Search results for 'bluebird'

Bluebird Market, Leura

20 Dec

We love driving up the Blue Mountains for a weekend outing. It’s a little like going on holiday, its only an hour or so’s drive for us and yet the climate is always cooler, snowing if you’re lucky! The view of the tree dense canyons breathtaking, the cafes beckoning you with their rustic fare and warming hot drinks. The Blue Mountains is also home to a number of great little markets. These range from garage sale type markets with a relaxed country vibe to boutique craft markets. Like many of the stores in trendy Leura that cater well to the hordes of Sydneysiders and tourists that flock there on a weekend, so to does the Bluebird Market, specializing in hand-made boutique products.

The market is somewhat hidden but a string of colourful bunting leads the way along a path to reveal a small cluster of about 20 marquees set in the carpark of The Alexandra Hotel. Only 100 metres from the Leura train station, so an easy stroll should you choose to catch the train. The market is also within walking distance to Leura Village which is notoriously hard to get a carpark on the weekend. There are no food stalls except for a coffee stall but there is an abundance of cafes nearby as well as the Hotel, which has a lovely outdoor area.

We browse beautiful screen printed linen cushions and bags, pretty handmade baby clothes. Little Miss buys a very cute string of miniature felt bunting for $1 and ponders over paint tins collaged with Lego, buttons and beads. Textile Designer, Fiona Lenord is there selling her range of dresses fashioned from fabric that may have once been a linen tablecloth or a silk scarf. Fiona has found in her dressmaking a creative outlet for all the wonderful finds she comes across in op shops and second-hand markets. Looking at the dresses it is almost hard to believe that the fabric is second-hand even vintage. Free of the stains and age spots that you might normally see on such fabric but still nostalgic. Looking at the designs, customers find themselves transported back to their childhood, maybe their Nanna’s kitchen as she bakes a batch of scones or a beach caravan holiday in the 70’s.I love this sense of memory invoked by ordinary everyday items.

Fiona Lenord


Front Porch by Fiona Lenord

15 Jun

Upcycle: verb. To reuse (discarded objects or material) in such a way as to create a product of higher quality or value than the original, moving it ‘up’ the consumer goods chain.


I love creative people who breathe new life into old things. I’m not talking about The Toy Story theory of extending a discarded item’s life by passing it on to another to be loved all over again but rather upcycling. Pushing the boundaries of an item’s original purpose and creating a new form. Front Porch is one such brand riding the upcycling wave. Front Porch was launched in 2012 by Fiona Lenord after making a tree change to the Blue Mountains, NSW. Behind the brand is Fiona’s 23 years experience as a Textile Designer specialising in hand painted florals, including 13 years with iconic Australian brand Sheridan. This wealth of experience shines through her apparel and homewares designs. The attention to detail and the love put into each piece is really beautiful.

FP cushion

The Front Porch signature piece is a dress made from upcycled textiles. The design is a simple strappy A line cut with a soft rope drawstring, tapering down to varying lengths. Fiona describes her latest best seller, The Foofoo, as “the love child of a poncho and a kimono. Both styles can be layered up and down for all seasons. Worn casually or dressed up for weddings and formal events”.

FP foo

A keen op shopper who loves hunting through secondhand stores and flea markets for vintage items, Fiona found herself “rescuing” old fabric like brocade, seersucker, vintage lace, retro 60’s prints, Australian printed tea towels, embroidered and crocheted tablecloths and doilies. The textiles span across the decades creating diversity in Front Porch, “I have a collection that is constantly rotating from soaking tub to a dye bath, clothes line, sewing machine and ironing board” notes Fiona. The history of the textiles also strike up sentimentality in her customers, some have even commissioned dresses made from family heirloom fabrics. “My biggest surprise has been the repeat customers. I have some customers who own over 30 of my dresses! I have met an amazing network of creative women and friends through this venture and feel lucky to have bonded so quickly with the Blue Mountains community”.


In keeping with the nostalgia of her products is Fiona’s brand name: Front Porch, “I wanted a name with nostalgia, history and quintessentially Australian. I grew up on a fruit Orchard in Kurmond. Our fibro 1960s bungalow had a decorative Besser block Front porch. It was a backdrop to many family photos, a place to greet visitors and hang out.”



This is my Front Porch dress (above) made from a white tablecloth with pale blue embroidery and trimmed with vintage lace. Not only is it cool to wear on hot days and perfect for throwing over my cossies at the beach, it’s also super comfy! I honestly feel like I’m wearing my PJs but I must look fabulous as I always get comments whenever I wear this.

FP plum

I first met Fiona on her stall at The Bluebird Market in Leura and now I have the privilege of calling her my friend. Talented designer is but one of her many hats. Fiona is also a wonderful mother, a professional wearer of red lipstick and owner of a great infectious laugh. I urge you all to seek her out. Front Porch has a stall at The Glenbrook Rotary Market on the 3rd Saturday of every month in the lower Blue Mountains. This is a lovely market full of local farmers, bakers, artisans and producers. Front Porch also visits other Sydney markets so please Like the Front Porch Facebook page for updates. Fiona regularly sells direct from her Front Porch Facebook page so even if you are not in Sydney you can still own one these unique pieces.


Do you own a Front Porch original?

* Thank you to Fiona Lenord for the use of some of her images.

%d bloggers like this: