As I type this feature today to introduce our lovely designer of the week, Kriksis from Latvia, I take great comfort in the cosiness of Kristine’s creations. The winter chill has just started to set in and this month I’m all about the knits! The Kriksis collection includes beautiful knitted dresses, tops, beanies, cardigans, leg warmers and socks and today I’d like to share a snap shot of the range.
The delightful little set of girls leg warmers that you see above, travelled all the way across the globe from Riga in Latvia to land upon my doorstep. Made from beautifully soft merino wool in ivory and shades of burgundy, they feature an intricate ornamental pattern with room to grow. We paired our set of leg warmers with purple tights and a pink dress and shoes for an eclectic layered look. They fit “80′s style” (i.e. bunchy around the ankles… think Flashdance) on Miss 2 years, and straight up and down on Miss 4.
There’s just something fun about winter accessories for kids. They add an offbeat touch to their outfits, and this particular pair of leg warmers are easy for kids to pull on and off themselves. They provide a bit of extra warmth for winter and heaps of extra character, and are reasonably priced at $21.
The verdict… A little bit of mix-and-match magic
The name “Kriksis” is a nickname that was given to designer Kristine in her childhood and she describes its meaning as “something small and cozy”… which is perfectly appropriate for her label. Kristine started Kriksis when her eldest child was born 7 years ago, but has loved knitted for as long as she can remember. Kristine is now mum to three little ones, who provide her with all kinds of inspiration.
Kristine lists her kids’ personalities as her major source of creative energy. She is mum to son Rudis (7), and daughters Mara (5) and Madara (1). She loves to watch them play and often incorporates their favourite colours into her designs. She is also inspired to create items that will be as comfortable as they are stylish. She likes to work with soft merino wool which is warm in winter and also suitable for the warmer days.
Kristine spends her spare moments working on Kriksis creations, between spending time with her kids. She currently lists her little label as a hobby, but hopes to make it a full time project in the coming months.
Here’s three fun facts about Kristine (in her own words):
I love yarns.
I love knitting.
My passion for fashion isn’t about shoes or bags… it’s all about the knits!
In the Kriksis collection you’ll find knits for newborns, toddlers and children, and a few items for mums as well. Kristine works with both bubbly brights and pastels, with a few ruffles and punchy patterns thrown in as well. You can find Kriksis online at Etsy, or visit Kristine on Facebook for all the latest news.
It’s my absolute pleasure today to introduce you to Stacey from Max & Me Designs. Stacey creates a range of creative artworks made from vintage postage stamps. This week, with the help of my good friend Lily and her three daughters, we review the handcrafted Max & Me Designs Butterfly.
At an immediate glance, the Max & Me Designs are pretty, colourful and modern. However, it’s when you take a closer look that the true magic shines through. The history and adventures that each artwork holds within is really quite awe inspiring.
Vintage stamps that have travelled the world, accompanying letters from friends and family; tales of travel, stories of love, loss, and laughter. It was fun just to sit with this piece and think back over my own personal history of the written letter. Birthday cards from Nana, letters from pen pals, acceptance to university, wedding invitations, birth notices…
The stamps in this piece come from all around the world, with many of them over 50 years old. On the back of the artwork you’ll find a few stories about some of the stamps featured in the piece. Each creation comes mounted on quality, professionally cut Bainbridge mat-board in a colour that highlights the stamps. They’re perfect for keepsakes or special occasions, and are equally appreciated by both little people and grown-ups.
The verdict… Modern designs with a rich, vibrant history.
Stacey launched her label Max & Me Designs in 2012 after the birth of her son, Max. She was dreaming of the perfect piece of art to hang in his nursery when she came across an old stamp album from her childhood. Filled with boats, trains, cars and animals, Stacey thought the stamps would make something extra special for Max and the very first Max & Me Design was born. The original M monogram still takes pride of place in Max’s room.
It’s not hard to guess where Stacey’s inspiration comes from, with her business named after her little guy Max. She explains, “Like any new Mum, Max is my pride and joy. He was also the inspiration for my unique range of postage stamp artwork so Max & Me Designs seemed like the perfect name for my business. Max also makes a wonderful CEO and manages to charm many of my stockists and customers with his super cute smile and dimples”.
Each piece of Max & Me art is handcrafted by Stacey over several days. First she sorts the stamps into colours, and soaks them off their original envelopes. Next, she picks the perfect stamps to arrange in the shape of the design, which is hand cut and attached to a backing board. The end result is a true OOAK creation.
Here’s a few fun facts about Stacey (in her own words):
I adore animals and have had quite a menagerie of pets throughout my life including ducks, mice, fish, cats, rabbits and even a rooster! When I was a child my family were puppy walkers for a beautiful guide dog called Panda, who went to live in Hawaii. I would love to volunteer to look after another guide dog when Max is a bit older.
I love to travel (although that has slowed down a bit since having Max….) and I have lived all over Australia, including Broome, Mt Buller and beautiful Dunk Island in Queensland.
I’m a bit of a reality TV junkie, nothing makes me happier than sitting down on the couch (usually sorting stamps at the same time!) and watching The Block, Masterchef or My Kitchen Rules.
Visit the Max & Me Designs website to view Stacey’s full collection of art, jewellery and accessories. While you’re there, subscribe to the Max & Me Designs mailing list and you’ll receive 10% off your first order, and entry into the Max & Me Designs monthly subscriber-only competitions.
Our designer of the week is May from seal studio (and her partner Leon) and I’m completely enchanted by their whimsical style. Three lovely art prints landed on my doorstep this week, and I promptly put one in a frame for this review, and stashed the other two away so I could delight two of you, our lovely readers, with a giveaway! Read on!
Are you inspired by art? Do beautiful colours jump of the page, dance around your mind and tickle your proverbial fancy?
To say that these seal studio art prints are cheerful would be an understatement akin to saying that dogs love bones, or kids love toys. With a colour palette overflowing with sunshiney citrus, pretty pastels, bubbly blues, and gorgeous greens, it’s hard not to smile when you take a little step inside the magical inspiration behind these prints.
My favourite design is the “Sunny Sunny Side of the Street” because it gives me a little spring in my step when I look at it on my way out the door. I’m also quite partial to the Beatles inspired prints, “Here Comes the Sun” and “Strawberry Fields”… just try to look at one without singing along.
The verdict… cheerful, stylish and a little bit retro.
When I asked May where she got the inspiration to start seal studio, she replied, “After travelling for a whole year, half way round the world, Leon and I came back to Sydney pretty much penniless. Long story short, I have been so inspired by the many places we’ve been and the amazing people we’ve met, I looked back at all the sketches in my travel journal and began illustrating quite madly and passionately in between odd jobs. That was how seal studio was born two years ago. Next in line, we’re looking at producing a pretty stationery + home ware range”… we can’t wait!
The name seal studio is a nod to Leon’s childhood collection of seal softies. May discovered this little collection by accident one day, and has since adopted a few more to add to the collection.
May draws her inspiration from spending time with two special little kids named Finn & Ted. May says, “Kids always say the craziest things and that fired up a lot of my imagination”. She describes her design process as immediate and infinite…
“Some illustrations take minutes to make especially when I see something random and have a complete vision of how my illustration will look. Others seem to take forever to complete, with countless sketches and re-editing on the computer screen. I love my pen and paper, it’s the best way to get the ideas flowing out from page to page.
Besides spending a lot of time researching, I love lying in parks, staring at blue skies, taking photos on the streets (especially the gorgeous townhouses in Surry Hills and Paddington!) and listening to music.
It’s like a ‘dreamy’ getaway. I’m quite old fashion sometimes as I love picking great retro finds at Vinnies and listening to oldies, with a strange mix of indie and pop music (too embarrassing to share with the public).”
Here’s a few fun facts about May (in her own words):
I don’t know if this is a talent but I do laugh and giggle a lot, to the point that some people who don’t really know me that well think I’m crazy.
I don’t think I’m going to give up on the notion that I could be a Jedi someday (would love to move that pen and sketch book from across the room).
I could easily be crowned queen of succulents. I grow the pretty things wherever I can find a spot at home and have made dozens of terrariums to date.
You can find all the seal studio art prints online via Etsy, or visit May and Leon on Facebook.
It’s free poster month at seal studio! Buy one lovely art print, and then leave a note upon check out specifying which free poster you’d like (with similar or less value). Offer valid only with each Etsy transaction. Limited time only (see Etsy store for full details).
Would you like to win a seal studio art print? To enter, simply visit seal studio tell us which art print is your favourite! Please submit your entry through the Rafflecopter widget below. You can also score extra entries into the prize draw by joining us on Facebook or tweeting about the giveaway. Winner announced on 9 May, 2013. Australian entries only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Writing a letter by hand, slipping it into a beautiful kraft envelope, finishing it off with a whimsical label and a stamp and popping in a shiny red mailbox is one of life’s simple pleasures. In a world filled with technology and fast communication, it’s an art that we surely must preserve… introducing, the Love Owls writing set, by An April Idea.
As far back as I can remember, I’ve always found my daily trip to the mailbox to be a magical experience. In my youth, I wrote letters to pen pals in the USA, UK and India. I also loved to send in jokes and colouring competitions to Saturday morning TV shows (Boris’s Breakfast Club anyone?) and scored myself autographed photos of stellar casts such as Family Ties and The Facts of Life. Oh yes, I go way back with pen and paper.
Of course, now that I’m grown-up (aka old) my mailbox is often filled with bills and other such boring matter. To offset this problem, I’m always on the lookout for lovely writing sets to keep my letter writing hobby alive. That’s how I met Jessie from An April Idea, and discovered her beautiful Love Owls writing set.
In each letter set from An April Idea, you’ll find 12 sheets of high quality 115gsm cream writing paper, printed with an original hand drawn illustration or pattern. This particular set features two whimsical owls, in mustard/rose and chocolate/turquoise, paired with 12 thick kraft envelopes and 12 envelope seals, all neatly packaged a kraft wallet.
The owls are perched preciously on the corner of the page, with tons of room for writing, doodling or babbling, and every second sheet is printed with hand drawn dashed lines.
When was the last time you wrote a letter by hand to send to a treasured friend?
The verdict… Whimsical stationery for lovers of the handwritten word.
Jessie launched her label, An April Idea, in 2011 with her business partner Pepe. Pepe has been in the stationery industry for 26 years and had always dreamed of starting his own range. Jessie explains, “When we met in 2010 we started working on An April Idea. It was a dream come true for me to be able to illustrate to my hearts content and work with my favourite medium. Paper!”
As well as her love for stationery, Jessie adores all creatures great, and small. She has two Samoyed ‘fur babies’ and animals feature prominently in her artwork. She is also inspired by random patterns, shapes and colours.
Jessie explains, “The first illustrations I drew were the Moose loves Raccoon. They were drawn for an art show for Uni, which never ended up happening. When the opportunity for designing my own card range came up, I thought about using them, and then the style just sort of developed. I never really sat down and thought about what my style would be or what I wanted it to look like, it just happened. I love things to be beautiful or at least visually pleasing, so I guess I subconsciously aim for that. Something beautiful, something different, something that makes people feel happy.”
I have a degree in Interior Design (as well as Graphic Design). I would love to combine the two one day.
I LOVE reading and am devouring “Her Mother’s Shadow” by Diane Chamberlain at the moment.
I am an animal ADDICT! I would have 100 dogs if my husband would let me! I love bears in particular, which is why I have Samoyeds. They look like baby polar bears!
Jessie’s range includes greeting cards, gift tags, invitations, boxed card sets, lolly bags, prints, bookmarks, notebooks, notepads and writing sets. Visit An April Idea online, via Etsy, or on Facebook.