Angels from the Christmas collection. Upcycled from men’s neckties.

As no-one was forthcoming with another Pinteresting idea, I decided to make a board of the items available via my etsy shop this Christmas.

If you have been following along, you will know it has been a very slow year for harrysdesk. Although all the girls are now in school, I have missed my studio greatly. Unfortunately, I haven’t designed a decoration for Christmas this year, but still have some of the past years designs available.

I have a few more items to upload over the coming weeks, so pop back, if you like, and see whats new. I hope to add more owls, hair-ties and t-shirts…… so watch this space.

Now it’s your turn!

What should my next Pinteresting idea be?

You can choose by commenting below.

It can be as quirky or conservative as you like!


The gorgeous birthday girl with the jelly cake that did work. Photos by the lovely Charles Francis.

Our excitable 6 year old enjoyed a crazy mad science party a few weeks ago now.

When she suggested the idea I was a little out of my depth….. not having enjoyed science that much through school…. so I did what I do best and searched the internet for party ideas. Tim also had the great insight to ask some family friends of ours to help with the activities. They are a family full of crazy, fun, sciency folk and they did a marvellous job of entertaining and exciting the masses.

Because I was so thankful to all the people out there in cyber space posting their great ideas for me to use ….I thought  would put all the links together in one post for you to use and steal and enjoy.

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Playing with IT…. the slimy stuff.

Norfolk Kids have a great recipe for custard powder gooey slimy stuff!

The super geeks preparing the rocket for launching.

The water rocket was a great hit with the Dad’s and the kids.

The Aquapod bottle launcher could quickly become a family favourite. The launcher is safe and with just a bike pump and water sends the rocket about 100m in the air.

….. a little palaeontology anyone?

Wack with a hammer to reveal a dinosaur inside. A hit!

…similar ideas at Kids Activities Suite 101.

Marbled fingernail painting….

…a little something like this.

6 year old in her scrubs playing with ‘squishy circuits’.

‘Squishy Circuits’ are the brainchild of AnnMarie Thomas. See her TED talk here. These are super cool!!

Yes, it’s an old faithful….pass the parcel. The treats inside included ‘Smarties’ and ‘Nerds’ and crystal stickers.

No link here. I adapted this game all by myself.

Even when we really had no idea what we were doing we looked the part in our lab coats. These came courtesy of the high school our friend works at. They had authentic chemical stains.

Making ice-cream to eat with our birthday ‘cake’….which was actually jelly. BIrthday girls looks a bit sceptical about this one.

We jiggled and wiggled to science music making our ice cream. You can find the recipe here.

….ooops just realised that you all have seen this outfit before on a different birthday girl. Yes the girls do borrow each others clothes.

And speaking of food…..

An exploding (not really) jelly cake.

Made this one up too after the disaster of the ‘molecule cake’ 

Inside the test tubes was a jelly snake, and it’s hard to see but the jelly was layered lime aqua and pink.

A very cool and easy way to layer jelly. The link is down but you can see from the images here how to do it. All you need is a muffin tray.

It doesn’t show fully in the photo but these drinks were colour layered….it’s all to do with sugar content.

I found this cool idea at the sisters cafe. It also works in a larger jug.

A little difficult to see….. ‘Build a molecule’ tray of round food and toothpicks. Also little specimen cups full of jelly.

The ‘build a molecule’ idea came from Come together Kids. This blog has lots more ideas re:science party.

Balloons and flower balls as party favours. If you look closely you can see the water has H20 labels.

I have talked and made these tissue paper balls before. The instructions can be found at Martha Stewart (I couldn’t do a party without her) and the idea for re-labelling the bottles of water from Kara’s party ideas. As you could imagine ….there are lots more ideas for different parties to be found here.

Last of all 13 year old and I made bunting of real chemical elements (with a few made up ones).

Were you aware the R is the element Random and Da is the element Daring?

…… not to leave out science fiction …… see chemical element Et……

The idea for the bunting came from Apartment Therapy.

6 year old in excellent company…… mad scientist together.

I used the image of Einstein from the invitations…… then photographer 6 year old doing the same face. After a short fiddle with the colours in photo shop….. we had our bunting.

How do you start putting together ideas for a themed party?

What are the best ones you have ever hosted or been too and why?

Day 1: Big smile in her skirt into dress....oh and a sneaky owl!

Day 2: A Mary Poppins impersonation before leaving home. Another skirt made into a dress.... yes and am "Over it" Brooch to finish it off.

Day 3: Orientation done! I think a song is in order. Men's shirt into a skirt and top.

Leading up to orientating 5 year olds to school, she began getting very excited about upcycling skirts into dresses.

We had made one in the past, and she really enjoyed wearing it….bit small now…

On a recent trip to the Op Shop, 5 year old bought me the two ladies skirts and suggested we make dresses for her ‘try out days’. She called them this because  she was under the impression that she would try it…ask the teachers a few questions (Like what is 2+2… because if they didn’t know, then she thought they wouldn’t make very good teachers)…..

Anyway we thought we would turn it into a fun activity together. She would pick some pieces from the Op Shop and I would make her some things to wear. While I sewed she sat on the floor and floated around watching and learning what Mummy does.

These are what we ended up with!

The first one is simply made by attaching ribbons to the top of the skirt and tying them together at the shoulder.

With dress two, I made fixed straps with ribbon and attached the ties. I also added a little ribbon on the skirt yoke to draw the ribbon print into the overall dress.

The skirt and top is a little complex to explain in a sentence, but I hope to share a tutorial of how to do it soon. It’s a great (cheap) way to introduce children to sewing…..

Another Penhall!

July 20, 2011

Silvery grey Penhall..... with floral lining.

I’ve just posted this new one on etsy

It’s the second promised bag made using the colours inspired by you. You can see the green and blue version here.

I’m loving it, and was glad of the opportunity to put a silver grey bag together….as I have been wanting to use this colour combo for a while.

So thanks…..

The repositional rosette....

....and the back.

...the oval base with pleats...

The bag is also completely reversible. The other side is lined with a liberty-esque floral in blue green and grey tones with a touch of pink….so it’s a bit girlie.

...a peek at the inside....

The first Penhall for sale on etsy..... $140


Even closer. Rosette brooch detail.

The back.... or front (you can choose)

The base.....a pleated oval.

....a peek inside.....navy velvet.

But wait...there's more.... it's totally reversible!

Even switch the rosette to the navy side.

....and of course....it's a harrysdesk.

Lots of you will have an extra 10% discount on this price…and some even 20%….. due to the special anniversary bag give-away.

Thanks again to those who entered.

If you would like to sling this on your shoulder (or someone that you know) let me know and I will give you your special code word, so you can access your discount.

For a more detailed description and measurements ….. go here.

Steph's 'Ultimate Custom Purse'

This one was lots of fun to make!

Yesterday I posted about something harrysdesk that was featured on 30 projects in 30 days.

This was it.

If you missed it you can check out the original post with more photos here and on Steph’s blog.




Midnight tonight is it.

The last entries for the giveaway bag have to be in by midnight tonight.

Don’t miss out.

Green is leading the way as the base colour of choice…although red is doing it’s best to catch up.  Grey and silver tones are making a surprise showing up there in the top colours…as is yellow.

Your entry could change all this…

Random winner to be chose tomorrow….also a cute new product to show you.

Click through here to see how and why you would want to enter.


Blogoversary give -away

April 30, 2011

Wow… it’s been 2 years today since I started blogging!

I’m pretty stocked that I have kept it up and that you guys have kept coming back for more.


Last year I had a harrysdesk bag to give away, so I spent a long time wondering how I could celebrate this year.

So…… here’s what I have decided.

This year I have designed a new bag shape…. and it will be the prize.

That’s right, it isn’t made yet….. but it looks something like the sketch.

You all get to choose the colours.

I will make three…. in the most favoured colours.

One will be given away randomly to one of you, and I will list the other two on etsy for sale. A 10% discount for every entry you make will come off your purchase …. should you choose to buy one of these.

To enter leave a comment below telling me what your colour choice is….

…if you want more entries, you can…. blog it, facebook it, tweet it….. or some other creative form of getting the harrysdesk name out there.

Just leave a comment and tell me what you did and I will enter you as many times as you promote what I do.

I probably don’t need to say this…. but I love creativity… so if you think of an exceptionally creative way to tell others about what I do …. extra entries will come to you.

The bag will also be named after the winner.

The competition ends May 30th.

Commission for Cathy.

March 22, 2011


Cathy's Maid of Honour dress and upcycled purse... complete with rosette.

This is not one of my usual commission pieces. But it was a very special one.

During my time in fashion College and for some time after, I was ‘gainfully employed’ making all things wedding. This is my first wedding involvement in ages!

Not that surprisingly, Cathy’s wedding pieces aren’t made from ties… the other photos are purely to show you some other beautiful things I had no hand in.

I love this weddings feeling of joy.

God bless Taire and Josh in their new beginnings together.

Ben Adams is now my newest favourite photographer …. currently residing in Australia.

I hope you enjoy the photos as much as I did.


Photos thanks to Taire/Josh and Ben Adams (photographer).

For more photos of the gorgeous day (complete with jumping castle and ‘Crazy Booth’ go here

… and more on the brooch choosing….

Earlier I posted on 4 tag brooches as alternatives for the ‘Bronte’ bag , for my friend Dani.

After talking to her more, she thinks maybe a rosette would hit the spot better.

So here we go again….

Rosette brooch 1: Waratah with tails.

Rosette brooch 2. Covered button with crochet.



Rosette brooch 3: Black starburst with lace tail.

Rosette brooch 4: Circles on circles.

I’ve got a hunch which one she will choose…. which one do you think it will be!

Rosette 2.


Rosette 1.

Rosette 3.

Rosette 4.