Monday, November 28, 2011

Don a Frock and Smash a Machine

Flourish and Blume have been venturing into the hardcore DIY scene, yep, we're screen-printing. We've become regular Luddites - you know those funny fellas from the early 1800's, the original hardcore DIYers who wore frocks and smashed the new (at the time) textile looms that did away with the necessity for their skilled labour? Well I tried to write a whole postgrad thesis on this shit, how the relatively recent romance with 'Handmade' had all those associations with socialist ideology from way back - the rights of workers to meaningful labour, the production of local economies and the survival of craft skills in the face of all consuming technology... Am I boring you? Well imagine the horror of trying to fill in the blanks with another 40 000 words? Hence, no letters after my name.

It does sound Utopian though doesn't it - all that handmade labour, and we've had such a great time making this Home Decor and you know you need another cushion for Christmas!

The flying duck design is based on Katie's Nanna's ducks on our wall (chipped wing and head glued on). It's my own drawing and the best thing about technology is that you only need one drawing then you just shrink it down twice on the photocopier and voila, you have three differently scaled, perfectly replicated flying ducks (no machine smashing today). The design was originally called 'Quick Before They Shoot' but then when I stuffed them with 100% duck feather inserts, I realised the implications of the poor wee things not having made it and wondered what kind of sick mind came up with that. The design is now called 'Pillow Stuffers'.


The pig's head design is called 'Who's Your Dirty Pigman' which goes out to all those women who have to live with one.

Anne Leon has been incredible with her expert tutelage and assistance and we've had so much fun working at her fabulous studio in Byron Bay. Thank you Anne!

Colour-ways are as follows: white ducks or charcoal ducks on natural linen (100% european linens all from Thea and Sami); white or charcoal on sage green linen; charcoal pigman on natural or dusky pink linen. Measurements are 60 x 40cm (give or take a couple of cms) for ducks and 40 x 40cm (same) for pigs. Visit our shop at Down That Little Lane.

Next post we're back to chairs (a cushion or two thrown in perhaps).

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Clunky to Funky

I'm starting with the finished item this time so that if you're inclined to share this on Facebook, you aren't posting an ugly thumbnail of a dead chair... always thinking of your reputation and style kudos.
Yes, it has been a while hasn't it? Well just think of all the amazing things we have to catch up on!

I wasn't totally sold on these Parker Dining chairs, there's a couple of Parker Dining chair styles that I just can't stand but Katie insisted I put my visualisation cap on and see 'the potential'! The potential could easily outdo the purposefully pilling, special-shades-of-green fabric that was covering them.

Absolutely stunning sanded teak.

The backs are finished in 100% Natural European Linen from Thea and Sami and the buttons and seats (super-comfy, webbed) are in 100% eco-wool from Sustainable Living Fabrics, it's our favourite 'Poppy' again! SOLD!!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

DIY your mouldy old chairs

Now here's a project any of you keen DIYers could take on. TV chairs are possibly the easiest of 'retro' chairs to come by, we've found them on the side of the road, in dumpsters, charity shops, donations on our front verandah and on ebay. All that's needed is your elbows  - sleeves pulled up and grease applied (and your expert sewing skills of course). TV chairs are distinguished by their metal frames and shaped foam backs and (usually) beautiful wooden arms. These two belong to Thea and Sami and were looking very sad..

See that mould, well sand paper is its number one enemy and if you start with a 120 grade (80 is too rough and leaves scratches that take longer to sand out) and work your way up to 600 grade, you'll have wooden arms that sing to you when you obsessively and proudly stroke their smooth finish. Most of these chairs from the 60's and 70's have beautiful wood under their tacky varnish (if the varnish is thick, you may have to paintstrip it first), most are teak, Queensland maple or, as in these, Tasmanian blackwood. Finish it off with a couple of coats of Danish Oil. Try to get one with its cushion covers and base cover in tact then you can make a pattern from the pieces.

We've used Thea and Sami's 'Dotty About Roses' and 'Hydrangea' as the main fabric and 'French Stripe' for the borders and feather-filled lumber pads. It's a deep red printed on a beautiful natural linen. That's my restored Chiswell dining table that is now my conveniently extendable cutting table. Just sew, sew, sew...

The moulded foam backs are still available from most foam supply stores and fit perfectly and give lumber support and neck support for when you doze off in front of the telly.
Thea's taken some lovely photos of these and you can see them on her blog here.

Go on, give it a go!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Don Rex Looks Hot in a Kilt

A few weeks back, Flourish and Blume had a jaunt to our favourite seaside spot where our trusty traveling companion lives when she's not on the move. We were on our way to the pub in the dark through the pouring rain and parked in front of a skip that had some interesting legs sticking out the top of it. The next day when the sky cleared...

One rocker and one TV chair, same arms, same construction, one label - Don Rex (the best things in life are free). I inherited a kilt a couple of years ago that is never going to fit me so I'm keeping the rocker and it's going to wear a kilt (one day soon).

A short time after the few weeks back, we dropped that Cintique lounge suite off and detoured off to Bellingen (my first visit, Katie's first visit goes six generations back) and I spotted this vintage ankle length kilt flouncing its pleats at me. In my opinion, the kilt is the perfect object - it seamlessly combines culture, fine craft work and brilliant design.

The chair was truly stripped this time, the piece of old rag that was tied around the front of the frame was a pair of knickers. A very old pair of knickers... for comfort... maybe not such a perfect object.

the process among the pansies...

Don Rex wears a kilt, buckles and all.

We weren't quite ready to leave our new chair when we'd only just finished it, so it took all the boot and one seat in the back and came with us. Now sitting in Reverse Garbage, hanging with the cool stuff, in Taylor Square waiting for a kilt lover.

Sydney Segue

Flourish and Blume thought they'd have a quick trip to Sydney, especially since our favourite traveling companion invited us for the drive - it's just down the road really (on the iPhone map).

Only a little bit of pollution, only a slight nip in the air, everyone on their iPhones and a hell of an adventure for a couple of country chicks with a chair (I'll get to that later, this is the segue). The best bits: -Graffiti, stencils and a bit of needle craft on a wall in Newtown (I'm sure your iPhone will know which wall). No artist credits I'm sorry, if you hear of who did them get them to tag themselves on Facebook on their iPhone.

-How cool are these? Helacool. They are by Helen Proctor, she was selling them too cheap in Newtown in the bit where they have a little market, right near that wall. You can contact her at this email address:

Best of all was the lovely chicks we met up with who offered everything from their beds to their electric blankets - the kind of hospitality that restores a chick's faith in human kindness. We <3 Sydney and the bit just north of it where this house can only go one way...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

First Print Press + 100!!

Hey, Flourish and Blume has 100 followers - thank you for joining us! It means a lot when your blogging-on isn't disappearing into the ether and that we can share our enthusiasm with you. And we also got our first bit of press - Home Beautiful magazine pg 34 (below) and figured out how to use our Facebook page. All practically simultaneously (give or take a week!)

Here we are, featuring the chair covered in Umbrella Prints fabric - Grand Hearts in Kimono Red.
We're sorry about that ugly Facebook button on the right, they went and changed it on us and we don't know how to fix it! Give us another week and we may have sorted it out!
Happy winter/summer solstice, may it be auspicious for you too!

Monday, June 13, 2011

'Sitting is Believing'!

These 1970's Cintique chairs have been sitting on our verandah for the last year at the perfect height for us to be seated and undetected by passersby and pop up like meerkats when a car pulled up. As attached as we were to them, we knew that one day they'd transform and leave our little furniture orphanage we call home.

The poor old girls weren't in great shape, nasty dark stain that had gone patchy and even mouldy in places, holes in the rattan and loose legs.

We were unsure if the sanding would ever be finished and the three seater couch went up and down our stairs so many times according to the weather that we developed manly biceps. After many many hours of electric and hand sanding, we finally had that beautiful bare bones structure.

The polishing we love so much, would you look at that grain. And then the rattan... o lordy, what a job but one must be true to the original.

And then a wee jaunt down the motorway to deliver our babies to our dream clients who even had afternoon tea laid out for us, bless. The cintique looked beautiful in their newly refurbished apartment overlooking the ocean.

Fabric is 100% wool from Sustainable Living Fabrics. Colours: 'olive' and 'azalea'.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Hanging with Thea and Sami

We've just returned from a quick nip up to Brisbane with the highlight of our trip being a visit to Thea and Sami 's studio. We had such fun with Thea, we were throwing bolts of fabric around in an excitable frenzy and making a right mess of her pristine studio. Sorry we didn't help you clean up Thea! She even sneaked a pic of us, tape measure and notebook poses ha ha(we really were measuring though!) Thanks so much for having us Thea, we came away truly inspired.

Here's some more photos of the two chairs from the last post using Thea and Sami's 'Marguerite' print on her Dusky Pink linen. SOLD!!

A close-up of the whitewashed teak and neutral linen piping details.

We've used neutral linen for the back as well and nickel tacks for bling.
Thea's taken some photos of two Don Rex chairs of hers that we've nicked off with. We'll keep you posted on what happens to them! We came away with a pressie too - a 'dotty about roses' tea-towel. Katie's going to do something special with it! Thanks Thea :-)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Fit for a Greek Goddess

We picked these babies up from the Tender Centre and wish now that we'd got the other two. Alas, space has become such an issue (we're expecting the 'Hoarders' TV crew to arrive at any minute) and they were in such poor condition that we knew they would be a big job. Here they are in a processional stage of undress from fully clothed on the front lawn to 1st layer off on the front verandah, then stripped to the bone in the backyard. Wish I could be so bold on a hot day but I don't want to frighten the neighbours.

We wanted to do something a bit different with these and got very excited when we came across the Greek Goddess with the mostest, Thea & Sami, her fabulous linen range and her gorgeous hand screenprints (she's also a supreme blogger, you can visit her blog here). So we went with something very femme, pink actually, and asked Thea if she could do some custom printing on it with her beautiful 'Marguerite' design. It arrived in a blink of an eye.

Here she is getting her first fitting. And below, the final result.

We didn't think the yellow tones of Danish Oil on teak would have blended so well with the pink so we lime-washed the wood and then Danish Oiled it and were very happy with the result. We've used neutral linen for the piping, borders of the cushion and back of the chair and nickel tack detailing for a bit of bling. Stay tuned for more photos to come in Elissa's shop, Evoke.