Sunday, 18 December 2016

'Tis the Season

Christmas is such a special time of the year. When I look around our home it is strewn with wrapping papers, ribbons, paints and our hand made cards and tags as we wrap presents and send off cards to friends and family.  In amongst the chaos of this time of year is the reassuring constancy of family rituals. At Two in a Teacup we have always loved to make our own cards, tags and sometimes wrapping papers and of course make many of our gifts too. Sometimes these are designed and created as part of our Two in a Teacup range but other gifts are ones that have been part of our family traditions for many years. In Tasmania it is the beginning of the raspberry season so we always make pots of fresh raspberry jam for our friends. This tradition dates back to my mother's family who grew their own raspberries and made shelves full of jam ready to be decoratively labelled for gifts. The sweet smelling, bubling saucepan of hot juicy red raspberries heralds Christmas and the summer months to come. We also like to make fresh pots of basil pesto and the little red and green filled jars look so festive together as gifts. This year we have made some traditional gingerbread hearts using a lovely set of three copper hearts from Kiki k. and their recipe.

We know there are many absolutely wonderful gifts that can only be bought in stores but we still believe there is something truly special about a present that has been lovingly handmade. What do you make at Christmas to share with family and friends?

Thursday, 24 November 2016


 Although we had lots of plans for 2016 it has been one of those years where things change or don't quite go to plan. So now, as this year draws to a close, my mind is beginning to re-think what we wish to focus on in 2017.

Some of the ideas we had hoped to develop this year we will roll over to next year but we feel that the coming year may be a good time to start exploring and making small artworks along side some of our stationery products.

Holidays are always such a great time to think deeply about what we hope to achieve in the new year - so along with us, we hope you also have a chance to plan some exciting new ventures or to rekindle some lovely old ones.

On my last post I shared one of the sketches that I have been working on for a small publication focused on a particular part of the Tasmanian Landscape. These images (designed by Gill Ward, the graphic designer who is working on the project) show how she is combining my drawings with old maps and plant specimens. They are draft images at this stage, but it is exciting to see how she has interwoven the drawings with other visual elements to emphasis the connectedness and interwoven nature of the landscape and its history.

November seems to have raced by this year but we have managed to put some Christmas inspired gift cards on our Big Cartel shop site and the 'string of hearts' garlands always look lovely adorning rooms or the mantelpiece at this festive time of year.

Saturday, 15 October 2016



Drawing is something I have always loved doing but it is a very long time since I have put my mind to anything more than sketches in my holiday journal. Recently though, I have been asked to do some drawings for a small book that is focusing on the connections between plants, animals and humans in the Tasmanian landscape both in the past, present and future.  

I went into panic mode first and decided I couldn't possibly do drawings that would be good enough, then I decided that I had nothing to lose and that it would be a great opportunity to enjoy the drawing process and face my fears! 

This drawing is not complete yet as I need to build up the plant a little more and put some more shadow into the middle of the hands but it is a start. It is about the future and how we can make a positive impact on the future of our land.  

So, I will keep going with the drawings and try to surpress my doubts. I have never drawn quolls, Tasmanian devils or the rare black tipped spider orchid before but I am really enjoying the challenge. Will post a couple more drawings in the next post. Until then I hope you are all enjoying the change of season and are gearing up for the wonders of Christmas to come.

Saturday, 27 August 2016


        1.    a structure or place made or chosen by a bird for laying eggs and sheltering its young.
        2.   Something in the form of a bowl or layer, used to hold, protect, or support something
        1.    (of a bird or other animal) use or build a nest.
        2.   fit (an object or objects) inside a larger one.

We have just completed a commission for a lovely woman I met a year ago at a painting workshop on the mainland.  It has been so heartwarming to make this nest with vines from Bruny Island, feathers from Devonport, twigs from near the Botanical Gardens in Hobart and dried watsonia flowers, moss and ferns from my own garden.

As in the dictionary definition, she plans to place some personal treasures in this nest.

Nests speak to us because they symbolise the things we all cherish - home, security and family.

Friday, 8 July 2016


You are probably aware that the Two in a Teacup studio has been busily making 270 small notebooks over the last few weeks for a charity that helps provide accommodation to families who have sick children in hospital - The Ronald McDonald House. We have loved the opportunity to contribute to their annual Charity Ball with our notebooks.

Being stationery addicts has inspired us to develop our range of notebooks further, so we have some new ideas underway that will make their way to our online shop soon. We are playing with ways of using maps and transparencies with images printed onto them and are refining our leather notepads too.

It is hard to imagine life without a trusty little notepad in our pocket or bag. Along with making variations of our very practical little notebooks, we also hope to experiment with some one-off journals/notebooks too, so we will keep you posted with our new ideas. Our current range of pocket notebooks are now available at our online store through the link on this blog or the link on our instagram site.

Saturday, 4 June 2016

St David's Park and my camera

On a recent walk through St Davids Park in Hobart I was struck by the subtle beauty of the old gravestones that have been preserved in a commemorative wall and just had to take some photographs. It is amazing how a camera lens can shape our vision - from the big picture to a focused, close up and often cropped image.

Remnants of words carved into the stone, soft greys and gold of sandstone, the colours of lichen and the poignant sense of past lives.

These crumbling stones are a tangible reminder of some of Hobart's earliest settlers and somehow their weathered nature makes them even more mysterious and wonderful.

I always have a small sketch book in my handbag and of course my iPhone to capture ideas but I really enjoyed walking with my camera this time.

Friday, 25 March 2016


In the southern hemisphere Easter is accompanied by the changing colours of Autumn leaves and gentle warm breezes as the days shorten and we say goodbye to hot Summer weather and brace ourselves for the Winter months.

It is a time for special family moments, baking, easter egg hunts, hope and opptimism. In the Two and a Teacup studio we have been making lots of nests and our special eggs covered in vintage maps, book papers and old sheet music for the last six weeks. Traditionally, since my children were very young, we have dyed hard boiled eggs using onion skins, herbs and ferns from the garden. The joy when the eggs were unwrapped to reveal the shape of the flower or herb is a very special memory.

There are so many different ways that eggs can be dyed and decorated so here are just a few suggestions to try.

The traditional dying technique uses brown and red onion skins wrapped tightly around a fern frond, flower or herb held against the egg and boiled gently in a 'bath' of onion skins. This process creates rich, earthy coloured eggs which can be finished off by gently rubbing with oil to give a slight sheen. These eggs are perfect for a natural Easter style and look superb nestled amongst autumn leaves, decorated with a tiny feather tied around the egg or placed in a handmade nest amongst twigs and moss.
Other natural dyes can be made using beetroot or, to turn the eggs a lovely shade of blue, red cabbage with white vinegar can be used. See this month's Country Style magazine for further details.

It is also rather lovely to simply paint eggs with gold, silver and bronze paint for stunning 'lustred' eggs. Writing Easter messages onto the eggs surface also looks fantastic.

Children love to use wax crayons to draw patterns onto the hard boiled egg surface which can then be soaked in edicole dye or store bought easter egg dyes. The wax dye resist effect is quite magical for children and looks fabulous when dry.

These three eggs were painted by children using colours brushed on first and then decorated with gold paint using a small brush for finer detail over the top.

We hope you have a very special Easter - Joyeuses Pâques.

Saturday, 27 February 2016

Eggs and Nests

We have been making nests and our vintage paper covered eggs for some time now and we are forever heartened that they are still one of our most popular handmade products.

The aged patina of the papers and maps combined with the simple and beautiful egg shape is a constant joy to work with and moulding and shaping the foraged vines into nests continues to fascinate us.  Both processes are quite meditative. We love the way each nest takes it's own shape and with the addition of feathers, moss, fern fronds, twigs and berries each nest is quite unique.

Our eggs and nests are currently available at Gather Handmade in Hobart and The Black Hen in Deloraine and the eggs are also available on our Bigcartel store.

Thursday, 18 February 2016


My daughter and I are part bowerbirds and part serious collectors so we are writing some posts throughout the coming year about collections - ours and those belonging to others. The first 'collection' post starts with the letter 'S


Who doesn't love an old suitcase? Such wonderful recepticles in which to store all manner of things in an easily transportable and stackable way! Each case full of memories and stories - the holder of our secrets.

We love the way suitcases open up a new world when the lid is opened. After a quick search on google and pinterest we found so many wonderful creative ways that artists have used suitcases in their work. The next photographs are just two extraordinary examples of suitcase art.

In the photo series "Memory Suitcases' by Israeli artist Yuval Yairi, she has painted images of faraway places onto old suitcases. Yairi has then placed the painted suitcases in different landscape settings and photographed them.

I have always loved the cover of this beautiful novel with the richly painted suitcase ready to travel. 

So many ideas to think about! Imagine finding some old suitcases at the secondhand store and transforming them using mixed media like paint, old maps, stamps, letters and photographs. It would be wonderful to create a 'small world' inside a suitcase for a child to play with and explore - a tiny dolls house or perhaps one side could be a room and the other a secret garden. You could make a suitcase into a large book that folds out when the case is open or divide it into sections to store tiny treasures or collections. We will be on the lookout over the next few weeks to find a small case that we can transform into a unique art work.  In the meantime our own collection of favourite suitcases continues to bring us joy as something beautiful to look at as well a being a wonderful storage solution!

Saturday, 16 January 2016

A New Year Ahead

Adopt the pace of Nature
Her secret is patience
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

With the excitement and pace of Christmas now behind us it is time to contemplate a new year and the promise that it brings. Like many, holidays allow us the time and space to re-assess and re-invent aspects of our lives. For our family, it is the time when we are away on holiday, away from our everyday lives, that we seem to have the time to think about new directions. 
This quote always reminds me to slow down and go for walks in the bush and the local parks, beachcomb and collect small treasures from nature - be present and notice the beauty around us.

We have just returned from our annual stay at the beautiful Bay of Fires and have loved being able to stroll on the beaches and stare out to sea and the horizon. It is also a time when our creative juices fire up. 
Two in a Teacup has a few new ideas underway for the coming year which we look forward to sharing with you in the coming months. We hope 2016 is a year full of promise for everyone.