Thursday, 19 December 2013

The Greatest Gift You Can Give: Yourself

"The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches but to reveal to him his own.”  Benjamin Disraeli

As this is my last post prior to Christmas, I wanted to write about something that I believe resonates with many of us at Christmas given that everyone's lives are even busier at this time of year and sometimes "connecting" can be hard. 
According to Emma M Seppala in her article "The Greatest Gift You Can Give: Yourself"  (I hope you read this article) people benefit from giving by connecting with others.

Humans have a built-in need to relate, resonate, and mirror each other. In a world increasingly dependent on technology, we can lose touch with important human connections. The gift of giving of oneself increases intimacy and reduces the likelihood of loneliness.

Giving connects us in a tangible way. It makes us realise we are not alone.
Giving doesn’t have to be complicated or grand. It can be a warm smile or a gentle hug. Fifteen minutes of attentive listening can be as valuable as a one-hour massage. Listening - it's a very powerful tool but unfortunately not well utilised. Stop talking about yourself or wondering what to say next.....actually Listen.  Rather than sending a text or an email which can be a cop out, pick up the phone and give some minutes of your time.  I think we can all be at fault for this.

If we give from the heart, in a desire to connect, then we seize a common occasion and make it special, which is much different than if we give to a great cause out of obligation or self-importance.

You also don’t have to have a structured system of volunteering and philanthropy to enjoy the benefits of giving. It can become a habit you develop over time until it becomes an integral part of your life.
Start by paying closer attention to the people you encounter during the day. Soon you will recognise an opportunity to give. Having said that, it is nice to also spare a thought to people at Xmas who truly have far less than you.  Buying a few extra groceries that cost very little and donating them to a charitable organisation can give great joy to a family in need.  
After all, it’s not how much we give, but how we give. 

May your Christmas be happy, safe, filled with love, laughter, champagne, chocolates and way too much food.

With Love
Gessica X

(Certain extracts from this article were taken from a post on Tiny Buddha. A gorgeous website with inspirational stories and quotes).

Friday, 13 December 2013

Fashion & Art by Susanne Bisovsky

Susanne Bisovsky from Austria isn’t just a fashion designer. Her designs are pieces of art in their own right. The combination of exquisite embroidered & printed fabrics, lace and beading are just so splendid. Her designs aren't to everyone's liking, it is more about her artistic approach to her designs that captures attention. Plus her photography is art too as you see in all the photos below. This is where ART + FASHION blend beautifully. The photos below are designs from her Frida collection a couple of year ago, obviously a homage to the great Frida Kahlo who I am obsessed with at the moment(I am reading a book on Frida Kahlo). Hence why I decided to write a post on Susanne. Do jump on her website to view her other collections. The photos I am sure you will agree are just divine....worthy of framing.  The last photo is a shot of her studio in Vienna. Enjoy.......
I "want" the black tulle skirt and the embroidered tops and oh the tapestries on the walls in all photos!!
Love Gessica

Friday, 6 December 2013

Christmas Table Decor

When it comes to table decorating I absolutely love doing it.  In my past profession as an events stylist I always enjoyed decorating smaller events at private homes or restaurants. The table décor was my favourite part. No matter whether I was in Milan or Sydney, I would look to nature to collect pieces necessary to create a spectacular talking piece.......... fruit, vegetables, flowers, branches, stones, shells, foliage etc etc. 
As Christmas is in a few weeks, I decided to write this post on some simple ideas for Christmas table decorations whether you're having a warm or cold Xmas.
I do think angel wings attached to back of chairs is quite a lovely fun idea. These wings can be bought from any cheap bric a brac shops. Generally the colours to choose from are white, red, black. But lately I have seen bright blues and greens too.  And they're cheap!
Branches embedded in a pot with fruit, bows, birds, butterflies, Xmas balls hanging from them.
Or even hand written notes on lovely paper pinned to the branches
Candles wrapped with vegetables and ribbon on a platter. Floating candles in large jars filled with water, greenery and berries. Both very easy and effective.
Fruit centrepieces are gorgeous. Spray fruits in silver or gold for effect or leave plain and polish with some olive oil.  If you'd like to do a large arrangement as in photo above you can either a) bind them together with wire: weave the wire through the centre of each fruit (like beading a necklace) until it's long enough to wrap around in circles until you have your desired effect. Place a jar in the centre if it makes it easier. Or b) pierce a bamboo skewer through each fruit and at the other end push the skewer into florist foam. To fill in any gaps between the fruit add greenery.
If having a beach Christmas, why not scatter some white shells and silver balls over a white tablecloth. It's fresh and cool.  
Some more ideas for using shells above. Strings of small shells wrapped around glasses, shells painted gold or silver loosely scattered on table. Branches running down centre of table with shells and Xmas balls hanging from them. There is so much you can do with shells I could go on and on. 
If you have one, make use of your fireplace with some greenery, fruit, candles and Xmas balls.

I do Love a staircase laden with candles of all shapes and sizes.

There is so much you can to make a table look beautiful on Christmas day without going overboard with expense. Again look to nature!
If you are hosting a party and would like my decor advice, email me on
I'd love to know how you're decorating your table for Xmas so do drop me a line.
Bye for now
Gessica X

Friday, 29 November 2013

My "Little Miss Sunshine"

This mannequin Little Miss Sunshine was created last year, commissioned by a family member who lives in QLD, loves the sunshine and the colour yellow. She was created using shells(which I personally collected), glass beads, diamantes, three types of feathers, large flowers, vintage crochet, French trimmings, butterflies, wings and much more. Each piece individually glued or sewn on and hours in the making. I hope you like her........
I enjoyed every moment making her.........the colour yellow is so uplifting and full of positive energy. You may notice her waistband: a mosaic of shells, diamantes and beads intricately placed together and intertwined with vintage crochet. The wings are a feature in my last 3 mannequins.....symbolising "freedom to be".  And hardly ever will you see any of my mannequins without a butterfly somewhere: my obsession since childhood which to me has always symbolised, again freedom but also "natures miracles".
I miss her but I know she is in good hands. X
Just to let you know, I am halfway thru my next mannequin using the vibrant colours orange and turquoise......looking gorgeous so far. Can't wait to show you.
P.N. For those that have signed up to receive my posts via email, if you find you can't open images or videos, then simply click on the "title" of the post at the top of the page and it will automatically take you back to my blog. From there you can open files.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Going Troppo this Summer

Although the focus this summer is about geometric designs, I notice tropical prints are out again this year which excites me.......exotic birds, fruit, flora and fauna in bright colours are fun. The tropical theme always reminds me of Mojito cocktails, exotic birds, the Bahamas and my favourite Samba singer Carmen Miranda, famous for her fruit hat costumes.  Either way, anything "troppo" puts me in a dancing and cocktail mood.
Carmen Miranda, the flamboyant Portuguese born Brazilian Samba singer
Don't be afraid of the bold tropical prints. Just add a little touch with plain pieces to start like a T-shirt, handbag or shoes.  For a little more.....a printed short tunic or maxi dress teed up with bright accessories is just vibrant and oh so summery.
This Camilla Franks Maxi from her 2013 Pachamama range is wild. 
I love the tropical print jackets. Worn well with white t-shirt and jeans, or for something chic a maxi skirt in bright colour. Add some printed wedges, seashell accessories and you're ready to party or at least ready to sip some cocktails!!
And then of course if you want to go one step further with colour and print explosion......mix the tropical with geometric prints. You may have to play around with this a bit to get it right, but if mixed well this look is super. If you find that too hard to do on your own email me for a consultation and I can help you put it all together.  
You can find tropical pinted garments in most of the casual streetwear stores and also various high street stores including Camilla, Trelise Cooper, Veronika Maine, plus net-a porter and also vintage stores.
Enjoy.....Love Gessica
P.N. For those that have signed up to receive my posts via email, if you find you can't open images or videos, then simply click on the "title" of the post at the top of the page and it will automatically take you back to my blog. From there you can open files.

Friday, 15 November 2013

An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth

As Commander of the International Space Station,Canadian Chris Hadfield captivated the world with stunning photos and commentary from space. Perhaps you remember him singing David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” on board the international space station (video it). Or you may have seen his various educational video's on what happens when you cry in space (video below), or pee, or cook!!  Search for him on Youtube, and you will come across many short videos he made on how to do "almost" everything in space. It is addictive. I've placed some below for you to enjoy.  
Hadfield returned from the ISS in May, and he has apparently been busy writing a book that came out just weeks ago An Astronaut's guide to Life on Earth. During this time he has broken into a Space Station with a Swiss army knife, disposed of a live snake while piloting a plane, and been temporarily blinded while clinging to the exterior of an orbiting spacecraft. The secret to Col. Hadfield's success-and survival-is an unconventional philosophy he learned at NASA: prepare for the worst-and enjoy every moment of it.
I'm buying this book, what a fascinating read this will be.  Add this to your xmas list!!

Chris Hadfield version of David Bowie's Space Oddity
Crying in space
How to cook Spinach in Space
Wringing out water soaked cloth

Enjoy.....Gessica X

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Loving Portuguese Artist Joana

I have been following Joana Vasconcelos fabulous work for several years. Joana is Portuguese artist born in Paris in 1971 and first came to global attention at the 2005 Venice Biennale with her work A Noiva (The Bride). It consists of a 5 foot chandelier made entirely from 25,000 tampons!!She was the first female artist to be invited to show work at The Palace of Versailles in 2012 and is the sole Portuguese representative of The Venice Biennale 2013. I find it fascinating how she incorporates household objects such as spoons and pot lids, traditional Portuguese crafts such as crochet, filigree and ceramics into her workMany of her pieces are giant crochet and knitted objects dangling from ceilings. You'll see below with only some images of her work just how crazily creative she is. The rest, jump on her website.

Lilicoptere 2012
Bell 47 helicopter adorned with ostrich feathers, Swarovski crystals, gold leaf, industrial coating, dyed leather upholstery embossed with fine gold, Arraiolos rugs, walnut wood, wood grain painting, passementerie.
Love it.....a ride anyone??

Marilyn 2011

Giant shoes made from stainless steel pans and lids.......go figure!

Piano Dentelle 2008-2011
Steingraeber & Söhne baby grand piano, piano stool covered in handmade cotton crochet.
Imagine one of these in your home!

Vasconcelos’ art practice is characterized by a decontextualisation of the familiar - be they household objects, plastic spoons or national icons - and the deconstruction of how we identify things, particularly gender, class, and nationality. There is a political current to Vasconcelos’ work: the revolution of 1974 and the stifling patriarchal culture of the Salazar years form the backdrop and counterpoint to her ferociously energetic reinvention of Portuguese, and specifically femaShe has inherited and assimilated the visual language and themes of Duchamp’s readymade; the pop art of mass consumption exemplified by Warhol and Oldenburg; and the subversive, at times humorous, feminist voices of Louise Bourgeois and Eva Hesse.(From her biography)
If you're in Europe or heading there this month, her current exhibtions are in Venice, Palma de Malorca Spain and the Gucci Museo in Florence. Details on her website. 
I hope you get a chance one day to view her work.  It is well worth it.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

A love affair with Mannequins

Her name is Esmeralda, she stands at 50cm tall, it took approximately 14 hours to make her, and is the latest addition to my mannequin obsession.
This little mannequin I hand created using feathers, tulle, french lace, diamanties, beads, Italian trims, silk flowers, crochet, wings and much more. There is a lot of detail on them and one can look at them for a long time observing the crazy mix of textures and colours. The items I use have been collected either from my travels in various parts of the world, sourcing on line and scouring vintage shops which tend to have some wonderful one-off pieces to add. Each layer/piece is glued or stitched on(even the beads on top of beads are individually glued on).
My love affair with making these avant garde mannequins started 25 years ago when I bought a dressmaking bust from a 2nd hand shop and glued a collage of shells and beads all over her. I had a wrought iron candelabra top and base made to fit the mannequin so that it transformed into a giant 2m high mannequin candelabra. I still have that mannequin! From there I made several large ones and sold them in galleries and shops in Australia and Italy.
Whilst living in Milan I stumbled upon a man that hand made small papier mache mannequins and that is when I began to make smaller ones too.....also having iron feet and miniature candelabra tops made for them. 
The last few years I haven't made any with candelabra tops because of my travels and in fact had a break from making them entirely until recently. Since making them again they have become more and more detailed and elaborate (as you will see in upcoming posts on my previous mannequins) and hence take more time to make.
I believe this a reflection of my changing life and the many colourful experiences I have so far had. I also think I'm a little crazy, so it could be a reflection of my personality!! 
My ladies (as I like to call them) are all given names to suit the personalities they take on as I make them and have been sold all around the world in shops and galleries from Italy to London, France to USA, Australia to Singapore.  They adorn homes as unique décor pieces, shops as window displays, centrepieces for tables. They have been photographed and featured in numerous magazines I have lost count.....I guess they become super models!!
No two are alike.  I am inspired by the baroque era, colours, nature, textures, and travels. Each and every one of them are unique art pieces that give me such joy when creating them. I love transforming them from a papier mache bust to a theatrical ornament. Each time one sells, a part of my soul goes with them so I guess a little bit of me is scattered all over the globe.
No matter how many different creative avenues I take with my career......I never lose sight of making my ladies regardless of whether I take a break for a while in making them.  They will be what I will be doing late in life and they will only get better.  
One day when I have a proper studio and all my equipment in one place, I will re-commence making "life size" mannequins and I just can't wait. Watch out for these, they will certainly be grand.

I custom make. If you have particular colours you love, then I can make to suit you. 
For all enquiries please email me on

In posts to come I will feature my "yellow" mannequin (below photo) and some keep reading.

Bye for now........Gessica & Esmeralda X

Tuesday, 22 October 2013


I am a devoted follower of SoniaM Designs, a talented accessories designer based in QLD. Take at look at her blogspot with all her pieces featured on there.
Below are some of her beautiful designs
It is not because Sonia is my sister that I promote her, for even if I didn’t know her I would most definitely still be a fan of her accessories as they are unique, quality pieces that are not mass market. For quite a few years now Sonia has had great success in “hand making” beautiful necklaces, earrings, bracelets and feather capes. I love love love wearing her pieces for they add colour and glamour to an outfit whether It be casual or dressed up. I admire Sonia's great eye for detail and colour combinations. When making her jewellery from her studio in Brisbane, Sonia uses Swarovski crystals mixed with freshwater pearls, semi-precious stones and various Indian beads. Other trimmings are leather and silk tassels. Her beads and trims are sourced from Italy, France, the UK and USA.
Her elaborate feather capes are a stand out. They can be worn over a dress to glam it up or for a more casual style over a t-shirt and jeans with high heals….it looks slick.  Imagine one of these worn for Melbourne Cup lunch!!
Sonia wears her capes, jewellery and patterned outfits all together and somehow pulls it off beautifully always drawing positive attention.
The "fantastical" feather capes, caplets and collars(made in various sizes) are made with a  mixture of rooster, ostrich, goose and pheasant feathers sourced from France and USA. The trimmings with the majority imported from France, Italy and UK consist of tulle, velvet ribbons and beaded trims......and all capes are lined with satin.
I know that Sonia spends great amounts of time sourcing the perfect stones, trims and feather for her pieces.  Many of the brooches found on some of her necklaces are one-off vintage pieces.
When I visit her in Brisbane I too along with her gorgeous young daughter spend copious amount of time in her studio playing like children with all the bits and pieces.  I even sneak a few little pieces in my suitcase to add to my mannequins ;-)
Of course I will highly recommend adding a piece or two or a few of her creations to your wardrobe. If you’re a boutique, buying some pieces to go with your garments can only add value. You can specify what colours you like and Sonia will make to your requirements. Sonia like me is also a personal fashion consultant so you can email her explaining what you have, and she can make something up to suit you.  With spring racing carnival here(be quick ladies) and Xmas around the corner think of a gift for yourself, friends, family!!

For all enquiries Sonia can be contacted via her Blogspot mentioned above or email her on

Va Va Va Voom.