June 1, 2009

Sleeping. Sale. Posters.

Tolka has sadly been hibernating for the last couple of months due to more work and less time for other creative adventures... I'm also preparing for another big move – this time back home to Australia which I'm really excited about! (Only six weeks to go). I say it every time I make a big change in my life but this time I really want to dedicate more time to creating. I'm really going to try. Hard.

So in preparation for my move I'm having a little bit of sale in my etsy shop so I don't have to use up all my carbon credits lugging things half way around the world! Do pop by. Notebooks, cards and tags are 50% off and my bags and baby bibs have also been reduced.

I also wanted to share these amazing screen printed posters with you. If you like music and good design - you going to love everything The Small Stakes have to offer. I bought a few of the posters below – they are really well priced for original screen prints and are printed on really high quality cartridge paper.

March 22, 2009

crafty friends.

I was having 'one of those weeks' when I arrived home to find a little package waiting for me on the stairs from my very good friend Tessa. Not only did she make the very elegant wool felt pouch with extremely neat stitching around the edges, she also made the very beautiful sliver loops that are now hanging around my neck on this perfect necklace! What a great way to end an otherwise pear shaped week. And what a great friend.

Amusing article in The Age this weekend – 'Crafty Buggers'.

March 18, 2009

wednesday night.

After my post about designer Alexander Girard – I got all inspired to take another look at some of my drawings to see if I could simplify them (a-la Girard style) down to very basic shapes. I have found myself more and more avoiding my computer but alas I've been back on illustrator digitising my little babushka friends. However, I did hand draw the leaves on the belly because I feel you just can get that same personlaity with computer...

Last night I had so many ideas I couldn't sleep... if only I had more time. Perhaps more weekend.

March 15, 2009

sunday night.

Last week I attended a design conference here in The Hague and was fortunate enough to hear some great speakers. But, the best part of the conference came for me when Director of House Industries in New York, Rich Roat, spoke about a project they were doing on Alexander Girard. I must have been living under a rock because I had never heard of the this amazing designer who produced textiles for Herman Miller in the 1960's and created a really iconic and beautiful style of illustrations.

House Industries have been creating a series of products (dolls, puzzles, cushions)
based on Girard's style. They're ridiculously expensive but very beautiful! I really love the slightly crazy dolls - such great colours.

Anyway, I really found something that I could connect with in his work and just thought I'd share it with you in case you've been under the same rock as me. Have a good week.

March 11, 2009


So, lately I've been doing lots of drawing and trying not to think so much about why I'm doing it. Sounds strange I know but I've been really enjoying firstly not being on my computer and secondly not being to precious about the final outcomes. I'm hoping something will just spontaneously come together... Anyway, here's some abstract little spindle shapes I've been having fun with.

March 1, 2009


When I was 14 I was desperate to become a photographer and Richard Avedon was my idol. 'Some' years on and I'm still amazed by his work. Lucky for me, last week I got to visit a retrospective exhibition of his work at Foam Gallery in Amsterdam. Although I had seen all the images a hundred times before and there was what seemed to be hundreds of people craning their necks to see the work - I loved it!

While I was wandering around Amsterdam, I also started taking photos, not to resurrect my photography dream but for some illustration inspiration. The wobbly, misshapen buildings are my favourite aspect of the city. It's almost like being in a cartoon where the proportions of the architecture just don't seem right. Slanted door frames, sloping windows and leaning walls. Anyway, here's a little drawing I did from some of the photos. (I won't show you my photos as they really don't cut the mustard next Avedon :)

I'm hoping to do a two colour screen print - this is just a little photoshop mock up of the colours I might use.

February 8, 2009


Some new Babushka drawings from the weekend. I seem to be on a bit on an international theme at the moment... I'm hoping to do few more - all with different head scarves. Do you think they need faces?

To anyone whose has been affected by the bushfires in Australia - I've been thinking of you...

February 1, 2009

what happened to January?

I don't know about anyone else but does it feel like Christmas was only just last week? I've been very unproductive this month...

However, I did take advantage of the shining sun this weekend and headed to Utrecht for the day. Aside from the frozen canals and windmills, I also saw a crazy fashion exhibition by designers Victor and Rolf. Below are some miniature versions of their designs. I was really inspired by how they used clothes as a form of social commentary... a lot of VERY well dressed women swanning around the space!

But my main reason for going to Utrecht was to visit the Dick Bruna Huis, a museum dedicated to the illustrator who created my favourite Dutch rabbit - Miffy! I LOVED it. I must admit it was mostly for kids but it was brilliant to see the orginal drawings and sketches up so close.

Before Miffy, Bruna also designed hundreds of beautiful book covers which were totally inspiring from a graphic design point.

Anyway, I'm hoping for a more productive February! Have a good week.

January 24, 2009


I bought myself a new fineliner this week (0.5 - superfine!) to do some doodles and then I got a little carried away...

Above drawing is based on the Mehndi patterns painted on the hands of brides from South Asia, Southwest Asia and North Africa
. The drawing below is a based on the Dalecarlien horse from Sweden. I love his square shape.

I'm a little bit sick of making cards so I thought perhaps I might make some limited two colour gooco prints to pop in the shop... Any other thoughts would be appreciated! Thanks!

January 21, 2009

house of cards?

Excuse the cheesy title pun. Here's a pic of some cards I just printed using the drawing of houses I mentioned late last year. It's my first attempt at an albeit simple, two colour gocco print. I wanted two versions: one with the circle looking a little like the moon and the other being a sun... I'm still unsure if I like them or not.

January 20, 2009

speaking of packaging.

I don't usually post about graphic design work (because it's work) but since I was on the topic yesterday, I thought I'd show you this fun job I did for my Dad today - he keeps bees as a hobby. His haul of honey has grown to 40kg this year (whoa!) so he wanted a little label for his vegemite jars full of honey that he will give to family and friends. Perhaps I spent too much time on it but it was fun to create something a little bit vintage and simple...

January 19, 2009


I know it's probably not a good way to judge a quality product but sometimes when I'm at the supermarket, faced with a multitude of brands and labels for a single item, I buy the one with the best packaging... is that wrong? Look at this beautiful box of cocoa (or cacao) powder I got today. (It also happened to be the cheapest - bonus.)

January 18, 2009

360 down.

Struggling a bit this January to get back into the swing of things: craft, blogging, exercise, work - the usual. Think it may be because of the chilly winds and grey skies. I've also started a new job which takes more energy than you realise...

In any case, I started chopping up those lovely Amy Butler fat quarters I got for Christmas (thanks Zoƫ!) I'm going to add them to a quilt I started working on last year. Yes, it's taking me a while. Yes, a queen size quilt was a little ambitious!

So far I've sewn about 360 patches together - only another 400 to go! I'm guessing there might be a similar post next January with my progress...

January 2, 2009

London calling.

Happy New Year to you all! I've decided to forgo new year's resolutions this year and just enjoy. I was lucky enough to spend my holiday break taking it easy in both Oxford and London, UK with friends and family. Too much food and copious amounts of wine.

I also managed my little craft tour of London. I must admit my list was ambitiously long and perhaps during the boxing day sales was not the best time to attempt shopping around the city, however, thought you might like some highlights!

Stop 1: Cloth House (47 Berwick Street)
So many colours, so many beautiful trims... I took a while here.

Stop 2:
Marimekko (16 St Christopher's Place)
Finnish textile and fashion label. Outrageously expensive (scraps were around 28 pounds - eep). Strictly for window shopping. Do you think it would be cheaper in Finland?
Gorgeous patterns all the same.

Stop 3: Orla Kiely (31 Monmouth Street)
Wanted to buy everything. Wanted to look like their sales girls. Had no idea how much I really liked her work.

Stop 4 & 5: Borovick Fabrics (16 Berwick Street) and Spitalfields Market
I think I've mentioned it before but I have been itching to try using some leather in various projects. The first place I found was Borovick Fabrics right near Cloth House. I just bought scraps as I figured I would only be needing small amounts. I then went to Spitalfields Market and found out that I had been ripped off and should have bought all of my scrap pieces from there instead! Damn.

Stop 6: Dover Books (18 Earlham Street, Covent Garden)
I've been a little obsessed with old editions of etchings from Dover Books for the past couple of years so felt like I had died and gone to heaven once I found the one and only store that sells a range of their books.

Stop 7: Muji (37 Long Acre Road, Covent Garden)
The obsession continues from Japan. I can't get enough of this store. It's probably a good thing there isn't a shop in The Netherlands or Australia. Such cool stationery, toys, clothes, packaging etc. (No, I didn't buy all of these things - I wish!) Everything is so simple and well designed...

So then I got tired and caught the tube home. Good times.

December 21, 2008

Happy Holidays

I have to just say that it's not even the 25th and I have already been spoiled rotten with so many generous presents sent from some of my favourite people in Australia. Thank you, thank you again!
Clockwise from top left: stack of Amy Butler fat quarters (they're going into my new quilt - yea!), all the lovely patterns, lovely felt Christmas decorations from Australia's Mozi, Blue Mountain tea from T2 (delicious), AND some beautiful notebooks and stationery from O-Check Design Graphics. Definitely check them out!

I'm off to London today for Christmas armed with list of crafty places to visit which I snaffled from an old post on Kirin notebook. Hope you all have a wonderful and safe holidays and I will hopefully have some inspiration to show you from the UK when I return!

December 10, 2008

bibs & tags.

After making a couple of baby bibs for a friend, I thought I would cut out a few extra and post them up in the shop as the combination of gingham and the Japanese prints were so cute. I'm selling them as a set of two - I think they look so nice together it would be a shame to separate them...

I've also updated the shop with some gift tag sets!

December 9, 2008


Amazing. Beautiful. Paper typography by Yula Brodskaya. So talented...

December 8, 2008

picture books.

I spied a few new books today that I might just accidentally order. Potentially also great Christmas presents...

This one: Over & Over - A catalog of hand drawn patterns

And this one: An Awesome Book. (Probably more directed at kids but I really love the illustrations.)