Feeling Lucky? It's a lucky dip!

Is today your lucky day? Maybe?

I've totally copied Shannon's idea and am running a little lucky dip. For just $10 you'll receive a random coinpurse, plus some other cuteness from the studio. Yay!

xx Penny

P.S. - if you're in Brisbane this weekend totally visit Shannon and other awesome lads & lasses at Finders Keepers market.

asylum seekers: what are we doing?

Image from the April protests at Villawood Detention Centre.

I actually started writing this post weeks ago, and I'm ashamed of myself that I never posted it. I'm ashamed of our Australian government for what they're doing to asylum seekers, and I'm ashamed that we accept it. I wish there were no refugees, because that would mean there were no wars or events that people had to escape with their lives from. But there are. It fills me with anger and sadness that people still feel the need to kill others, and for what? But it happens, and so there are refugees.

Hundreds of thousand Australians have been watching Go Back To Where You Came From on SBS (if you haven't seen it, watch online). Tonight's episode (aside from the reality-TV-esque side of it) was really shocking. It was set in Malaysia, where the Aus Government has proposed sending a bunch of asylum seekers who're currently imprisoned on Christmas Island. These asylum seekers that are being sent to Malaysia are probably genuine refugees. They also just happen to be part of a deal to 'deter people smugglers'. But is this the right thing to do? Will people smugglers be deterred by 47 children being sent to Malaysia so the Labor Party will look like it's tough on border security?

According to SBS Online:
"Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said at the weekend there could be no blanket ban on sending children to Malaysia as that would would send a message to people smugglers and asylum seekers that the way to reach Australia was to send children who could then sponsor the rest of the family."
Seriously? Can a person with as much responsibility as Chris Bowen actually believe this is the right thing to do? “Australia will be sending children into an extremely vulnerable situation – especially girls,” said Amnesty International Australia's refugee spokesman Dr Graham Thom.

The United Nations has completed a review of Australia's refugee policies and practises and has called on Australia to reconsider mandatory detention. The government has rejected this request.

I could write more. I could tell you hundreds of thousands of words worth of facts about refugees, and about the psychological effect of prolonged mandatory detention (PDF file), I could retell stories from refugees, but I won't. Maybe just go watch Go Back To Where You Came From.

What can we do?
I am determined to not accept this any more. I hope you are also determined.

I've set up a list of letters & templates on my website over here.

The 'Malaysia Deal' to send asylum seekers from Australian controlled detention centres to Malaysia is dependent on receiving the approval of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres. Email your pissed-off-ness to: guterres@unhcr.org

This is a sample letter to the High Commissioner - edit away, but please email.

Email: guterres@unhcr.org


Dear Antonio Guterres,

I urge you, as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, to veto the Australian Government's proposal to send asylum seekers from Australia and its facility at Christmas Island to Malaysia.

I believe these asylum seekers should be processed quickly & fairly in Australia, and that sending them to Malaysia is in breach of our human rights obligations as Malaysia is not a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention.

Seeking asylum is not a crime, it is a right that all people should have.



(Find more people to email here.)

Ham and Pea (and pasta!)

Bow Wow Embossed Greeting Card by Ham and Pea

Literally, how cute is this card? I love pasta, I love the shapes & sizes and the winter-time-comfort-factor yumminess. I usually try and sub in some rice noodles sometimes. I like the skinny little vermicelli rice noodles? They're good.

The cutest thing about Ham and Pea (apart from the name!) is the fact that all the cards feature pasta somewhere in the design. YUM!

Ham and Pea
shop : blog : twitter : website

I totally just made my own big batch of lentil & walnut bolognese using my recipe (found here). How cute would Ham and Pea's cards be as Pasta Party invites? Very cute.

Side note: I have been wanting to cook this recipe for vegan mac & cheese for so so long. Maybe this week.

it's time to be amazing

Don't you think? I've been working my way through The Public Studio's Build Your Own Awesome creative business plan guide. It's helped me hone in on exactly what I should be doing. Like a lot of creatives, I'm sure, I've tried to do a more regular busines plan in the past which I really never refer to.

If you sign up at The Public Studio to get Ming-Zhu's totally awesome email newsletter you'll get the preliminary worksheets, which are also really awesome, and are a great preliminary resource.

BUT ALSO, Ming-Zhu released, on Friday, a brand new online course with videos and homework and everything, which you can see here.

I feel like I should keep Ming-Zhu a secret or something, because she's so so helpful and I can tell Pocket Carnival's about to go nuts with awesome-ness, but I'm the worst at secrets.

(Also, how many times can I say awesome this morning? A lot. There's this bit in How I Met Your Mother, you know, the TV show, where Barney says "When I get sad, I stop being sad and be awesome instead." And if you've watched the show you'll know he's such a random character to be taking life quotes from, but it's such a good one, no?)

Oh, and the above art print is available for sale here in $AU and here in $US.

visual inspiration

Cooper & Campbells Room on Ohdeedoh

These are a few things that have been inspiring me when designing my new collection. I just sent all the new fabric designs to the printers last night, so hopefully soon I'll have something to show you!

I have spent a bit of time (truthfully, a lot of time) on Ohdeedoh looking at pictures of children's rooms and visualising how my new products would fit in. If you haven't visited Ohdeedoh before it's time to - it's the kids spinoff of Apartment Therapy, and it features real kids & babies rooms by real people. I love the clouds on the wall of the above room - you can view Cooper & Campbell's room here, and if you like the clouds on the wall you can find a link to create your own!

I love that Cooper & Campbell's room is not cutesy or kiddie, it's quite a relaxed vibe with a combination of vintage & new, and pretty much all the items could work in any room of the house. This is the trend I have noticed in kids decor lately - it's still fun & stimulating, but it's not age-specific.

L: sweaters by Jennifer Davis. R: Diamond Mug on Our Workshop.

I've also been looking a lot at the combination of pattern, illustration & object design. The colours in the artwork sweaters by Jennifer Davis are beautiful, and perfect for Spring which is what I've been designing for. I also love that by giving animals outfits we give them a personality - especially stripes & polka dots! Whenever I see someone wearing polka dots I assume they're awesome & creative and they always are!

xx Penny

beci orpin at cwc + lucky vs right place, right time

On Saturday I went to my first ever Creative Women's Circle talk, and it was such a goodie. I imagine no less than 99% of creative Melbourne designer types would know who Beci Orpin is, but if not, take a peep at her website here! Beci spoke mostly about how she's gotten to the place as a designer she is now - her experiences and journey. This post isn't a recap of what Beci actually said though... sorry! Apart from reinforcing my suspicion that Beci Orpin is Super Awesome, a lot of what Beci said made it clear (in my mind at least!) that being successful as a freelancer/self employed creative has a lot to do with being in the right place at the right time, and taking advantage of as many opportunities as possible.

Being in the right place at the right time is not in any way the same as being lucky. Being lucky would be if, for example, I walked into my favourite fabric store and a representative of Lecien was there waiting to ask the first person wearing a yellow scarf to produce a fabric collection. Or I won the biggest ever lotto draw. But that's not going to happen. (How awesome would that be, though? Right?)

Being in the right place at the right time involves for someone in my position 3 things- working very hard to amass a fabulous skill-set, a great portfolio of previous work, and an awesome network of people around me. If I look at any of my favourite designers & illustrators who are consistently doing great work, they have all 3 of these things happening. If you have a great skill-set you can work effectively & quickly. If you have a great portfolio of prior work you have work out there that people can see and that will help you develop your distinctive style. A great network is also important - if you have the first two things a great network of people will know other people who have opportunities for you.

So it's really less luck and more lots of hard work. Going to this fabulous CWC event (along with my previous soul searching) really helped make it clear to me that I need to work on all three of those things mentioned - portfolio (in the pipeline!), skills (I have skills! but more is always awesome) and a great network (I already have a pretty rad network, hooray!).

Since the talk I've been working with The Public Studio's awesome business planning/soul searching guide - more on this soon!

xx Penny

spring collection: sneek peak

Hello! As I mentioned previously, I've been thinking and thinking and thinking some more about life and Pocket Carnival and the like! While I've been thinking, I've also been working on a brand new collection for Spring 2011 which I'll be debuting at Design Made Trade in July.

I've never actually designed a collection all at once before, generally I just release a few new products each month. Designing a collection is challenging, that's a lot of designing! It also helps my organisation and is really enjoyable - I've chosen a colour palette that is joyful and fresh, but still fairly classic. The colours are for the most part based on colours I normally use, so a few of my current designs will be travelling into Spring (rainclouds is one of them! Fear not!)

I'm working with a bunch of my favourite patterns, and have been building on some pretty diverse inspirations including Moroccan tiling & woodland animals.

The whole collection is a bit different from past Pocket Carnival products, but I'm very excited and I hope you are too!

There will be a few brand new products and of course Pocket Carnival remains committed to using organic textiles, corn fibre stuffing, recycled cardstock and the like.

Bring on July!

(And of course, all images and content is copyright 2011 Pocket Carnival).

hooray! it's a sale!

I'm changing some stuff up at Pocket Carnival HQ and am having a wee sale on some older stock (I decided it's time to let some designs go!)

If you take a peek on Etsy or in the Pocket Carnival Store, you'll see some stock is already discounted. If you're keen, you can get an additional 15% off anything your heart desires with the code winter15 (in either store!)

So, what are you waiting for?


markit at fed square

Oof. I can't seem to get my blogging or generally creative mojo on lately, but this post by Ming-Zhu of The Public Studio totally helped. Go take a peep!

I decided, for my stall at Markit, I wanted a new setup (I do this practically every market, but it's kind of fun!). I wanted to make some card display stands that would be quite tall, and easier to lug around than my previous box display. I've been watching a ton of The Big Bang Theory lately so I got my math-genius cap on and designed it. My dad helped me chop everything up on his whizz-bang new band-saw! Yay! Then I got to relieve enough pent-up stress for a few years with my hammer and nails.

I also decided, the day before Markit, I wanted new business cards. I also have a new blog banner. Whee!

So this is my stall! If you came and visited Markit you'd know my head would be peeping out just above the trees. I wanted it to look a bit like a landscape, with trees and softies (imagine there are animals under the trees, I took this photo before I finished setting up).

Thank you to everyone who came by Markit and stopped for a chat or to buy something!

I know I have said this a lot lately, but the main reason I love doing markets is because I get to see what people like about Pocket Carnival. I had a big old epiphany after the market, and am currently designing a new collection... more soon!