Our final MVPS Christmas Gift, and it didn’t hurt the Earth…

Colour/Styling/Decoration, Red Olive Updates, The ART world, The General Blah, I mean Blog!


We moved to Manly 7 years ago, half way through Lou’s kindergarten year. It’s been filled with so very many highs and obviously lows, but it’s the best move we ever made. I remember, for the first time feeling like I fit. Friends and acquaintances have come and gone, as have diseases, business and many things; but our one true constant has been Manly Village Public School, where Lanya attended. We couldn’t have wished for a better school for her, or better friends along the way.

Now in her final year, wanting to gift something to the school that was personal, relevant and captured the school spirit – and who she was, we came up with the idea of a Christmas wreath. Now, if you’ve ever met my kid you’ll know that we are never in a position to recycle uniforms. They get lost in our family, they get ripped, paint covered – you name it. But they’re never in a position to be passed on to anyone else, for the shame of the state of them. We had one particular dress that was all kinds of bad, so we set about. As a family we’re pretty passionate about re-use, and always have been. We’re don’t harp on about it, but have always had a philosophy of ’cause less harm.’ The catch phrase for Red Olive since 2003 has been ‘re-invent, re-create, re-generate’ and this has been important in our home, and business life, and I’m proud to say has totally rubbed off on our kid. Manly Village has been brilliant at implementing ways for the children to learn about the environment, waste reduction and educated the kids by way of ‘waste free Wednesday.’ ‘Earth Alive,’ and even the song ‘reduce, reuse, recycle.’ I remember when she was year 1 or 2, and they were learning about water conservation, she would follow us into the bathroom, and see if we wasted any water while brushing our teeth (which apparently we did), and would hover while we were doing the dishes in an attempt to find a better way. These are pretty cool principles to install in our kids, and along with many other things and reasons, I think Manly Village Public School is all round pretty ace.

So, enough nostalgia, here we go folks. Step by step. Super super easy and I think it looks pretty tops. I’m looking forward to making one for us. Fortunately I have just over 52 weeks!


  • Get a wire coat hanger and bend until you get a circle (you can bend once it’s finished so don’t fret too much about the perfect circle at this point). Twist the hanger part down into itself.
  • Heres the fun part. Rip or cut roughly the same size strips from your uniform/fabric/items.
  • Tie them onto the circle. I recommend this part is done while watching a really fantastic movie, so you forget you’re doing it. It’s a process.
  • When you think you’re done, squish it together and keep going. No unsightly gaps – see close up.
  • For the hanger part, we used a scrunchy. If I was doing it again, I think I’d glue and weave fabric around it.
  • We looked around for ages to find some bauble that were colour suitable. We wanted whites and silvers, and ultimately found them in Coles. Great colours, but because said baubles were from Coles I had to spend a bit of time super glueing the bauble back onto its attachment…
  • BE CAREFUL of glueing your fingers together. I’ve been glueing for years, and I don’t think my skill has ever improved.
  • I then got short little twists of a silver craft wire to twist them on to the wreath. We left these a little posse so you can play around with the positioning of them.
  • Done. Then it was off to console several devastated Year 6 girls, tears of the like I’ve never seen!

Give it a go. I’d love to see your images, and add them into this thread.

Merry Christmas, over and out from me and my crew.



The General Blah, I mean Blog!


Well hello lovely mailing list. How’ve you been?

I had to write and wish you all a very Merry Christmas, and a year that was better than ever. I hope your year has been filled with colour, adventure, misadventure – and lot’s of wishes coming true. I won’t keep you, just a few things to share.
  • Firstly, as you know I’ve very much wound down retail. As such I’m having a ludicrous 50% off the remaining stock. Keeping in mind that everything already was hugely reduced – it’s an absolute steal. I really want my store room back! Happy shopping. We are here (in and out) until Christmas Eve, if you want to have a sticky. Even Art is included AND the new louie&i jewellery range that Louie & I have been making. Code is XMAS13.
  • ARTspace news. What a space! For a very rare change we have not one, but TWO double studios available. One of these can be split, but if you are considering giving yourself the gift of Creativity – then come and have a look. They’re both pretty awesome spots, so come have a look if you’re curious. Avail. ASAP. We only ask for a 3 month minimum, and we’re affordable so it’s a low risk while you see if it works for you. I’m so looking forward to just hanging here a bit in the holidays with my kid, and just enjoying the amazing beauty here. A few of you are asking if I plan to do any classes over the Christmas break so I’m actually considering mid-late Jan. I’m even considering doing a candle making session with the older kids where they choose their own scents, design their own labels etc. Let me know if there’s any interest.
  • Most of you know, we recently launched Loobylou candles at Finders Keepers. It was EPIC. And that would be understating it. We had so much fun, met so many cool people – and there was such a sense of, well pride that we’d gotten there. As I’ve made no secret of, this was an idea I had in hospital – when we weren’t even sure I was coming home. I saw it so clearly, and I said from the start, I would only launch at Finders Keepers so it was a pretty incredible moment for us. Thanks ever so to those of you who rocked up to hang for a bit.
Pretty short and sweet for me right? Busy time! Sending my sincerest and very best wishes for a wonderful AND SAFE Christmas and New Years.
Much warm fuzzes,
Kere & crew x

SAVE THE DATE – Saturday 21st September “Chromesthesia – The Colour of my Song”

Colour/Styling/Decoration, Kere's Personal Journey, Red Olive Updates, The ART world, The General Blah, I mean Blog!, underground ARTspace updates

You saw it here first folks! My first solo in years, and my first entire Exhibition playing with photography…Nervous, excited…Aggghhhhhh xxx



TURNER FROM THE TATE – the making of a master

Red Olive Updates, The ART world, The General Blah, I mean Blog!, underground ARTspace updates


I had to share this with you, so inspired and excited am I by our recent little escapade to Canberra. A random last minute trip, but I didn’t hesitate, knowing it was a chance to see this Exhibition. My good friend and photographer Cade Turner is an HUGE fan of Turners work (if you ask me, a modern day reincarnation using a different medium – but Cade love is another blog for another day) and he raved about it.

I’m not hugely familiar with J.M.W Turner, but what little I did know included that the man was a master of light. That’s a pretty big call, not always true when people say it – but in this case, it’s the understatement of the century. I’m not going to waffle on too much (for a change), but simply share one of the first things that happened as we entered the Exhibition , and a few of my favourite images. (As an aside, I couldn’t believe how many people there were taking photographs, but mine are a bit crap as I still felt like a naughty school kid with a contraband iPhone!) Ok, so we walk in – and I was immediately struck by the depth of one piece – the light (obv.) the moodiness, the technique….and then my daughter Lanya (age 11) says to me, “Wow Mum, that painting is only a few years after Australia was ‘discovered.’

And it took my breath away, made me open my eyes in a completely different and proofed way. She was right, these pieces were beyond our accepted definition here of ‘historical.’ I wasn’t even a twinkle in the eye of my Great great great greats … you get me? It was a snapshot of how I imagine I’ll feel when I walk the ground of Chartres Cathedral, or feel the Mayan ruins. We think we’re so clever with our savvy technology and our ‘innivative’ techniques and materials. We’re simply re-runs of a long long line before us…The collective consciousness of Creativity I often waffle about…here was a lynch pin among it.

Anywho, I digress and I waffle – I’ve made a career of it, but I will go and share my images with you. I was going to write a bit about each piece, what it meant, how I felt – but I won’t. I’ll let you have your own experience. Hopefully I’ve shared enough that you will want to see if for yourself. Do go if you get a chance. I’ll be posting soon about the trip to the National Portrait Gallery – it’s worthy of it’s own post..













About the exhibition (THE OFFICIAL STUFF)


J. M. W. Turner (1775–1851) is one of Britain’s greatest artists, a key figure of the Romantic generation. He is celebrated as a highly modern painter, his work much admired for its experimental character.

Turner’s paintings and watercolours are highly coveted by museums and collectors, and widely dispersed internationally. Only at the Tate can we gain a full sense of Turner’s aims and achievements. The artist’s gift to the British nation was originally limited to the finished paintings exhibited in his lifetime, many of which he retained or re-acquired with a view to his donation to the national collection. The larger settlement, after the artist’s death, meant these paintings were supplemented by the contents of his house and studio.

Turner from the Tate reflects the diversity of this unique collection. It provides a comprehensive overview of Turner and his artistic development, while offering extraordinary insights into his working life and practices. The exhibition consists of 40 oils complemented by 70 works on paper, from large watercolours to intimate sketches. Elsewhere in the exhibition we see how Turner set himself up as the heir to the European landscape tradition. Featuring remarkable paintings of Turner’s late career including the exquisite Venice, the Bridge of Sighs 1840, the exhibition culminates with powerful seascapes.

As well as many of Turner’s most famous paintings, Turner from the Tate highlights works never shown previously. The exhibition offers fresh perspectives on an artist who was valued as a master in his own time and whose impact was felt as far away as Australia.

Turner from the Tate: The Making of a Master is organised by Tate in association with Art Exhibitions Australia, Art Gallery of South Australia and National Gallery of Australia.


…To white, or not to white…that is the annual question!

Colour/Styling/Decoration, Design & Architecture, Red Olive Updates, The ART world, The General Blah, I mean Blog!, underground ARTspace updates


Compare the two rooms. One on left is sparkly, fresh – where Unicorns live. One on right looks nice, but Unicorns wouldn’t live here…Written of course, without prejudice. 

Ok folks out there in blog land, followers, friends I NEED YOU!!! (I hope you had the appropriate visual of the finger pointy poster whose name escapes me). NO, I’m not trying to engage you in public warfare. Not even close. Relax…

It’s as simple as … choosing a colour!

You know that saying about how Sparkies have dodgy wiring at home, builders have countless un-finished projects etc? Well let me tell you it’s THE SAME for Designers, Stylists and ESPECIALLY when said Styling Designer specialises in colour. Purely for home you see. My record is it took me 18 months to choose a living room colour once. Oh dear lord I went through every shade of Olive known to man…18 months later, we fell for Wattyl ‘Pepper.’ Six months later we moved…but that is another story.

Here’s the real deal. We repaint the floors at the ARTspace every year (and sometimes in between). It’s important to me to maintain the space to the same level of professionalism the Artists give us along with the privilege of hanging their incredible works. It’s picky and pedantic – and I’m ok with that, they’re my middle name. I LOVE the ARTspace. I’m walking away from retail to focus on said ARTspace. I’m re-launching, and I’m doing it large! I have all sorts of ideas and plans for upcoming shows, but one thing at a time. The floors.

As you know, we’re selling of the retail wares and making way for the lovely Christine O’Hagan to join our crew. Perfect timing for a little bit of a spruce up, we have to move stuff anyway you see…Now, the dilemma is not in that I can’t choose a shade of a particular colour, it’s the actual colour.


We have a yummy neutral grey on there now. It sits at around 5 maybe on the Greyscales. It’s lovely, I picked a great shade. It doesn’t conflict or compete with any Artworks, it doesn’t take away or impinge in negative ways on the space.

It works.

OR: It ‘worked.’

In the spirit of fresh new change, I’m re-visiting my annual internal (and to anyone who listens) debate on the repainting of the floors…

Anyone who knows commercial enamel knows that it’s not going to be easy to do this. The walls are an low sheen pain in the butt regularly patching but utterly fabulous colour and solution for the Gallery. The don’t reflect OR absorb too much light. The don’t engage the eye away from the Artwork. HOWEVER white enamel cut in to said walls is a painstaking detailed job. It will require several coats from my beloved. It will looks INCREDIBLE.

White floors make everything around them look shiny sparkly and wonderful – and yet they draw your attention to the objects and works they embrace. Beauty seems to float within them…I have always always loved white floors, but at home I accept that we’re not a white floor family as a unit. Here’s why. Today my daughter arrived. There was the clunk thud of her arrival, the dropping of scooter – and then in chorus a guitar case propped against the other side of the table bang crashed to the ground. I was sending a prayer of gratitude that she wasn’t carrying paint….

But it’s the ARTspace, that’s a place of solace and beauty…

Here’s my pro-cons. Comment, vote, HELP MEEEEE because as I said to Aj today – I would imagine that the pain of dealing with this each and every year is surely now outweighing the pain and annoyance of painting the floor. Surely right? Who want’s to ‘just wonder?’ That’s not how I roll myself… Obv. I’m Team White…PRO is for white CON is not for white.

PRO: It’ll look pretty spectacular, let’s be honest.  CON: It looks really nice now.

PRO: When white scuffs it looks all charming and shabby. It works. CON: Mud.

PRO: When grey scuffs and wears it looks unkempt and poorly maintained. CON: It’s already there and easy to keep.

PRO: It’ll look pretty CON: So would I if I wasn’t painting floors…lol.

PRO: At least I’ll know. CON: White = 3 coats, Grey = 1

PRO: At least I’ll see when the floors are dirty. Dirt is gross – if I see it I’ll clean it. CON: It hides a multitude of sins now, and I don’t enjoy mopping. Nope, not a fan.

PRO: We love putting love and energy into the ARTspace CON: We could be reading, talking, hanging in Lola.

PRO: My husband loves me enough to support my kind of crazy. CON: I love him too, and I’m sure he’d rather surf.

So there you have it…Do YOU have white floors? Are they as bad as I am anticipating? Should I just stop blogging and start painting…???


P.S. STOKED to have a drama of this (lack of) calibre to bring you after the last few years – let me tip you reader!

What I am now I’m a grown up (with a side serve of super cheesy)

The General Blah, I mean Blog!

This week a creative mate posted a status on FB looking for women working in a creative/arts field within certain perimeters for a potential mag interview with a well known rag. Nothing to lose, I put myself forward. Basically he asked me to provide a brief description of what it was that I did.

Uh oh.

What the?

Put a name on it?

Now, what is it I’m trying to be now I’m (just) a grown up…

Here’s what I came up with. So much cheese I wasn’t sure if I wanted to slap my own face, or hire me Stat. Amusing none the less. What do you guys think?

“Sometimes people know what they want and like, but often don’t quite know how to pull it all together. This can vary from major space planning, interior and retail styling, to the commissioning and even creation of a customised Artwork.

This is where I come in…’the creative coordinator’ or somewhat of an Artistic Director who helps you turn the space you have, into a space you love..”

x me

“Annual underground artmarkets” …bigger and better than ever!!!… Hosted by local Artist and Event planner Rachel Carrol

Red Olive Updates, The ART world, The General Blah, I mean Blog!, underground ARTspace updates

Hi All

This is it MY First Art Market

at the Underground ArtSpace!!!


Where: 294 Sydney Rd, Balgowlah

(look for the giant Paint brush)

When : Saturday December 8th

Times: 10-4pm

What: Some of the best local talent

from Manly and Beyond.

We have over 15 artists on display.

Sculptors, ceramics, fine ART and MORE!!!

For the unique Christmas Gift or

the chance to meet an artist make

a connection and continue the dream!

We also have face painting for the Kids

and cup cakes for everyone!!!

This is the beginning of  a monthly event

in the region just for ART.

I hope you can make it to the first one and see it evolve!!

See you Saturday!!!

Feel free to invite your friends and family.

Rachel Carroll

for more info contact me on 0423982349


taking names for the next Art Market in 2013 now!


Colour/Styling/Decoration, Red Olive Updates, The ART world, The General Blah, I mean Blog!, underground ARTspace updates

WOW 1)


The OPEN STUDIOS weekend. Amaze balls. Thanks to each and every one of you who came along, met the gals, shopped, stayed, made sure I had coffee a’plenty. It was really wonderful to be back amongst it. Here’s a quick pic of two of my favourite visitors from the weekend ‘Choppo’ + ‘Schmoob’ with their Red Olive Loot.

I’m paying BIG TIME home fighting a cold and attempting to hide it from the Dr’s. Worth every painful swallow though. It was beautiful being in the space itself, surrounded the crew – who ‘get’s’ it, and why IT IS to begin with. It’s gorgeous sharing creative space with folks that have not just the eye, but the passion. There’s a special look – half joy, half contemplation when someone connects with a work, a fabric, a decorator piece, a scent that they love.

We see it – and it feeds us = there’s something truly divine there, and it’s why ARTspaces and the like exist. It feeds our soul, we feed yours with our joys and obsessions which gives joy, which feeds out souls which feed yours. And so it goes…

Sara Dowse, Jessica Watts, Gabby Malpas, Melinda Jordi are not just among my favourite Artists – they’re among my favourite people. It’s awesome walking in and seeing their works abundant on the walls. Mel Lovell – ‘the’ Organic Mama is in there too now, and oh my oh my, there’s some fabric fetishes happening big time. check out an image of my new cushion in my room. it had magical powers that made me want to clean my room and make my bed. i admit it looks a bit freaky sitting there stroking a cushion – but if you could feel it, you would understand. I left the dirty big double adapter on the headboard for your viewing pleasure. I had to laugh at one of our customers yesterday describing Mel’s fabrics as “so yummy she could eat them.” We do attract a… diverse crowd.

‘loobylou ‘ launched their candles over the weekend too. These scents are truly incredible, and it was a joy burning them in the space. a great test for them too – given the ARTspace is so big, the scent throw was truly everything they said it would be, and it carried through from Open to Closed. The website launched tonight for online sales: www.loobylou.com.au or follow them on Facey. https://www.facebook.com/pages/LoobyLou/325459667485668

We were bombarded with positive feedback, people telling us they were inspired, local support and general joy seeing our space functioning as an ARTspace again. Here’s to many more…

I moved my Studio in amongst the madness and have set up a new fresh space. Because I didn’t have enough to do this weekend! it feels good back there in the “naughty corner”, and I’m full of great ideas on how to use, and what to do in the space. Don’t forget we have 3 spots or 1 normal, 1 large avail. at the moment so get amongst it. With summer coming, there couldn’t be a more spectacular place to create / be / breathe…

WOW 2)



We have just finished up another INCREDIBLE project that’s been a looong time coming for my little family. We finished ‘lola.’ Check her out on www.iamlola.com.au or follow Lola’s travels on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/iamlola1966 We’re heading to Brisbane this weekend for an old friend’s wedding, and taking her for her first spin. We can’t wait, and the getaway is long overdue, deserved and very much looked forward to. One of the catch phrases of the weekend was “Poverty breeds creativity.” And with Lola, we’ve proved it. Enjoy. We’ll blog separately about her soon.

WOW 3)


The only remote negative to going away this weekend is that we miss the Art Expo this weekend. I’ve heard simply extraordinary things! Our own ARTspace Jessica Watts will be there, having been busting hump for months in the studio to get ready for it. We’re all a little gaga over Jess’s new stuff (and her old, and her anything really). I highly recommend checking her out. http://jessicawattsartist.blogspot.com.au

Here’s my favs’s. If you buy them – don’t gloat, it’s mean 😉


"Follow The Leader" 800mmx400mm Oil and Mixed Media on Panel
"Young Jacky" 600mmx600mm Oil and Aluminium Leaf on Panel

and of course, the birds. I’m all about Jess’s birds…

"Hello Cockie" 200mmx200mm Oil and Mixed Media on Veneered Panel (sold)

Our lovely Gabby Malpas is also there – but I haven’t seen the work she’s hanging! Waiting for her to blog too, so here’s a link for when she does…http://www.mangofrooty.blogspot.com.au

Right, that’s it. Over and Out.


Weekend fast approaching…

Red Olive Updates, The ART world, The General Blah, I mean Blog!, underground ARTspace updates

open STUDIOS weekend


It’s nearly time for the Manly Arts Festival + OPEN STUDIOS + where you are invited to see, meet and greet the local Art wildlife in their creative surrounds. It’s such a fun weekend – you meet your favourite Artists – and we get to chat about our obsessions, I mean passions! We have an amazing selection of works for you to see on display in the Gallery too.

New works by: Jessica Watts, Melinda Jordi, Gabby Malpas, Vivianne Hazenveld, Sara Dowse – and even me!

Also, the lovely Mel from ‘the Organic Mamas’ is with us in Studio now and will have a selection of her beautiful organic wares, fabrics and clothing. Mmmm. And if that’s not enough, we have Emma from ‘loobylou’ – a up and coming enviro candle business aiming to bring you incredible scents which are kind to the planet – and NOT LIKE EVERYONE ELSES FRAGRANCES!

AND, if you’re that way inclined, while Petra herself won’t be there with her creative magic styling wand, we’ll be happy to assist you having a sneak peak in Petra’s Vintage – if you can get in. Petra’s clothes we deem Gizmo/Gremlins. Aj and I sincerely think she waters and feeds them after midnight at the rate they multiply….

It’s going to be an exciting weekend indeed. We’ll have the jug boiled, plungers at the ready and some snacks and cakes etc. for your browsing pleasure. It’s my first day in the ARTspace since ‘the nightmare’ so I’m all kinds of excited to see you 🙂


the whole kit and caboodle!


The coding for discounting specific items was starting to do my head in, so instead of 25% off handmade goods only – we’re giving you  25% off EVERYTHING in the Red Olive retail store!!! (Reduction does not extend to Art sales, Organic Mama, Petras Vintage or LoobyLou wares as they’re independent crafts people). Simply tell us you’ve read about this offer via this email on the day OR buy online using the code MANLYARTSFESTIVAL and the discounts are calculated automatically on the website.

AND because we’re so thrilled to be in an area which supports it’s Artists and crafts people – we’ve  decided to donate a percentage of all sales for the duration to the Manly Environment Centre. We live in the most beautiful place on Earth, and this is a small way of saying thanks to the team that keep it so! Sales (in shop and online) is valid until September 30th – but some stocks limited SO MOVE FAST!!!

2x  Super  Studios



We currently have TWO studios avail. One small, one large. Suitable for various uses – retail, Art studio, office space, holistic therapies…you’re limited only by your imagination. Come along and check them out this weekend. Avail. as soon as you need! Just ask for Kere or Adrian to show you around and give you the details. The ARTspace studios are run not for profit, guaranteeing you the best deal and hopefully the freedom to finally take that next step to following your dreams!

Carpet Court Competition… ‘Love the Look….’

Colour/Styling/Decoration, Design & Architecture, The General Blah, I mean Blog!

In the sense of trying to be in it to win it, I entered the competition Carpet Court is running via Facebook.  There’s heaps of cool prizes along the way, and it’s a brilliant source of inspiration for those with a love of all things design and decoration!

What’s stopping you? It’s fun – and it’s made me take some time to look around my home, my little displays – and take some time to appreciate the memories. That’s what homes should be, somewhere to keep you safe, inspire you and surround in memories and joy.

As they say, “take some time to enjoy the view…”



1) The cross/cup holder on the left came at a particularly odd time. Suffering from cancer, and questioning my sense of faith I came across this at a Vinnies nearby. I intended the use for something else, but have always kept it like this. It’s dynamic, odd and makes an odd little impact – like me!

2) The medicine bottle/demijohn was purchased in a weekend getaway in the South Coast. It was almost identical in shape and shade to an original vintage one my husbands Grandfather had handed down (since broken) which we treasured very much.  At least this still reminds us of the original.

3) This bottle was one of the first presents my Grandfather bought my Nan. When my Nan went into a group home, this was one of the few things I travelled back to get – and inspired this collection.

* All other vases are either ebay, seconds or Op shop finds. And then theres my new favourite Glasshouse candle – ‘Coney Island’ tying it all together…

This is a little shelf in my bathroom. The shells, stones, and bits of driftwood have been collected and cleaned lovingly by my daughter. The large candlesticks were a Birthday present from an old friend, and the smaller one from my Mum. ‘The Black Lady’ came from my Nan. She meant to restore it for years, and I have since, yet she still remains broken – and beautiful. I think there’s poetry in that somehow…

This vignette started small, grows – and changes often. I thing your home should surround you with memories, layers and a sense of fun and history. There’s family hand downs (resin acrylic lump from Nan) Spools bought back from Japan, A Lamp made by my Aj’s Grandfather, An old sanding plane  (my first business card holder when I went into design) some of my beloved Dinosaur Designs collection – and various other layers of old…