The stores are already displaying Christmas decorations and trying to entice us with the latest offerings. At the store in the National Gallery of Victora, Australia, I spied this beautiful wooden string spool set from the Korean O-check Design Graphics group. I love the compactness, the roughness of the string and the smart scissors to trim your snugly tied package.

Australian national treasure, artist John Olsen, has created a prolific body of work featuring the natural world. I recently saw his blissful 1979 lithograph “Spoonbill and swamp frogs” and marvelled at its lightness and beauty.

For those of us in the southern hemisphere, we are now unpacking our cotton clothing, dusting off our outdoor chairs and blowing the cobwebs from sun umbrellas. My sun umbrella didn’t make it through this year as I left it open on what turned out to be the type of day that a roof gets blown off. My replacement will be a 1960s/1970s style black and white umbrella which brings back memories of growing up and the graphic print of my mum’s swimsuit mirroring the print on this umbrella.


On a recent family holiday to Palm Cove in Queensland, I had dinner in a restaurant that had a gorgeous trio of light fittings. In the partial open air restaurant, the light glowed brightly and the shades gently swayed with an old fashioned fan creating the wind. The gorgeous lightshade was designed by Brit-born, New Zealand habitant David Trubridge.

My mum recently gave me a beautiful bunch of Calla lilies. She said alot of older people don’t like them as it reminds them of death – flowers used for gravestones – I gratefully and lovingly accepted the flower. I placed a single lily in a black and white 1950s vase, that mirrored the shape of the lily, on the top of a shelf at the front door. I love seeing the sun shining through the front door and outlining the lily. It reminded of a gelatin silver photograph that Robert Mapplethorpe took in the 1980s of a single lily. It had the elegance and silhouette of a prima ballerina.

Swiss miss, Nicole Locher, has created a range of delightful yet cheeky accessories including necklaces, rings and tops. Some of her necklaces use images of cute-as-a-button children mixed with petite brass bows, butterflies and baby shoes to accessorise them. Messages range from the risque “Sans Culotte” meaning No Panties, to the cute “Chipie” necklace which means Little Minx. I particularly like her blending of materials and 21stC design with Victoriana imagery.

I seem to have missed out on the evolution/revolution of the Steampunk genre. Steampunk was coined as genre in the late 1980s blending a vision of the future and a revitalisation of Victoriana. What has blossomed from this is some gorgeous artistic expressions including jewellery that uses materials like Swiss watch parts, 1800s buttons and aviator wings. My favourite is the ultimate in a laptop cover: a fully adorned, hand-crafted wooden case with claw feet, encasing a HP laptop.