Mag Square

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

. T A L E N T . C A L L . O U T . Magnolia Square Sydney show

Attention artisans, designers, crafts people, creators, collectors & curators!

We are seeking clever, artistic, bright young things to join the ranks of our incredible retailers at the upcoming Sydney event, November 12-14. 
This opportunity is perfect for new businesses wanting a high profile launch platform and ideal for more established businesses looking to expand their reach.

Meet our retailers & become part of the Magnolia Square community.  Do you belong in this picture?

These are the attributes we look for (including but not limited too) ...

~ a unique and original concept/product/label
~ high quality execution and finish
~ personal involvement in the design/creation/production process
~ a cohesive, well developed range
~ professional presentation/identity of your concept/product/label
~ above all, creativity!

If you would like further information on the show and/or wish to apply please email your business name, website and phone no. to and we will be in contact with you.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

store & co

I am currently on a quick tour of Tassie with my family. We were in Hobart this weekend and yesterday I got to check out Store & Co. 

It is full of the delightful bits and bobs that I adore - old wooden bobbins ranging from tiny to enormous, lovely candles (the really tall church variety), vintage ephemera bound in lovely journals to write in or just look at, books on craft & interiors many of which I hadn't seen before.

The space is big, a double shop frontage and in the afternoon the sun streams in giving a warm and friendly ambience. It was great to see the work of lots of Tassie crafters - I'll share those little gems in coming posts. Don't miss this shopping treat when next in Hobart.

Store & Co
130 Macquarie St
Hobart TAS
(03) 6224 9977

Thursday, September 23, 2010

ready, set, write

Stationery start up ellisbenson will reveal their lovely line up at our next event.  Here we do a quick behind the scenes with owners Taryn and Sally.

When did your business start?
We are brand spanking new! We launched our website in August.  Needless to say there have been squeals of excitement and the odd glass of champagne consumed! 

What were you doing pre ellisbenson?
Most recently, taking care of four little people between us and another on the way. Prior to that Sally was a primary school teacher and Taryn has spent the last five years juggling children with a career in event and sponsorship marketing.

What inspired you to begin?
The inability to find a suitable piece of paper in the house when we wanted to write a quick note!  (Suitable meaning not torn directly out of a spiral notepad or snatched in haste from the printer!!)

Jokes aside, sending a note to say thank you or I am thinking of you  is such a simple act of kindness.  That has really been our inspiration.

How would you describe your design aesthetic?
Clean, simple, classic lines. We work in silhouettes and outlines and shower them with colour.  It was important that the product did not dominate the personal message our customers would create. 

Where else do you show your product?
At the moment, with the exception of our little retail debut at Magnolia Square, we sell exclusively via our website at  

Most challenging aspect of the business to date?
Funnily enough, opening a bank account was our first hurdle! Having been ‘sheltered’ in large businesses for so long, dealing with the nitty gritty details of administration was a big deal.  It was a relief to finally jump through the hoops and pass GO!

Many decisions at the outset are a classic ‘chicken or the egg’ scenario.  Example - do we select our printer before our paper, or our paper before our printer as one has a great impact on the colour and finish of the end product.  There was no secret to getting this balance right – we simply threw ourselves in the deep end, and asked as many questions as we possibly could to ensure we were making informed decisions along the way.

Post launch, the challenge has been educating our customer. Personalised stationery per se conjures up preconceived ideas. It has not always been design orientated and it has tended to be expensive, or based on a format of ‘insert name here’, all of which Ellis Benson is not! 

Why do you love what you do?
Ellis Benson has allowed us to harness our creativity.  We met in high school and have been crafting ideas ever since! We are thrilled to be learning and achieving things together.
high school besties Sally Dymond & Taryn Beck

Plus, it’s a privilege to be thought of within hours of a new baby arriving or to be creating paper for our customers when they simply want to congratulate someone for a job well done. 

Ellis Benson is about living life beautifully and celebrating the nice things in life.   What more could you ask for?

To celebrate the launch of ellisbenson, Sally & Taryn are giving away 3 personalised sets valued at $24.95 each.  To be eligible to win join the mailing list at the this link.

Three winners will be announced on the blog the week commencing 4th October.

Monday, September 20, 2010

sugar coated

Just beautiful images. Cannot beat 1950's fashion photography and the macaroons are thrown in for good measure.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

combine two great loves

Love your i-phone, love chocolate?

iphone / chocolate / iphone / chocolate.  I can't decide which is best so heck, iphone meet chocolate, chocolate meet iphone.  Chocolate is going to protect you iphone.  But who will protect chocolate? It's a good thing you are silicone because the bottom of my bag just couldn't have handled it. 

I think i really need one of these.  If you feel the same go here.

Friday, September 17, 2010

in the frame - our love affair with polaroid

andy warhol lending his considerable artistic credentials
to the icon image maker

What's with this crazy love affair we're all having with polaroid! I'm the first to put my hand up, if you receive our newsletter you will know that i am a polaroid junkie,  regularly turning otherwise crisp, modern images into slightly over exposed white bordered pics that look like they might have come out of an old shoe box.  And that's exactly what we love about them; they look old - they look familiar. Aaahhh nostalgia.

I have had more than a few enquiries as to how to make polaroid style pictures.  The secrets up, I am happy to share.  I use a little whiz of an application called poladroid which is an online tool for windows and mac users.  At the risk of sounding like an infomercial for them, it is very cool, clever and super easy to use.  The best part is the lovely sound effect, oh and it's free.

Check it out here

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Jane Schouten

Here is an artist whose work I am very attracted to.  It is a combination of things that I love.  The use of old thrifted articles to create something new, the kalidescope of colours that just work,  meandering stitiches a sequin here and there and discovering something new in the work each time you look.

The grey material is an old packing blanket - the type used by removalists.  The chair looks as though it may have been salvaged from an old government building on rubbish day.  The result is inspired.

 These small details are beautiful.  The aqua and pink just sing.

And this is just too much - I love it.

Jane also makes these beautiful wall vases.  Love, want, need 50 of those - nothing makes an impact like a mass display.

This colour pops - it looks like coral.  Love the small bits of pink in the framed picture on the wall.  Ties the look together without being too obvious.

For more lovliness head straight to the blog All the Luck in the World.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

call out to designer makers ...

Bloom at Magnolia Square's Malvern event is a new platform for emerging designer makers to showcase their work.  It is with true passion and a commitment to grass roots creativity that we have dedicated a space to designers, artists and makers just beginning down the path of creative entrepreneurialism.

Click here for more information about bloom.

bloom retailers at the August show ...
milkwood design, evie lala, clucky, vintage prints, phillipa gerard, rabbit and the duck, pia handmade

Monday, September 6, 2010

a collection a day 2010

This blog, called simply a collection a day, is the handy work of illustrator Lisa Congdon.  Here Lisa shows one little collection each day from her overall enormous collection of found objects.  That's right, there is one post for each and every day of 2010. Hmmm. Then what? I guess it just all comes to a big fat end and everyone goes home.  Until then, these are some of my favourites.

What it is about me and stationery that attracts me this collection of old pencil sharpeners!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

comfy cosy : Donna Wilson

Flipping through the July issue of UK mag LivingEtc I have just stumbled upon designer/maker Donna Wilson. For the first time - what an exciting find!  I am beginning to think I have had my head in the sand  of late!  Donna's business began with knitted creatures in 2003 (see Cyrill Squirrel Fox below) but has since expanded to furniture and ceramics. 

I LOVE her 2010/11 catalogue so I have made a collaged version below.  Check out her website at or head to Safari Living in Prahran, the Melbourne stockist of Donna Wilson.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

it's hip to be square

Geek is so hot right now that fashionable types are looking to their "nerdy" peers and acquaintances for sartorial inspiration.  While Geek was once a derogatory term used to describe computer & technology experts with a tendency for social awkwardness, it is now worn as a badge of honour by the fashion elite!

If you are not a techno gadget whizz but wish to pass for one, just follow our step by step guide.

1. Your space should look good but must also be educational  - decorate with garlands made from an old atlas and brush up your geography too! {source - vintageprints}
2. Always carry a Swiss army pocket knife with handy built in USB stick. You ever know when you might need to back up a file.  {source - gadgettastic}
3.  Install the math clock, a great conversation starter at geek dinner parties {source - rawspace}
4. Don't think about leaving the house without appropriately thick, black, chunky glasses{source - linda farrow vintage}
5. This vest t shirt proves that geeks have a cool sense of humour too {source - prankplace}
6. A stack of computer text books just to have hanging around the place
7. The ultimate geek shoe invented by real life geek Daniel Reese {source - walyou}

super cool vintageprint gift pack - 10 handcrafted atlas envelopes / project kit to make your own atlas bunting / atlas garland.  Email name, address and phone no. to telling us the geekiest thing in your wardrobe or house. Geekiest answer wins!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

she's leaving home

I love nothing more than meandering around my local readings book shop with no time constraints.  I'll generally end up with a pile of 10 or so books that i HAVE to HAVE before I have whittled it down to perhaps 2 or 3 essential reads. Recently I scooped up She's Leaving Home written by Monica Trapaga and illustrated by the incredibly talented Meredith Gaston.

If you have young children you might recognise her from Playschool re-runs but there's a lot more to Monica than humpty dumpty or the wheels on the bus! This is the most divine cook book of family recipes, written by Monica for her daughter Lil who recently left home. Monica also has a shop in Sydney's Summer Hill called reclaim, overflowing with the handmade and reclaimed treasures.

Monica's tips on how to make exciting sandwiches ...
they look way too good to eat!

The clever collages throughout the book are by Monica

Are these illustrations not amazing? I am obsessed with Meredith Gaston's work.  I have one lovely original, purchased through Fiona Lang, owner of Sydney based online art gallery Kindergallery.  I love the rosebud lips, the pink cheeks and the quirky little additions like birds, chooks and flowers.

We have a copy of She's Leaving Home to give away to one of our readers.  To enter please email telling us what you love about Meredith's work. The most inspired answer will win.  (update 20 Sep  - Lucky Winner was Judy Pace of Taylors Lakes).

. read more about Meredith Gaston at urbanboheme
. visit Reclaim 48 Lackey Street, Summer Hill NSW
. to see more of Meredith's work visit