Monday, July 30, 2012

japan - part one, kyoto

I have just returned from a fantastic trip to Japan.

We spent the first part of our trip in Kyoto before travelling to Tokyo for a few days.  We were fortunate to arrive for the overwhelming spectacle of the Gion Festival float parade, a tradition dating back to 869.  We joined the crush on the streets with what seemed like all of Kyoto and took hundreds of photos of the parade.

But despite the splendour, it was the quieter details that excited me more.  In the background of the modern city these buildings, inscriptions, people and objects spoke of an enduring past.

That's not to say I didn't enjoy the modern city.  Kyoto has great department stores....

Sunday, May 27, 2012

we have a winner!

As promised, Ellen the Dog and Stuart the Cat helped me yesterday with the prize draw for Stuart's RSPCA Million Paws Walk competition.

The draw takes place following two elimination rounds, which reduce the number of entries from 30 to 10.  Everybody received one entry for each $10 they donated (except Mat, who elected not to be part of the competition).

We had a lot of fun making this film, and Ellen and Stuart were mostly very cooperative.

Congratulations to the winner, and thank you very much to all of Ellen's generous sponsors.  You've donated to a great cause!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

win stuart the cat jewellery!

Ellen the Dog is getting ready to participate in her third Million Paws Walk in Canberra on May 20th.  Given she is only four years old, this means she has been doing these walks for three-quarters of her life.  This is like an athlete competing in fifteen Olympic Games! Or sixty New York Marathons!

It's an extraordinary feat, and you're right to be impressed.

It's true she doesn't always look like an elite athlete,

and sometimes her diet is not what a sports nutritionist would recommend,

but when it comes to competing, she gives it her all, and still has the energy for a lovely smile afterwards.

But for Ellen, the thrill of competing is only part of her motivation.  She's also delighted to help the RSPCA raise money through the generous support of her sponsors.  And her old friends will know that each year, in conjunction with Stuart the Cat, she runs a competition where one of her lucky sponsors can win a piece of Stuart the Cat Designs' jewellery.

This year, she has decided that the winner will receive a $100 voucher to be used on any piece (or pieces) of jewellery.

To be eligible, all you need to do is make a tax-deductible donation of $10 or more to Ellen's fundraising page.  You will receive one entry in the draw for every $10.  So if you donate $50, you get five entries.  Easy!

Donations received up to 11:59 on May 25th 2012 will be eligible for the competition.  The prize draw will be conducted on May 26th, and the winner will be notified by email on May 27th.  On this day, Ellen will also post a film of the prize draw on this blog.  It will be a magnificent film.

Thank you in advance for your support of the RSPCA, and good luck!

Terms and Conditions

- All donations of $10 or more received via the fundraising page at will be eligible for entry.
- Sponsors will receive one entry for every full $10 donated.
- The winning entry will be randomly drawn on May 26th, in a draw organised and overseen by Lisa Jose.
- Film of the prize draw will be posted on this blog on May 27th, and the winner will be notified by email.
- Donations that are made anonymously cannot be entered into the prize draw, unless the donor's details are independently provided to Lisa Jose via the Stuart the Cat Designs contact page, or by email stuartcatdesigns at gmail dot com.
- The winning $100 voucher may be used towards purchases from Stuart the Cat's webstore (with free postage within Australia), from markets at which Stuart the Cat has a stall, or direct from Lisa Jose.  It may not be used at any of Stuart the Cat's retail stockists.
- If the winner resides outside Australia, they will be liable for the cost of postage of chosen jewellery.
- This competition is run by Stuart the Cat Designs, not the RSPCA.  Donations are made to the RSPCA via Everyday Hero, and Stuart the Cat Designs does not receive any part of these donations.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

salem inspiration

I have just returned from a wonderful holiday.

Most of our time was spent in New York, but we took a fantastic side trip to Salem, Massachusetts.  I knew something of the history of Salem, but I had no idea what a beautiful place it is.

The towering black houses in parts of the town create a deliciously bleak atmosphere in which it's easy to imagine the terror of witches that gripped many people in the seventeenth century - alongside the fear of accusation born of the hysteria.

Of course, there were no witches, and the grimmest thing about Salem today is the plethora of tacky witch souvenirs and ghost walks.  And the weather.  For most of our stay we were stung by icy drizzle driven by Atlantic winds, but when it cleared it was easy to appreciate the beauty of the town.

If not in the weather, spring was evident in the shooting buds and blossoms.  And when the sun came out, it revealed gorgeous details in the buildings, the trees and the sky.  The shadows, colours, textures, angles, contrasts and harmonies will undoubtedly inspire me as I head back into the jewellery workshop.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

high tea

Yesterday I spent a very pleasant afternoon at Rodney's of Pialligo as part of a high tea that raised funds for the Bal Mandir Children's Home & Kindergarten in Kathmandu, Nepal. 

Despite threats of nasty weather, it ended up being a perfect day to sit under the trees in the beautiful garden at Rodney's and enjoy the stalls, fashion parade and, of course, tea and cakes.

Well, most people enjoyed tea and cakes.  I was left staring slack-jawed as tray after tray of macarons and tiny lemon tarts were carried past my stall.  And even though I tried to look starving and adorable, nobody gave me a tray of cakes.

Shouldn't have been surprised.  That doesn't work for my labrador either.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

colour therapy

Now that my webstore is up and running I've had time to get back into the workshop and make some new jewellery.  And not a moment too soon - Handmade Market is a little over a week away, March 10th-11th at the National Convention Centre in Canberra.

I'll be there both days, so please come and say hello!

As an antidote to the very gloomy weather we're having in Canberra I have been making lots of colourful earrings.  My favourites combine sterling silver with magnificent glass beads, created by Canberra glass artist Harriet Barry.

I confess it hasn't been the most productive time.  Over the past week I must have spent hours playing with the beads: rolling them around in my hands, marvelling at how they catch the light, and simply staring at the way the intense colours leap out.

Each design is unique, so come early if you want to see the whole range!  Hope to see you at the market.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

webstore coming soon

I'm very excited to announce that I am launching the Stuart the Cat webstore next Sunday.

Stay tuned for further details!