Friday, May 29, 2009

Wonderland in Braddon: Morning Tea

Cuuuute: this weekend...

When: Sunday 31 May 2009, 10am til 12pm
Where: Lonsdale Street, Braddon
What: Morning tea fundraiser for the Cancer Council's "Australia's Biggest Morning Tea", with an "Alice in Wonderland" theme.

The Hive Gallery are doing a kids colouring competition, sponsored by Eckersley's art store on Mort Street.
There will be games and fun for the kids near Little Owl and Hive.
Debacle will have tea, coffee and biscuits out the front, and itrip iskip are doing a display for their fashion designers.
Brindabella Baby (upstairs, look for the signs on the footpath opposite Debacle) will have an organic fair trade chocolate fountain.
Dress up, come down and have some fun for a good cause.

Adorable, count me in!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Handmade Market: Shameless self promotion

So I may have mentioned this earlier, but the Winter Warmer Handmade Market is on this Saturday at Albert Hall featuring the best designers and crafts people in town. I have finished preparations and have had a little fun styling my wares ready for the big day. So may I proudly present Tango & James nest Autumn 2009...

If you are in town, please stop by the market and say hello - I'll be up on the stage inside the hall... can't wait!

Love Nina xxx

Monday, May 18, 2009

Handmade Market: in monochrome

With one week to go until Handmade market, Founder Julie Nichols says the Winter Warmer Market at the Albert Hall marks the third outing for many of the top-of-the-range local and regional designers associated with Handmade, Canberra’s Upmarket.
“I am also pleased to announce 15 new designers will be selling their creations for the first time at Handmade,” Julie says. “With a total of 80 stalls inside and out, there is something for everyone to ward off the winter chill. It may be a gorgeous homespun scarf, a stunning piece of jewellery or some food for the soul.

Here are some more of my favourite finds in monochrome... I'm loving...

1. Tango & James earrings 2. Rockstars and Royalty glamour headwear
3. Elrock Audrey handbag 4. Sinead Buckney bracelet watch
5. Tango & James table lamp and cushions
6. Electric Firefly pendant light 7. Emma Kidston earrings
8. Canvaswall Broadhurst wall art 9. Tango & James Eye test cushion

Don't miss Handmade Market on next Saturday May 23 from 10-4 at Albert Hall. Check out the Handmade Market website for special deals and prizes to win and the blog for more info.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Squishy Love: Soft Sculpture

Here's an exhibition I wont be missing, playful and fun, I have the distinct feeling my kids are going to LOOOOOOOOVE this...

On at the National Gallery of Australia until July 12. Details here... love it!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Doggie style: Million paws walk

5 years ago when my husband and I sought to begin the expansion of coupledome to include a 'fur kid' we were in absolute agreement that we would adopt from the RSPCA shelter. After considering many different and beautiful personalities, sizes, and temperaments - even falling for Georgio the little naked Chinese Crested dog and Bonnie the energetic gigantor Wolfhound, we spotted 'Un-named' #22, she was quiet, with pleading eyes to melt your heart - a Staffy cross (mystery breed) without any history and a guessed age - and oh how we couldn't resist her.
Fast forward to the present, Brindi is the most wonderful, patient, soulful, cuddling, loyal and gentle fur kid I could have ever imagined, a Staffy-cross so brilliant with our children (who arrived later), she is the ideal addition to our lives.

I think we all did well out of that deal, adopting Brindi from the RSPCA meant that she had a full veterinary check, microchipping and desexing, and before they let us adopt, they made sure we were capable and had a safe and secure yard.

So if you're planning to adopt a fur kid, I would urge you to bypass the breeders (hey I'm not into labels anyway!) and check out adopting your new pet from the RSPCA. Not only will you be giving a new home to an animal that really needs you, but through your support you'll be helping the RSPCA to assist many more animals that might not have a chance otherwise.

I'll be supporting the RSPCA on Sunday at the Million Paws walk begining at Stage 88 in Commonwealth Park from 11am. Walkers can enjoy a picturesque 5km walk around the central basin of the lake (approx. 1 hour in duration), which takes in many of Canberra’s icons, including the National Portrait Gallery, the Carillon, wonderful duck ponds, and sculptures.

Check out the webpage for more details about the event including entertainment and competitions.

Brindi and I hope to see you there!
Love Nina x

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

homeMADE local star: homebound

I was watching Chanel Nine's homeMADE program this week full of hope for great success for local Interior Designer (and friend) Tonie Sauers. In the opening episodes Tonie's challenge was to design the living areas of the teams house - in 5 days, but sadly for her things didn't quite fit to plan. As the first designer eliminated from the line-up, Tonie gets her final say in this interview (via

Best part of being on the show?
Meeting all the great people both on and behind the scenes.

Which of your designs was your favourite?
Bronte's bedroom by Richie. He did such a great job!

What was it like working with the other designers?
Great! Interesting to have such a cross section of different talent. Even though I only got to spend one week with them, I learned so much and while the judges were scary I must say they had some pretty good advice too.

Do you regret any of your design decisions?
My choice of lounge of course!

How did you cope with the pressure?
Not very well apparently. I think I became a bit of a scatterbrain with all the mayhem going on around me.

Any bitchiness behind-the-scenes?
I think there was probably more bitchiness on screen. Once we were all back home at the end of the day we kind of put the day behind us. Very professional designers! Everyone gets along fine just now.

Did the deadline impinge on your creativity?
Yes. The deadline meant that I wasn't able to think through decisions like I would have if I'd been given more time but I guess that's not the competition! I definitely would have swapped the couch if I had time.

Do you think you gave it your best shot?
Questionable ... I think I would have done better next week if I'd have had the chance. More experience, less nerves! Oh well, it's not to be!

If you could do it again would you do it differently?
I'd like to say yes but tend to be stubborn and proud so no! But still — if I'd had the time I would have sent the couch back. It was a real mistake. I'd also think twice about the home made art. It didn't go down well with the judges.

Was it what you expected?
No. I really had no idea what I was getting myself into! But it has been such a great experience and what I've really enjoyed is the support I've had from my colleagues ... they are throwing me a party tonight which I'll certainly enjoy.

Who do you think will win?
I don't know — they are all so talented! Whoever wins will get a great kick-start to their own business with $100,000.

Aww... Well done anyway Tonie - and you looked so fabulous on screen too!

Love Nina x

Monday, May 11, 2009

Handmade UPmarket: coming soon

It's time again, with a week and a half to go, the divine quarterly Handmade Market is coming soon. Here's a delicious selection of just some of the fabulous goodies you will find, all handmade by clever people right here in Canberra... I'm loving...

1. Look Mama gift card 2. Handbag by Red Instead
3. Fockspace Design softie 4. Look Mama gift card
5. Fockspace Design softie 6. Melanie Swan Designs wall decor
7. Rockstars And Royalty fascinator 8. Tango & James Cushions
9. Melanie Swan Designs wall decor 10. Look Mama gift card

Not to be missed, Handmade Market is on Saturday May 23 from 10-4 at Albert Hall. Check out the Handmade Market website for more info about great things to win, and special deals from the handmade sellers.

Friday, May 8, 2009

How to: Keep your style with Kids

Written by Barbara Fisher - one of the most stylish mums I know...

I’m an aesthetics person. I like it when things look pretty and ordered and well designed. So you can just imagine that upon discovering I was pregnant, along with the pre-requisite amounts of joy at bringing a new life into the world, there was a certain level of horror. Would I be expected to embrace primary colours? Was it really necessary for a child to have toys? And would I become one of those mothers that carries a teensy weensy Dorothy the Dinosaur backpack around on my shoulder?

Months passed, and in time I realised that I actually wouldn’t have to sacrifice all sense of taste and style to incorporate this new little person into my life. Difficult it would be, yes. Wading through store upon store filled with fluffy bear emblazoned bedding and hot pink and purple frilly lampshades was nearly enough to make me stick hot pins in my eyes. People buy this stuff? They live with it every day? And they think it looks good? Whoa. I decided to soldier on and try and achieve some sort of balance between an attractive, well designed home ... and A CHILD.

The first place I started: the nursery. I really wanted to do something tasteful, but a room that a growing child would find stimulating and happy to be in. Ignoring anything aimed at the babies/children market, I found a beautiful Les Olivades fabric at Arteforge and used it as my inspiration. I gave my wonderful friend {yours truly - Ninaribena} a very loose brief to create a quilt and some cushions (below) and of course she didn’t fail me.

Using the fabric as my colour palette, I painted a striped feature wall and enlisted the help of another creative friend, Erin, to paint a simple tree mural (below) on the opposite wall. A couple of pieces of artwork and some new light fixtures and the effect is girly and feminine without being too brash or overtly childish. Phew, managed to escape without a single primary colour or Pooh Bear in sight.
Not so lucky in the playroom. Yes, one thing I realised quickly: children do need toys. These are purely so Mummy can still shop on the net without being disturbed. In the beginning, I tried to limit the amount of brightly coloured, plastic toys that my daughter had available to her. But you soon come to realise that with presents and hand-me-downs, coupled with the fact that some of these toys are the ones that actually occupy them the longest, attempts to ban them completely are in vain. Hence, your most important friend at this point: STORAGE.
God bless IKEA. On the other hand, damn the gods of IKEA for not deeming Canberra worthy enough to have one. The number of trips I have had back from Sydney, sitting sideways in the backseat, face squished against the window, flat packs piled up to the roof. Sigh. These are the things you do to hide the ugly.

The only way to pretend the ugly stuff doesn’t exist is to hide it away. Simple white storage units, baskets and clear plastic tubs are my weapons of choice. I found the best result was to give my little girl her own dedicated playroom, then everything can (pretty much) be contained to just the one area that looks like a hurricane has passed through, rather than the whole house.
Most of us don’t have the luxury of unlimited space, and my husband and I decided to sacrifice our dining room to make way for the playroom. I was dead against this idea in the very beginning (whilst still under the illusion I could limit the number of toys), as our lounge room flows right onto the playroom and is in full view – so I really didn’t want it to look like some giant toy monster had vomited right next to the place we relax and entertain. Following the same sort of principles I had applied to the nursery, I used the same colour palette we already had working in our lounge room to flow through into the playroom. I tried to choose fun items that don’t necessarily scream CHILD, but that provide a bit of stimulation and fun for a two year old just lookin’ to have a good time.
I bought a cheap old kids table and chairs from the Burley Griffin Antique Centre for $20 and painted it white, recovering the table top in a vintage style Dick & Jane fabric followed by thick plastic (great for Play doh and painting as it just wipes down). In terms of seating for plonking down to watch the telly, I invested in a Cocoon Couture beanbag in understated colours that wouldn’t be too garish when left in the lounge room. However, after several visits to her little friends houses, my little girl became obsessed with those little lounges that fold out. My husband came home with shocking news one day, telling me he had nearly bought her a hot pink Dorothy the Dinosaur version from Big W. Nooooooooo. I did a bit of research and red and white gingham lounge was delivered pronto from online store Sitting Pretty Kids . It sits happily in the corner of the lounge room attracting no attention whatsoever. Ahhh, happy days.
So, my point is that you can do it. You can actually have a child and still maintain a certain level of style within your home. Let’s face it, your house is never going to look like one of those places straight out of a magazine with no sign that a living, breathing child actually exists in that space. But that’s OK. I didn’t go though the excruciating pain of childbirth to have nothing to show for it. I still go ‘aawwww’ when I see one of her teeny little shoes left lying on the floor after she’s gone to bed, and take a minute to marvel in that fact that she’s actually ours. Then, of course, it’s promptly whipped up and put away into it’s little hidey hole, until prying little fingers scatter everything about again the very next day.

Thank you so much Barb, I too enjoy the challenge of designing my home around my kids... and my home doesn't look like it should be in a magazine most of the time either!

Love Nina x