My Creative Space – Sharing a Secret

I’ve been busy working on a secret collaboration that today I can finally share. Hooray!

Last year my lovely blog buddy Susie of Flower Press designed a seriously sweet marble print and made it up into gorgeous treasure bags. The moment I saw those bags ‘marbles’ landed on my girls Christmas lists.

They were a huge hit, easily outrunning other more ‘exciting’ toys in the christmas favorites stakes. Immediately these marbles were named, had stories created around them, and became pretend food for other toys. But it wasn’t long before they wanted to know how to play with them ‘properly’. Ok, I had a rough idea but when you are 5 and 7 rules are paramount. So to avoid excessive use of the ‘simmer down chairs’ I went online for instructions. In all my searching I found … zip, nada, not a sausage! Nothing for teaching the new reader set. They were all too complicated and way too dull – a yawnfest!

After declaring loudly and indignantly that “someone ought to make some decent instructions for kids” I released that maybe that someone ought to be me. So I got busy. As luck would have it my pint-sized judges gave the finished product the big thumbs-up and best of all because of the simple comic format they could teach themselves. Oh happy days!

Luckily when I showed Susie she loved them too and a fun collaboration has been in the works to create entirely handmade Marble Starter Kits for other little monkeys. Today is such an exciting day, because today is our big reveal. We have just listed these in Susies Etsy shop. Yay!  You can read more about them over on the Flower Press Blog. We hope you like them! We certainly had the best fun making them (Thanks Susie, you’re a star!).

Check out lots of lovely creative spaces here.


For Owl Lovers

The school-holiday, school-fete, spring-cleaning whirlwind has finally subsided and just as I’m taking a breath I realize my next project is something for 2013. Yikes!  I was just getting used to 2012!

This one is for Shivani’s Owl Lover’s Calendar. It’s a free downloadable calendar that you can completely customize choosing from an incredible body of work by over 40 international artists. Amongst all that goodness are wonderful submissions by Nathan Jurevicius, Ina Hattenhauer, Christine Pym, Cally Johnson-Isaacs,  Anna See, Flora Chang, Bruno Nunes …
The only problem will be choosing just 12!

As for my submission – I figured with spring in the air love letters from a certain adoring pussycat seemed just the thing.

Cheery Stuff!


Hello! Yes I’m still here – sort of – we are in the thick of pom pom making, kite flying, movie going, cupcake making, scooter riding… holiday madness. Had intended to stay ‘under a rock’ until next Monday when school goes back and life returns to some kind of routine but I have some lovely news to share…

Ink Caravan has been featured in Bron’s shiny new Blog in the Spotlight segment over at Village Voices. The company over there is stellar so I am pretty awe-struck  (thanks so much Bron! ) Hi to any new visitors, lovely to have you drop by!   Ok, see you when the school holiday dust has settled – after a bit of a lull I’ve some new work to share. Yay!

ps. Don’t miss the new linky thing over at Blog in the Spotlight, it should make for a treasure trove of lovely blogs to visit.

A Celebration of Bears

Our ‘big’ girl just turned seven – Wow, where did that time go! Surely it was only yesterday that they let me take home this beautiful fragile little bundle. I remember feeling shocked at how irresponsible that seemed – At the time I had no idea how to look after a new born baby. Not a clue. But you wake up one morning and there she is, gorgeous, getting taller by the minute, sporting shoes almost the same size as your own. Amazing!

She had a ‘Build-a-Bear’ party this year. Maybe it’ll kerb the dramatic sighs we hear everytime we walk past the shop (Here’s hoping!). I have to say, watching seven little girls ‘making’ their own furry friends together is seriously sweet stuff – such natural Mums.  So I’m very glad I added a good dollop of the same into the invitations and the party bags. If there’d been a smidge more time some fabric party hats in sweet vintage florals would have made a pretty fab girly trifecta. Nevermind, there were sprinkles of holepunch confetti in every envelope thanks to my punch-happy assistants. And despite the lack of ‘fancy pants’ hats, the bear shindig was a big success. Everyone went home happy with a new furry buddy, a tummy full of cake and a party bag. Life’s good at seven!

ps.  Interestingly neither of my girls actually chose a bear – we now have a rabbit called Floppy and a Pony called Salt.

Check out lots of lovely creative spaces here

Lovely Randomness

Happy Wednesday! Just popped in to share a few super nice things:

Yesterday lovely Susie from Flower Press posted a Show and Tell interview with me. Thanks so much Susie! I’m totally chuffed to be part of such a brilliant series. If you haven’t heard of Flower Press do pop over, Susie’s gorgeous designs will sweep you off your feet. The Chrysanthemums print above is one of my favs.

This morning I made Poh’s Maple Crunch Muesli. The smell as it was toasting in the oven was beyond heavenly with cinnamon and nutmeg eg. but…. Oh MAAAAAN the taste…! It’s that good!

After breakfast I saw this short narrated by Ira Glass and absolutely loved it – thought you might too.

A Winter Postcard

Winter in Tenterfield is a season of brooding contemplation.
There is a quiet intensity that pervades everything here.
Harsh landscapes and biting winds that take your breath away.
Rolling hills burnt to rust by frost. Deep blue shadows that freeze the far side of every rock.
Campfire flames that greedily lick and blacken each new log.

The perfect place for the mind to wander.

Paintings | The Artist’s Camp,  Tom Roberts | In a Corner on the Macintyre (Thunderbolt in an encounter with police at Paradise Creek),  Tom Roberts | The Heidelberg School artists, particularly Tom Roberts, Arthur Streeton and Frederick McCubbin, have long been some of my favorites. Imagine how utterly chuffed I was when I realized that I had moved into their old Melbourne stomping grounds and that my sense of  déjà vu was completely relevant. It also turns out that one of Captain Thunderbolt‘s favorite haunts was the old Tenterfield racecourse, spitting distance from Dad’s camp. Wonderfully spooky!    

A Lifting of Spirits

Just popping in to say after an exhausting few weeks of near constant ‘nasty-winter-virus’ attack we are going country. Looking forward to seeing my Dad, roasting marshmallows over a campfire and just generally taking a little time out sketching in the winter sun. And very much looking forward to coming home happy and much healthier. See you soon!

ps. Just like everybody else I have succumbed to Instagram. I have to say I do love it’s immediacy and it’s lovely old world feel. The above shot was taken on our last flight out of Hobart. The atmosphere was the most gobsmackingly intense blue that I was convinced no camera could do justice… still, Instagram got pretty close.

Whooo Hooo!

I won the Umbrella Prints 2012 Trimmings Competition – Peoples Choice Award!

I am thrilled to bits! Thank you to everyone that repinned my little book. The competition board was overloaded with fantastic entries – I can’t believe my luck! Thank you to the wonderful Umbrella Prints girls, Amy and Carly for a brilliant competition idea and for a wonderful product that is a pleasure to work with.

Image | ‘Oh How I Love Kites’ by Lauren Porcher  an incredibly talented photographer at the tender age of fifteen. | Image used with kind permission. 


Every illustration project has it’s own journey, I thought I might share a bit about this one…

I’d been wanting to do something with mixed media for a while – something with collage and natural fibres. I’d imagined a handmade book, lovely to hold with a gentle story nestled within its pages. When the Trimmings Comp arrived it was an irresistible opportunity. I’m a huge fan of Carly and Amy’s work. Their fabric is beautifully designed and they have an uncanny ability to choose perfect palettes.

The gorgeous images above gave me an inspiration-fueled start. So by the time my pack arrived all I could see within the clear envelope was a beautiful, somewhat deconstructed kite. And when I saw Rebecca‘s lovely piecing I knew exactly the form it would take. Cutting and assembling all those little pieces was incredibly relaxing (Clever gal that Rebecca! )

When it came to the book design, I decided on a concertina fold because each double page could be read as a mini story and the whole book could still be opened out to reveal an overall connection. I also wanted to play with both sides of the paper, changing an assumption formed on one side by a quick flip to the other.

When it came to the story, the kite was my ending but what I needed was the rest. It turned out the story solution was right under my nose but all my over-thinking made it invisible to me. After an insane week of ‘going no where fast’ I stopped, remembered the importance of simplicity and finally listened to my gut. I focused on the simplest idea and suddenly the little details could breathe.

I learnt a lot on this one – I dabbled in the craft of bookbinding, learnt heaps about glue,  percentages of colour and the power in a shot of neon. I got stuck trying to score and fold watercolor paper that was too thick for a crisp fold and was bailed out by the good advice of a friend. But whatever challenges it brought up I loved every minute of it and would do it again in an instant!

Thank you all for the amazing feedback, I’m more thrilled than you could imagine! Thank you Carly and Amy for such a fun opportunity, truly it’s impossible not to make something lovely with your fabrics. Best of luck to everyone who entered! Please vote for your favourites here.

Images | Kites, Hey Andre! Happy Kids Kites, CubaGallery |  Stitching by a sunny window, Rebecca Sower | All other images, Alisa Coburn | To view larger or for licencing click on image titles. Images are subject to copyright.  

Umbrella Prints Trimmings Comp 2012

Here is my entry for this years Trimmings Competition – a mixed media concertina book using the gorgeous Umbrella Prints trimmings I received from Carly and Amy. Such a fun palette to play with!

My aim was to create a wordless narrative. One side shows eight women working on a sewing project together, and on the reverse their finished project is revealed. All the panels were joined with a core strip of linen which you can see the frayed edge of at the bottom – I decided not to trim it off, it reminds me of the stray cotton reality of a busy sewing workspace. The bottom two pics are my comp pack and a work in progress shot.

I’d love to write some more about it but right now I’d better just get it in. Can’t wait to see all the amazing entries – you can check them out (ETA) and vote for your favorite here.

Holiday Tales

I love the Easter holidays, they force me to get out from behind my desk and into the the sunshine with my little buddies.
I’m not sure who enjoys it more, me or them. Although I have my suspicions.

Our days have been beautiful, crisp, clear and packed with mini adventures.
We’ve discovered Silkie chickens have wild hairdos
It is possible to sneak up on a peacock.
A pony’s nose is lovely and soft in the palm of your hand, but their teeth are not.
And the most beautiful green field in the entire world is in Collingwood.

Hope your Easter break was full of lovely surprises too.