inspiration

Ok, so the puffy vest was about 2 seasons ago, but I still think I can pull something off....

Black and white stripe top, red accents and black bottoms - classic cool

Today we visited the Frenchs Forest Organice markets where we picked up breakfast and the weekly shop of fruit and veg. The market has a lovely community atmosphere and you feel healthier just walking through the stalls! The market also has a number of interesting non-produce stalls including a t-shirt business, “Miartra” run by local artist Rachel Carroll.

Rachel and her sister have put their creative talents to good use by designing and screen printing a number or fun and unique t-shirts. Each t-shirt is made with love and designed to make you smile. An absolute steel at $20 a pop for a hand made design.


Friday, July 17, 2009

Nobody or Somebody?

I love finding ingenious design and Italian furniture company nobody&co. are experts at producing cleaver, functional and completely original pieces.

My favourite is the bibliochaise which I think translates into something like “library chair” – It’s the ultimate ready chair with all of your favourite books within arms reach!


Weekend Markets

I love to hunt around a weekend market. For those of you who share the same idea, then here’s a list of this weeks markets worth visiting:


Rozelle Markets – Every Saturday 9-4pm, Rozelle Public School, Darling St
Rozelle, NSW 2039
This weekly second hand market can be a hit and miss. However, some of my most treasured pieces have come from this market so it’s worth the look and prices are generally more realistic than other markets.

Manly School Markets – 3rd Sat of the month, 8am-4pm, Manly village public school, Cnr of Darley Road and Wentworth St
A smaller version of the old Kirribilli clothes market. Casual stall owners have some good second clothes and you can get great coffee and home made cakes from the coffee guy in the white tent.


Manly Arts & Craft Market – Every Sat & Sun, 10am-5pm, lower end of Sydney Road, adjacent to The Corso.
Good weekly market with lots of talented designers and artists. One of my favourite fashion designers, Sanaz, sells her beautifully crafted outfits at this market – definitely worth a look!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Bargain Basement

Another week another sale! This weeks bargains are brought to you by http://www.missyconfidential.com.au

My pick of the bunch are:

Herringbone End of Season Warehouse Sale: now until Sunday 19th July

Moss and Spy Sample Sale: Fri 17th-Sun 18th July

maplebrown and Gary Bigeni sale: Thurs 16th – Sat 25th July

camilla and marc warehouse sale: Fri 17th – Sat 18th July 16, 2009

Happy shopping!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Form or Function?

Gretha Ooost has blown the age-old argument about form and function out of the water (excuse the pun) with this fantastic invention.

The 321 Water (bottle) has been designed to provide consumers with a green alternative to bottled water.

118,000 plastic drink containers are manufactured each year in Australia and only 35% end up recycled. Water bottles are clogging up landfill sites and their manufacture and transportation is leaving a massive carbon footprint.

The 321 water filter works like a coffee plunger. You simply fill the container up from the tap, put the plunger in and push down until it reaches the bottom of the container. You are then able to drink your filtered water straight away or put the cap on and put it in your bag.

Unlike other filtered water bottles the 321 Water has the filter in the plunger so you can drink your water straight away and do not have to wait for it to filter.

321 Water holds just under 500ml.

All materials are recyclable and parts are replaceable extending the life of the bottle.

It is my understanding that the product is not yet available however I’m waiting for confirmation from the designer.

• 70% of the world is covered by water
• 97% is undrinkable seawater
• 2% is frozen in the ice caps
• Of the 1% that is left we can access less than one third
• Visualise the world’s water. Use it more consciously.



Monday, July 13, 2009

Something to make you go WOW

I’ve always wanted to be an artist. The ability to colour a canvas or quickly sketch an outline that would resemble something more like Degas rather than a stick figure!

Whilst I’ll never be Degas, I can gain immense satisfaction from others artwork and since illustrations are such a hot trend at the moment I thoughts I’d introduce you to UK illustrator Kat Heyes. Kat’s first commissioned piece was for Gucci and many of her illustrations have graced the pages of fashion magazines around the world.
Very inspiring……..


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