Friday, August 31, 2012


Since we started our Melbourne based cards back in 2009 a few new stations have opened up in Melbourne. Obviously their first priority when naming these stations was thinking long and hard about if it could work on an Able and Game card. Luckily the think-tank that decided on Coolaroo had us in mind.

The card is available on Etsy, perfect when you want to congratulate someone for being pretty darn cool.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Round the studio

The other week I realised we had almost been in our new studio for a long as we were in the old one at the East Brunswick Club. That seems like an eternity ago and I have forgotten the 4 flights of stairs like woman forgets childbirth (or so I'm told).

Our studio isn't one that you will see on Pinterest, it is a total hodgepodge with a maze like layout. Slowly but surely we are putting our stamp on it and one day I think it will be a space we are both happy with, but probably still not worthy of pinning. The space was an old school so there are no white painted floorboards, just cheap hard working lino from the late '60s.

I have a pink ass and a yellow ass. From Call Me Ishmael, these little guys add a little bit of class to a wobbly Ikea Billy that holds a selection of things purchased for market displays that we don't use much but can't throw out. The yellow donkey looks like he has something from The Thing coming out of him.

Speaking of The Thing, Gareth loves this movie. He even got the book based on the film. It isn't often you hear that sentence. If you're a big fan of the film you might also like this card Gareth came up with. It seems only a small select few get it but that's okay because these customers make us very happy.

I recently made a second sign for paper sizes to stick up in my office. Like staplers, you can never have too many. This one on the bottom left includes inches and half sizes for each paper size. Coupled with the transform tool in Illustrator, nothing should ever be out of place again.

Gareth has a bunch of art he has been collecting that sits behind his computer. He often buys art at markets and also online and I know Emma Kidd from Benconservato is one of his favourites.

Gareth cut this out of an old wall planner as he wanted to keep the drawing. It is from back when we had the home studio in McKinnon and used to sit on the mantle. Gareth also has a charming photo of me sitting just in front of the mantle with the same red hoodie, folding cards in what I am assuming is winter because I look like a hunchback as there is a scarf on under the hoodie.

Here is Gareth on the phone wheeling and dealing with someone, trying to get the best price on bubblewrap.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Old Sketchbook

These are a few little sketches I found in an old sketchbook I was flipping through. They are from around the time I started my first little creative business. I thought the little vampy drawing had become a felt brooch that was one of the first items I sold, but I got him confused with this little guy.

I think the Katie Katie Katie came from a holiday on the boat and a whole bunch of old New Idea/Woman's Day magazines to draw inspiration from. When drawing from this style of magazine it is always best to use cheap supermarket texta colours.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

TV stuff

Do you ever get obsessed with your favourite TV shows you end up buying things related to them? That Liz Lemon Lemon keyring is pretty funny, but the Better Call Saul t-shirt (I keep saying It's All Good Man because it sounds like his name) takes the cake for me.

On the subject of Saul, one of the pod casts we listened to on the US road trip was called Comedy Bang Bang (Episode 159) and had him as a guest along with Alison Brie (Trudy from Mad Men). It was kind of weird because it isn't often you hear people playing a character from a TV show in a totally different place. I almost wondered if he was allowed to do it, did he have a written note from Vince Gilligan?

The guy who plays Saul, Bob Odenkirk was also on episode 287 of WTF with Marc Maron along with David Cross (Tobias Funke from Arrested Development) talking about the early days of how they met, working as a television comedy writer and questioning why they keep remaking stuff in Hollywood rather than create new things. This one was really interesting just for the little insights into behind the scenes TV stuff. As you can tell we watch a fair bit.

1. The Walking Dead - Where's Carl Mug
2. 30Rock - Liz Lemon Lemon Keychain
3. Man Men - Tarot Postcards
4. Breaking Bad - Better Call Saul T-Shirt

Monday, August 27, 2012

Father's Day This Sunday

This isn't the first time I've posted this picture of me and my Dad circa 1980 for Father's Day (which is this Sunday coming up) but it is my favourite so I keep going back to it. The thing that now scares me is he is younger than I am now.

The card I'll be giving my Dad this year is the Things I Almost Got You Just For Being My Dad because that whole pen thing pretty much describes my Dad's big struggle in the '90s. Kids stealing his Green Pentel Rollerball Pen. I'm going to hazard a guess that 90% of the time it was me that stole the pen.

This Sunday the only thing that will please Dad will be Collingwood winning the night before against Essendon, but if they do decide to lose for the third week in a row then I hope this card might cheer him up a little. Hopefully he looks over the fact that the '79 Grand Final resulted in Collingwood losing to Carlton.

Friday, August 24, 2012


Just over a year ago we were on the Design Files as a guest blogger. I had great fun drawing five themes for our trials and triumphs of modern life and it is nice to look back on them a year later.

Do you ever dream about running off to an Island? Maybe you could stay here?

I wish I got these knitted socks a few months ago.

Have you been baking more just to turn the oven on and warm up the kitchen? After my mandarin cake experiment maybe it is time to switch to grapefruit?

We may be doing a 2013 swimsuit calendar (sneak peek in the picture above). This may have been a bit of inspiration.

I got this Ryan Gosling Tea Towel by Dear Colleen as a gift for a friend. I hope she likes it.

Rohan from the blog Whole Larder Love has a book coming out very soon.

This is a nice post about dating your partner. Gareth and I celebrated 10 years together a few months back so doing things like this is always important. Plus the food looks amazing.

Gareth and I watched this cat video the other night. Costa Rican cats look like FUN.

Thursday, August 23, 2012


We had a bunch of requests over the years for cards to give someone when you want them to be your bridesmaid. Ugly dresses is one thing that sticks in my mind when I think of bridesmaids and my memory always goes back to a wedding I saw in the early '90s featuring bottle green taffeta with big giant sleeves. A quick google search yields some humorous results and I even found a pinterest album dedicated to them.

If you're getting married and want to give this card to your possible bridesmaids you can buy it on Etsy, along with lovely bridesmaid dresses.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Back in summer I heard an ad on RRR for the Thornbury Theatre and they mentioned an upcoming event and my ears pricked up. Melbourne City Wrestling. I decided this could be fun and would definitely be interesting so Gareth and I took a sideways bus from Brunswick over to Thornbury to check it out. When I walked in and saw the ring (we got there a bit late and things had got underway) I think I had to take a moment to take in how awestruck I was. The combination of something over the top that I'd only seen on the television right here in a local grassroots format had me standing there mouth gaped like OMG cat.

A confession I need to make, at 14 I used to tape the WWE on Sunday and my little teenage country mind was blown by the whole thing. The totally over the top spectacle appealed to me as it seemed a world away from my tiny life in East Gippsland. Then something happened and I lost interest and for that travesty I'm going to blame The Smiths, The Cure and The Voilent Femmes.

16 years later I was reminded of my love for it as a kid, a love it turns out Gareth also shares. It was one of the best date nights we've been on in a while although they are not that hard to top with food/drink/TV our usual perfect night. We've been a couple of times since with friends and had just as much fun so it wasn't just the magic of that first hot summer night sinking pints of Coopers Sparkling and winning 'tweet of the night' that made it appealing.

Such an impact it made, we decided to make a wrestling card a few months back in honour of the night. The dude is a bit of a big deal (obviously), perfect for anyone who is champion of you world. He is available on Etsy.

Monday, August 20, 2012

I would rather look at pictures of your horse please

How good is this card by Nicola Rowlands? I wonder if the situation is real and whoever has the guinea pigs saw the card and left a passive aggressive comment on Nicola's facebook page.

You might know of Nicola's work already from her Pocket People that were recently features on the Pikaland's blog last week. Speaking of blogs, Nicola also has one that is interesting and arty, the perfect combo.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Etsy Cats

1. Cute temporary tattoos from Harriet Gray. The UK based seller has seven kitty designs to choose from plus a whole range of illustrated goodness. This cushion is a particular favourite.

2. Mike Estes makes these Sky Scratcher in Portland Oregon. You can get one, then film your cat pretending to be godzilla and see it go viral on the interwebs!

3. This screenprinted bag by Tshirt 99 is not the only cat related item they sell. They have another 22 different cat items plus other giant sized animals.

4. They might look like something from a 1950s science fiction film, but I am sure cats would love them. These cat caves by Vaivanat look a million times better than the box with an old towel we used to use growing up.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Mandarin cake

When I was at the trade show a few weeks ago I got super organised and packed a lunch for the first two days. I made some awesome salads and packed into a brown Tupperware container from the '70s or '80s that I found in a Daylesford opshop for $2. I also took some mandarins that ended up being really tasty, sweet but also a bit tart. I decided that a good mandarin is one of the best things in the whole world.

The following week I became obsessed with the idea of a mandarin cake. I had a look online but most of the recipes were adapted versions of a flourless orange cake (you know the one where you boil the whole orange and mix it with almond meal and egg) and I wanted something lighter. I decided to adapt a cupcake recipe I've used a bunch of times and add the juice and some grated rind to the mix, hoping it would all turn out okay. Instead of just juicing the mandarins, I peeled them and boiled them up to create a super juice that would be much more concentrate.

After 30 minutes of faffing about I discovered the juice was really bitter, probably from the pips, but I figured this would still be okay because it would work well with the sweetness from the sugar. I used the 3/4 of a cup of juice as a milk substitute but ended up reading the recipe wrong and adding more milk as well (thinking I needed 1 1/2 cups of milk when in actual fact it was only 1/2 a cup of milk). Oops!

After 15 minutes in the oven they looked perfect, they were all uniform and had risen into the little light lovelies I had envisaged, then I took them out of the oven and they sank like a wet football oval built over landfill. I've baked a lot of cakes in my time and I had never seen this happen so spectacularly. Lucky I had planned to top them with a cream cheese icing and this did a fine job of hiding the sunken shame (I'm wondering if this is why icing was invented in the first place?).

Overall verdict however was good, they were dense and yum but it wasn't the mandarin punch to the mouth I was after and while they seemed very citrusy they didn't have a distinct mandarin flavour. I might try again and but this time get the recipe correct and just juice the mandarins rather than boil the segments down. If anyone has a recipe for a mandarin cake that they have made let me know, I would love to try it.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Cake and guitar

I'm not sure if you have ever seen someone air guitar a cake while lighting it but I can safely say I have never seen this in my life. I am sure it would be funny and you could make all those guitar noises you practiced while playing Guitar Hero. You might end up with burnt fingers, cake on your trousers and a bunch of people looking at your like you're a bit of an oddbod but at least you will be doing something nobody does very often. I was going to say nobody has ever done this, but the world is big and full of lots of oddbods so I'm sure somewhere at some stage of the world spinning around this may have happened. If you have done this and have pictures please email them to us.

The card is available on Etsy for all you oddbods who like cake and guitar.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Dishes and dancing

Here is another of our new tea towel designs. This one is based on a few of our choreographed range of cards. I had fun coming up with some dance moves for our five dishwashers but I think the Peter Allen style dancer in the top left is my favourite.

The towel comes in a lovely happy shade of orange to cheer you up when you do a job that often causes the most arguments between housemates. Did you ever have that dishwashing standoff where it didn't matter if the dishes where turning weird shades, if it wasn't your turn you were not doing them. Only to discover it was actually your turn all along?

The tea towel is available in our Etsy shop and could be perfect as a gift for your old housemates to say sorry for all the times you made them wash up instead of you.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Oh Pete

Image Credit: Mr Porter

Did you see the pictures Vincent Kartheiser did for Mr. Porter? I love seeing people from television look a bit different to the characters they play and there is no way Trudy would let Pete Campbell get a moustache like that. Not at least until 1980 when she is formally introduced to one Magnum PI.

Pete has been one of my favourite characters on Mad Men from the very start. I know most people don't like him very much, but that unashamed ambition is something that is always interesting to watch. One of my favourite Pete lines (and I won't give too much away) is when he quickly jumps in to correct someone for saying congratulations to an engagement announcement, telling them you say best wishes not congratulations. I am certain that in 2012 Pete would be an internet troll, leaving contentious comments on news websites.

You can view the rest of the very stylish pictures over at the Mr Porter journal here.

Friday, August 10, 2012


Turn your wall into an Atlas.

We got a into the new HBO show Veep. If you can watch it you should.

This weekend I think I'm going to make a mandarin cake. I found a few recipes but I think I might experiment.

Yellow handbag.

My friend Kirsteene sent me this. These cartoons are very good, this is a particular favourite. It is also littered with cat cartoons.

The Finders Keepers blog has a new Five Favourite feature.

Melbourne food blogs are getting more prevalent. This one is a favourite.

What are you thoughts on Pinterest? Are you addicted? We have one but I don't really get it and often get sensory overload where all the pretty stuff starts to look the same and my brain hurts. I also have a few frustrations with nothing being correctly sourced and the trip down the Tumblr hole you end up going on to find out who create whatever it is you're looking at. This interesting article talks about how it is the worst social networking site on the internet. I don't think it is the worst but I still don't quite get it.

The image above was taken on our recent trip. I think Moreland Council should do one for Brunswick.

Thursday, August 9, 2012


How awesome is this dude? I don't know if I love his mullet or his moustache more, it's a hard one to decide. A few people have said that man reminds them of Napoleon Dynamite's brother, but I always had that guy from Ghost World in mind after I drew him (beware swears in that vid!). Also, on the subject of mullets, have you seen the mullet on Ivan Maric, who plays in the AFL for Richmond. That thing is amazing.

Our new Dadtastic cards is up in the Etsy shop and Father's Day in Australia is less than a month away so time to start thinking about things to get your Dad. If he goes for the Richmond Tigers, then a signed poster of Ivan Maric might be a good idea.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Things I almost got you just for being my Dad

Things about this card:

1. The Poopy Putter is a REAL THING. We have one in our office, my brother got it for a gag Christmas present and left without taking it, so I took it to give back to him.

2. My Dad used to get real agro if anyone took his GOOD PEN FROM THE OFFICE. He didn't like anyone taking them. We, as a family took them often.

3. There are a lot of comedians called Bill. I could have also gone for Bill Hicks, Bill Maher or Billy Crystal.

4. My father would not want the 1979 football annual because the VFL Grand Final was between Collingwood and Carlton and Carlton won by 5 points. According to wikipedia, the film director Kevin Smith was one of the umpires

5. This card is available on Etsy.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Were you a bit of a daredevil as a kid? I was a bit of a thrill seeker and made some bike jumps around the winter of 1990. They consisted of a thin plank of wood and as many bricks as I felt necessary to get three feet of air time. I think I rode over one very high one and the plank of wood just snapped in half resulting in some serious pain.

The jump in our new tea towel looks a lot more sophisticated and the dude is getting way clear of those goon boxes. His friends are suitably unimpressed, as they should be. The new towel is up on Etsy and comes in a very nice shade of blue.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Trade Show

We have just packed up and left the showgrounds, finishing another Life Instyle trade show. It's hard to believe it was three years ago when we first took part in the event.

This year we displayed the cards on wooden A-frames that my Dad built for me. It was a wee bit stressful as I sent him some specs but wasn't there to check they were all okay and I didn't want him spending hours on a project that would end up not being used. Lucky they turned out great and Gareth and I got to do a little bonding DIY project to finish them off by screwing in some wingnuts to make them all sturdy. I'll probably get some perspex cut to cover each shelf so we can get some more use out of them for markets displays.

The show, although long is a really good chance to talk to our shops who stock our cards and also to meet up with new shops interested in stocking our range. We have some really fantastic new shops coming on board including our first in the Northern Territory. I chatted to the lovely ladies about making some crocodile cards after a friend came back from living up north and proclaimed crocodiles 'the cats of Darwin'.


Sitting at the trade show for 9 hours each day means you get time to have a good look at what your neighbours have on offer. We had some really fun and interesting designers nearby who made a real variety of interesting products.

Mozi was just over from us and their new Spring Summer collection is amazing. It hasn't been released online yet (so no pics) but if you need a Mozi fix they have a 50% off sale on previous collections.

Bonnie and Neil were on the Design Files recently (December last year is recently in my mind....?) and I thought their story sounded a little like ours. They live in Brunswick, the run a business together and Neil comes from Scotland. Bonnie and Neil are both super lovely and make amazing home wares. That cocky cushion is pretty much ticking all my boxes.

Nicole from Hot Toffee was next door and I've seen her bright glass jewellery around for a while at various markets. The colours are amazing, loads of bright primary colours and beautiful in between shades. I got a pair of these turquoise studs and I don't even have my ears pierced.

If you're getting married or going to the races this year then you need to get over to Julie Fleming's website. She makes stunning headpieces, offers millinery classes and has a shop in Hawksburn. This blue headband also came in a magenta and bright yellow.

Alex from Rubiteva was my neighbour on the other side of our stand and she designed colourful jewellery. The Green Kimono necklace above is one example of the pops of colour that work well, especially when you find yourself wearing the all black Melbourne uniform.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Babies want to dance

We have added to our ever growing I've Choreographed a card range so that it now includes a baby card. Now the possibilities are endless, we can turn everything into a dance related card. Seeing babies dance is a bit creepy and reminds me of that show I never watched called Ally McBeal. I think I didn't watch it because of that computer animated creepout. This baby is a lot more civilised and is hopefully scaring nobody. The card is available on Etsy and hopes you award it the full 10 points.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Joys Of Bunting

I spent a few goes to get this card right, then text was too small in the bunting and the men didn't look cheerful enough. Now they look cheerful, you can read the letters and it looks like they are jumping for joy.

The thing I really about their outfits are those frilly things they have on their chests below the bow tie. I have no idea what they are called but I think they are super fancy and ace.

The bunting men card is available here on Etsy, perfect for someone who wears bow ties or someone who celebrated birthdays.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

House on a skyscraper

When we were in New York we spent the last day doing a boat cruise. I specifically chose it because it went all the way around Manhattan it was one of those rare occasions where the tide was too high to get under some of the bridges around Harlem, so it just did a big loop instead. It was also cold and wet so two things were working against that boat trip from the get go.

When we were going past the Upper East Side I spotted this house on top of the skyscrapers. I have no idea who it belongs to, but I was a bit obsessed with it because it looked so out of place. If anyone knows anything about it please let me know as my google skills came up with nothing.