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Peppermint Grove Candles

Friday, March 13th, 2015

New stock is arriving from our brief trip to the Sydney Gift Fairs last month, with lots more arrivals to come.  One particular item got us just a little excited – Peppermint Grove Candles…

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We have nearly turned ourselves inside out trying to find a great candle, that ticks all the boxes.  Strong scents, soy, Australian made and beautifully presented.  Two price points, large at $39.95 and small at $18.95.  Lovely gift, especially the very cute small size.  Very sweet!  The lovely fluted vessels used for the candles have been custom made especially.

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To quote from Peppermint Groves website

“Inspired by the opulence of grand old estates, stunning private gardens & heirloom antiques, Peppermint Grove Australia brings luxury and timeless sophistication to modern day contemporary living.”

Handmade in the exquisite Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Peppermint Grove Australia captures the remarkable beauty and exquisite charm of Australian living. Each and every fragrance has been carefully created to encapsulate a unique part of the Australian landscape; it’s beauty and the memories and experiences they invoke.

Stock is available at both our Healesville and Heathmont stores, so come in and have a sniff!

Newly Arrived- Autumn and Winter Clothing…

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

Just a few quick teasers of our newly arrived  Autumn and Winter clothing…my favourite season for dressing!  Lots more still to arrive, including Evas Sunday and the winter drop of Elk Accessories.  The first drop has been a big hit and we can’t wait for their beautiful knits to come…

winter clothesThis is a new clothing brand which is just a bit of fun, with gorgeous tweed waistcoats and lovely jackets which are great with a pair of jeans and boots- speaking of boots, we have both the Elk Wedge boots and Nancy Bird Tahli boots in store currently.

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Lots more to arrive, we are keeping the delivery man hard at work currently!!

 

Weathered…Yarra Valley

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

 

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Gardening in Faith…

Friday, January 9th, 2015

You have to have a good sense of faith to be a gardener- not the bended knee faith of praying, although a fair bit of time is spent on bended knees!  But the kind of faith that what you do now, will have an impact on the future at some point.  When you sow that lettuce seed, or plant garlic bulbs, there is faith and hope that in that simple act of gardening, you will be able to harvest a crop to feed your family and friends…Sometimes it works, and other times, for lots of different reasons, it doesn’t.  However, its always worth a try!

Months ago, late September, in fact, we planted a bed of dahlias and sunflowers at the rear of the house.  This has always been a funny area, a space which most people have, cluttered with rubbish bins, the clothes line, and a storage area for half used bags of potting mix and the like.  In our early gardening days, this area was home to beds made of galvanised tin, filled to the brim of collected oak leaves and manure, grass cuttings and boxes and boxes of fruit shop waste- no excursion beyond the gate ever returned without bounty of some kind.  I’m sure my mother was horrified as her precious grandchild was tucked in between bags of horse manure and grass clippings!  This was the home of many a great dahlia flower- with imaginative names, collected and preserved by a man called Hedley, who grew his dahlias in a place called Lima South.  In the height of summer you would traverse the highway, passing through golden pastures of scorched grass towards the Mansfield area.  Once over the bridge at Boonie Doon, which at that stage spanned padlocks of grass and gum trees, you turned left, then left again up a dirt track until you came to a paddock filled with all manner of dahlia flowers, sparkling like jewels , with Hedley, a gentleman in his late eighties presiding over them.  Tough decisions were made, notes exchanged and promises made of a letter later in the year, outlining the order taken…

Duly, as promised, the handwritten letter would arrive in October and later, after cheques were mailed in return, a box of dahlia tubers would arrive, and be lovingly planted into the beautifully composted soil.  A few months later, the jewels were our s to behold and rejoice in.  But time passes and with extensions and renovations, prolonged dry years and probably lack of attention to attacks made on the fresh new growth by snails and rabbits, our tubers from Hedley had all but disappeared.

PicMonkey Collagegarden then and now

Deciding this was the year to plan a dahlia frenzy, we remodelled the beds, spread lots of gravel and did a big tidy up- and again planted dahlia tubers in good faith of things to come.  Sadly, not Hedleys’ treasures, just a few random packs from Tesselars end of season sale, but still, nuggets of happiness!

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The thing I don’t understand is generally, I have strong views of what is acceptable colour in the world of flowers ( and most things actually!)  but these views fly out the window when presented with dahlias- the gaudier, the better!  They also have the most random names, like “Bracken Sarah”, Formby Crest” or “Elma Elizabeth”.  They are, in some ways, the bogan of the flower world- loud and brash, the brighter the better- unashamed to strut their stuff, and if it makes you feel uncomfortable, thats actually your problem, not theirs…

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Perhaps, Im a little jealous…

This year, we hope to get to the other side of town, just past Geelong to enjoy the dahlia display.  We do often promise ourselves these pilgrimages, but do find it a struggle to leave our patch of the Valley! If you feel you can  For more info, please visit Country Dahlias webpage.  Or if you are really keen and inspired head over to the Australian Dahlia Society, where there are lots of details of clubs around the country!

 

Christmas Decorations at morris brown, in store and online!

Saturday, December 6th, 2014

clown in grapeHave you put your tree up yet?  Ours at home has been up now for two weeks, living with a nine year old that has been asking for the tree to be put up since  Grand Final weekend, things tend to happen!! Lots of different christmas decorations are in store now, and we have even managed to snaffle a few for the Online shop too!  We seem to have a circus theme occurring…

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B. Sirrius- Summer 2014

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

The ever popular Melbourne range B Sirrius is in store now…The popular Messenger Bag shape is back, as well as wallets, three zip purses, useful for just about everything (!), cute wallets and luggage tags.

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We have the catalogue handy and are happy to order what you would like, if we don’t have it in stock!

Yarra Valley Open Studios Weekend- Interview with Michele Tanner

Friday, September 12th, 2014

Spring has sprung in the Yarra Valley, the grass is green and the skys are clearing as we head into the prettiest season of the year.  Over winter, there was much work happening behind closed doors, with the result being beautiful new places to visit with the opening of  Coombe Cottage and Meletos of Stones. Meanwhile,  lots of the artistically talented people of the Yarra Valley have been working hard to prepare their pieces for the Yarra Valley Open Studios this weekend. Growing in popularity each year, displaying a diverse range, including photography, textiles, ceramics, paintings, and so many more.  To taste a sample of whats’ on offer, Oakridge Winery is hosting an overview exhibition, so you can see what takes your fancy! (and maybe indulge in a little food and wine while you are there!)

In celebration of the Yarra Valley Open Studio Weekend,  morris brown is hosting a wonderful display of curios, collections, prints and paintings, all beautifully framed by local framer, Michele Tanner.  Michele is the one woman show behind Michele Tanner- Bespoke Framing, and her work speaks for itself.  She has had a busy time preparing other peoples work for display, but also found a little time to put together a collection of works that so suit morris brown.  Take the time to study the matching of the frames, to the tiniest detail in what is being framed.  It is truly beautiful. I have already mentally installed several pieces on different walls in my house!  The collections of old watch faces are gorgeous, and become significant pieces when curated this way, and the over the top framing of a tiny Tasmanian Devil swap card is a stand out!

Framing is almost like the accessory to the outfit, and can make or break a piece of artwork in how it corresponds with the piece.  A tricky game… Michele was kind enough to let us explore her world a little more…

            What attracted you to the Yarra Valley, and how long have you lived  here for?

I fell in love with the Yarra Valley when I moved out around 15 years ago, it is ridiculously beautiful here, it’s both energising and inspiring. I feel very lucky to live in the country side, i don’t have to commute and seldom have a need to travel into the city, apart for entertainment…everything is here. I feel a real part of a community here now, it’s full of such wonderful people. Our pace of life seems a lot less stressed than that of the city, there is more time to live, breathe and appreciate an idyllic life.

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The Valley has a vibrant artists scene, what are some of the things you enjoy about it, and how have you got involved with it over time?

The Yarra Valley has a large artists scene and I really enjoy working with them. I appreciate the way artists can communicate emotions visually, I have found them inspiring and encouraging. I can relate to them as I am a creative soul and love to hear about what they do, how they do it. I think its fun to bounce around ideas with them, framing their work for them is doubly fun!
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Often, we find our “thing” by accident, was that the case with your framing business, or was it something you always had an interest in?
My first Picture framing job was an employment add I applied for out of the blue after I had to leave my hairdressing job due to dermatitis, so many more chemicals back then! Framing Forum was the most fantastically creative job, I worked for a clever, enterprising artist, Janne Kearney and we had so much fun, it didn’t seem like work at all! After that business was sold I worked for a number of framers but never really enjoyed that much freedom and creativity, some were like supermarkets and some quite conservative and stiff. Then I started my own business and rediscovered my passion for design.
 I have worked as a picture framer for around 14 years, strangely I found a majority to be absolutely boring, (sorry) but they are lacking any personal interest in art and were not what you would call creative personalities. The choice of mouldings offered was really limited… homogenised even. I think if we are encouraging people to spend once on good products we don’t at sometime regret and want to replace, we should have a real choice. There is no love in mass produced “stuff” it may be “cheap” but it has no love in it. (It also often turns out to be morally expensive)
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 In some ways framing can either make or break a great piece of art, by giving it the finish that elevates it to a higher level, or detracts and distracts from the piece itself.  how do you ensure you find the balance and compromise required?
 I always like to find out if customer has an idea of what they want…a style, an era, a colour, feel or texture…then I usually set up samples to view, including some fairly out there alternatives. Sometimes the combination that works is the last thing you expected, it is always good to view a lot of choice to be sure it’s just right. My consultations are free and there with no obligation and I am always happy to show people the different possibilities without any pressure.
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I am lucky, I seem to have a good eye for my work. I have seen so many pieces framed over many years and I have a very clear view of the finished piece by looking at a corner sample. From this  experience I can see if it will be over whelmed, underwhelmed or sit comfortably and honour a piece. Generally, I like to keep things looking fairly contemporary but I do enjoy going over board with particular pieces, it can take it to another level to treat an image in a special way. I have included in my work for Morris Brown a number of examples of this – another level…the tripple framed Tasmanian Tiger is by far the most elaborate, this inexpensive little swap card is treated very seriously and this extinct animal is honoured .
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 Favourite artist, alive, or not, local, or not (!) and why?
I don’t have a favourite artist, I do like being affected and feeling inspired by art. I enjoy a number of different art forms such as short films, mixed media- I really like films like Švankmajer’s Alice, sculptures like Lisa Roet’s with her huge Chimpanzee’s bust, Bernault Smilde and his man made indoor clouds, Julia deVille with her dark decorated victorian taxidermy. I am keeping a keen, appreciative eye on the Australian contemporary artists – Sandra Hill paintings stands out, currently at Tarrawarra’s BIENNIAL 2014 “Behind my Mask”. I also think Michael Cook’s photograph “Majority rule” is pretty special.
Framing is obviously an art form in itself, but outside of this, do you pursue any other creative passions?
 I have always been very creative and I feel totally driven now (after exposure to artists around me) to pick up a brush and get painting but I’m still not quite sure where to start…I guess picking up the brush would be a start. Time to do this would be great!
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 Favourite places and spaces in the Valley; what do you enjoy doing here?
My favourite things to do in the Yarra Valley is to be outside, to bike ride along the trail with my kids or recently I have ridden up to Toolangi with friends. It is rather special to and walk around the weir’s or the Maroondah Dam, or spending time at the Healesville sanctuary with kids and visitors. I also can’t help but enjoy the fabulous food around the valley and it’s the wonderful, farmers markets, cafés, restaurants, cool wine bars and wineries. I couldn’t live anywhere else, it’s absolutely wonderful.

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Thanks Michele for sharing your life and beautiful work with us.  It has been great to  watch people respond to her work with such enthusiasm.  We wish everyone involved in this weekends Open Studios a very happy weekend, and with blue skies predicted, the Yarra Valley will be looking its sparkling best!!

Drumroll please…. And The Winners Are…

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

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We had a great response to our birthday competition. Thanks so much for all your liking, sharing, popping your heads in to say happy birthday , the emails and lovely comments so many of you made…

As promised, we drew the winners of the seven $25 morris brown Gift Vouchers today, and they are~

Bernadette Lewis
Leanne Davey
Jen Stone
Joanne Morris
Michelle Hall
Karen Jizba
Vicki Guppy

Please contact us via email, info@morrisbrown.com.au to arrange to collect your voucher from either our Heathmont or Healesville stores!
Stay tuned, we will be having other giveaways in the coming months, you all seem to like them, and so do we !

Yarra Valley Sunday Drive- Clare James “She Hides in the Ginko & Weaves Through the Night”

Friday, June 6th, 2014

It is  fitting that our Sunday Drive in the Yarra Valley this weekend of our seventh birthday, is to visit the exhibition of local Healesville artist, Clare James.  Clare has been a constant visitor to morris brown in the years since we opened, and it has been with great delight ,we have gotten to know Clare and her little family.  It has also been a pleasure to see her work feature on lovely cushions, and on beautifully made bags by Melbourne based Nancy Bird, which we have been fortunate to sell, but more importantly it has been wonderful to spend a little time  looking to the world as Clare does.  A passionate environmentalist, creator, gardener and so many other things, her current work is a joy- the words below are taken from Clares’ reference to her exhibition, now on show at the beautiful Yering Station, at  Yarra Glen.

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“I thought I needed to escape. a yearning to leave behind stories in the news of a changing climate, of war, and of nature being destroyed. My anxiety felt bigger than me. Run to the mountains, disappear into the desert, go and clean my mind in the ocean? I have a family I need to protect. I decided instead to sleep in my garden. Get to know another side of this place that calms me and is seemingly familiar.  Meet her micro world and her nocturnal world, her star world and her weather world from a little tent on the lawn.  So I disappeared into nature, in a tent, in my backyard for 31 nights.”

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Just a few snippets of what took my fancy!  Such a lovely space to be in.  A great weekend for a drive, the Valley in winter, with its foggy mornings and chilly air is gorgeous.  Wander past and see us at morris brown, under the elm tree in the main street of Healesville, just hanging about as we have done for the past seven years!  Put your name in the draw to win one of seven $25 Gift Vouchers… After all, you don’t turn seven every day!!

 

Change of seasons in the Yarra Valley…

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

The last days of Autumn were beautiful here in the Yarra Valley.  Winter has arrived suddenly, and I took the chance to treasure the last roses, still bravely flowering.  To fragile to enjoy inside, instead saved for a lasting memory…

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