Migraine Monday

...Which follows Headache Sunday, which follows Not-Feeling-So-Flash Saturday. I didn't have many plans for the weekend, but locking myself in my room with the lights out and the blinds drawn? Not really my idea of a great weekend.

Though I may reconsider if I ever happen to look like this...

Adore this photoshoot for miss unkon - the hazy frames, the sparkly, flowery headpieces...what's not to love?!




It's Friday!

What a week! Each day felt like it was dragging on at the time, but now that I've made it to Friday, I'm not quite sure I even made the slightest dint in my To Do list!

But tough cookies to lists, because if this weather keeps up (yes, still going on about the weather), I'll be found at my nearest beach this weekend. So much for Winter!

I will however make a slice of time to dig out my camera and share my little painting project with you as promised. I'll also endeavour to catch up on everyone's lovely blogs, and finally attempt the colossal task of *cue ominous music* EMAILS! Collective gasp.

Have a wonderful weekend!

xx Kit

[Images via the immensely talented Citrushearts]

Four Seasons, One Skirt

Yep, I'm still going on about the weather. In fact, I can't seem to stop myself! There's something not quite right when it's still the tail end of what should be quite a chilly winter...and I'm planning a weekend trip to the beach. Here in Sydney, the temperature is hovering fairly steadily around the 25°C degree mark with an occasional burst of torrential rain, a little further north in Brisbane it's easily soaring into the 30's, and Melbourne...well, who knows what's going on down there - gale force winds, heat waves, biting cold, rain....all in one day, generally.

Clearly, the weather cannot be relied upon. Which is why this Umbrella Skirt by Cecilia Felli is pure genius. Not that you'd just take off your skirt and put it over your head if it started to pour (I hope), but anyone who can fashion an umbrella into an adorable skirt Project Runway: MacGyver Edition stylee definitely deserves all the kudos going their way.

What really sells it for me is the photos of some serious skirt-swirlin' goings on. I can almost hear the satisfying swish of the former umbrella...and what good is a skirt if you can't swirl around in it...and in the rain no less?!

[via Design Milk]

Wednesday Wisdom - Rain, Hail, Shine

The trouble with weather forecasting
is that it's right too often
for us to ignore it
and wrong too often for us to rely on it.

- Patrick Young

Barometer, n.:
An ingenious instrument
which indicates
what kind of weather we are having.

- Ambrose Bierce (1842 - 1914)

Weather forecast for tonight: dark.
Continued dark overnight,
with widely scattered light by morning.

- George Carlin (1937 - 2008)

Isn't it interesting that the same people
who laugh at science fiction
listen to weather forecasts
and economists?

- Kelvin Throop III

Don't knock the weather.
If it didn't change once in a while,
nine out of ten people
couldn't start a conversation.

- Kin Hubbard (1868 - 1930)

So...how about that weather?

P.S. I've had a fair few queries about whether Emilie's beautiful photography can be purchased. If you'd love some gorgeous Polaroid prints on your wall, please email Emilie directly.

P.P.S. The last photo is my very first real Polaroid! My little Land Camera 1000 is alive and kicking thanks to my teeny little stockpile of Polaroid 600 film. Joy! <3

[Please click on images for original sources.]

Patricia Urquiola - Off the Wall

Even when I'm pretending that I'm still a hard-line steel-and-glass-loving minimalist, I find it ridiculously difficult to deny the allure of layers, patina and texture. After all, I'm a also a Francophile, and the very thought of merely bulldozing the historical heart of Paris and building monolithic high rises to the horizon still makes me shudder. The ability to not only see history, but to feel it and smell it...no amount of glass and steel can match that experience.

[Left: Barcelona - Paseo de Gracia | Right: Franco Guerzoni - Affreschi 1973]

Which is where these tiles come in. Yes, you read that correctly. This post is all about tiles. Patricia Urquiola tiles to be precise. The D├ęchirer range for Mutina to be really, really precise.

The Spanish-born, Milan-based designer extraordinaire has drawn upon Moroccan and Spanish textures to create a patchwork design that just begs to be touched. As Urquiola has also designed for the likes of B&B Italia, Bisazza, Alessi and Kartell, to name but a few, it comes as no surprise that her first foray into the world of ceramics is already a resounding success, winning a Best of NeoCon Silver Award and an Elle Deco International Design Awards (EDIDA) since the product launch earlier this year.

In describing the collection, Urquiola states that the guiding thread is "the reference to the sensations it provides, with patterns that lie in the memory of the past".
I’m very interested in working on large-size formats, such as cement modules and unusual shapes such as hexagons. And I’m also fascinated by the idea of creating an industrial product in which traces of the layers of history are present, a product with a personality. Bas-reliefs of different heights which are not so much decorations as the remains of torn away memories.

In the floor and wall slabs that make up the collection, both plain and decorated elements appear, together with orthogonal and hexagonal shapes and even large sizes. Like traces of previous stratifications, overlapping, contamination, irregular hints of decor and filigree threads run through the surfaces. The slight decors are never evident, but they become clear as light and perspective change.

By referencing the past and using the best of present technology, Urquiola and Mutina have ensured that this range is yet another future Urquiola classic.

Dream On, Monday

There's nothing like some beautifully dreamy photography to transport you to another time and place...especially on a Monday.

A big thank you to the lovely Emilie for letting me share her amazing talents with you. Every now and then I stumble across a photographer who I just can't get enough of, but even then there are generally a few standout images that truly speak to me. After blissfully perusing Emilie's Flickr Stream however, I was tempted to simply share her whole collection! I managed to narrow the field down slightly (but not without duress!)

Happy Monday! What did everyone do on the all-too-short weekend? I did a little painting...and as soon as I find my camera, I'll show you the final result!

Paper Cuts - The Pretty Kind, Not the Hurty Kind!

Back in February I blogged a little roundup of my favourite paper artists, but I somehow managed to leave the astounding work of Peter Callesan off the list. Outrageous! His subject matter varies widely from beautifully crafted Gondry-esque castles to the morbidly fascinating skeletal portraits, all the way through to flora, fauna, romance and fairy tales. So in a belated attempt to redeem myself for the glaring omission, here are a few of my personal favourites from his Framed Papercut collections.

[Alive, But Dead, 2006]

[Detail - Alive, But Dead, 2006]

[Detail - Alive, But Dead, 2006]

[Broken Flowers, 2007]

[Detail - Broken Flowers, 2007]

[Fall, 2006]

[Detail - Fall, 2006]

[The Core of Everything, 2006]

[Detail - The Core of Everything, 2006]

And not one to pass up a good fairy tale reference, there's even an A4 homage to Han Christian Andersen's tale of The Steadfast Tin Soldier, in which the soldier falls in love with a paper ballerina who lives in the paper castle.

[The Impossible Meeting, 2005]

[Detail - The Impossible Meeting, 2005]

It never ceases to amaze me that some stories can be so exquisitely told without a single word being written.

Every Little Bit

I'm a strong believer in the very simple concept that if everyone can make a little difference in their lives, together we can change the world. Outrageously idealist? Perhaps, but as far as I'm concerned, initiating micro-change on a global level is far more realistic than counting on a handful of world leaders to save mankind over tea and biscuits.

So where to start? We all know there are thousands upon thousands of worthy causes out there, but here are three that I think deserve more attention, along with a little help and inspiration from Chris Jordan, an amazing American artist I blogged about a little while ago here. In short, he translates some truly disturbing statistics about our consumerist excesses into frightening, comprehensible 'portraits' of our culture.

On with the list:

1. HopePhones

Chris' 2007 composition Cell Phones depicts the number of cell phones retired in the US every day...426,000!

[Full size image is 60x100"]

[Detail view]

Now just imagine if each and every one of those phones went to someone who truly needed it.

Enter HopePhones.

For every old phone you send to HopePhones, an average of two to three phones will be dispatched to community health workers to assist medical clinics and their often isolated and widespread patient base.

HopePhones estimate that a $10 mobile phone will give 50 families access to emergency medical care, health information, transport services and clinic resources...so by my calculations, if even a quarter of mobile-savvy US peeps donated their old phones to HopePhones, around 15,975,000 families EVERY DAY could be given life-saving medical access.

2. Kiva

In 2006, Chris created Denali Denial, a depiction of the 24,000 GMC Yukon Denali SUV's sold in the US in any six week period of 2004. Now I'm no expert on fuel efficiency, but I'd guess that it wouldn't take too many kilometers/miles less to save, say $25.

[Full size image is 60x75"]

[Detail view]

And coincidentally enough, $25 is all it takes to become a Loaner.

Kiva - loans that change lives

Or a microlender, to be precise. Last year I blogged about a fun little initative utilising Kiva, a peer-to-peer microloan lending site where us everyday people can pledge anywhere from $25 to entrepreneurs in developing countries. And better yet, when the loan is repaid (around 98% of loans are repaid in full!) you can pledge your money to another deserving entrepreneur and change yet another life. Or you can buy more fuel for your SUV...but I know where I'd rather see my money heading!

3. PetRescue

It's not just us two-legged folk who need a helping hand every now and then either! Dog and Cat Collars is Chris' most recent addition to his Running the Numbers series. It represents ten thousand dog and cat collars, equal to the average number of unwanted dogs and cats euthanised in the United States every day.

[Full size image is 60x67"]

[Detail image]

In Australia, roughly 200,000 pets a year are essentially left to die. Sad face.

But without getting into the depressing atrocities of puppy mills and other such distressing industry practices that result in so many abandoned pets, I'd like to focus on what we can do to remedy the end result.

When little Jenny or Jimmy wants a new fluffy friend for Christmas, please don't head to the pet store - there are hundreds of lovable little guys waiting for you at your local shelter. Or better yet, have a looksie on a site like PetRescue that lets you search all shelters in your area, not just the large ones (I for one was ignorant to the fact that there are hundreds of shelters other than the RSPCA!)

And if scruffy little furballs aren't your style, keep in mind that in Australia at least, up to 30% of shelter populations are purebreds! That's not even taking into account 'Designer Dogs' like labradoodles which will actually be listed by their true names (e.g. Poodle Cross.) PetRescue also lists guinea pigs, bunnies and birds, amongst others.

Sadly I don't know of any equivalent American or European websites that allow such a comprehensive search of local shelters, but if you happen to know of any, please share them in the comments section!

(More information on Australian puppy mills is available at Where Do Puppies Come From? - but have a tissue ready!)

Thanks to my landlord however, I am to remain pet free. So I bought a goat. Allow me to introduce my little friend...

Polly is from the Oxfam Unwrapped initiative, where my little donation now means that Ms McGoat is happily playing a key role in the livelihood of a rural community. Not only does she love munching on household scraps, but she'll also provide milk and manure, plus her offspring can be sold to neighbouring communities to do the same.

And every little bit counts.

What do you do to make a difference for the lives of others?