Mag Square

Sunday, November 27, 2011


This completely gorgeous tote is up for grabs and entering is simple.  Join the SISKEN email list online or visit the SISKEN stand at Magnolia Square to sign up.  Entries close Saturday 3rd December at 4pm.  The winner will be notified via email and arrangements will be made to get the tote to that lucky person ASAP!!

The Montgomery Tote has a rrp of $349.  It is an oversized, soft leather, slouchy tote bag featuring two versatile strap options. Multiple internal and external pockets, inside a leather pouch for your phone, key hook and zip pocket for all your essentials. A popular and stylish every day bag or a great baby bag. 


Post Update on 9th December .... Congratulations to Vanessa Jansen of Hawthorn who was the lucky winner of this gorgeous bag.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

magnolia square is now supporting VERY SPECIAL KIDS

I am thrilled to say that commencing with the upcoming event at the Malvern Town Hall, Magnolia Square will be raising funds and awareness for VERY SPECIAL KIDS.

Very Special Kids is a not for profit organisation whose purpose is to support families throughtout their experience of caring for children with life threatening illnesses, from diagnosis through to recovery or bereavement.  They are currently supporting more than 800 families across Victoria.

Today I met with Yvonne Flynn, the Corporate & Community Fundraising Manager at Very Special Kids House in Glenferrie Rd Malvern.  I learnt about the origins of VSK (it was started by 2 families in 1984 who were both going through the trauma of their children dying) and had the special priviledge of meeting some of the dear little children who are currently staying in the house; it was a very moving experience to say the least.

These gigantic piggy banks, all with their own names and personalities are the iconic symbol of Very Special Kids and we are hoping to "park a pig" smack bang outside the Malvern Town Hall.  We will be raising funds through a piggy bank on our reception desk as you enter the event and also selling raffle tickets for a BUMPER sized hamper made up of all sorts of Magnolia Square goodies!!! We would LOVE your support in raising funds for this wonderful cause.


Monday, November 21, 2011

in the spotlight : morgan wills

Long time Mag Square retailer Morgan Wills and her family have swapped the hectic pace of Melbourne for a more relaxed lifestyle in Ballarat ... certainly just as busy but hopefully more enjoyable!!

This is a very exciting direction for you Morgan – a new home, a sweet little corner shop. Tell us about the lead up to opening the crafty squirrel … 
Thanks Nic! I have always thought it would be pretty fun to have my own store (and let’s face it I had to do something with my collected treasures!). The thing is I had to make it work for me around a busy wholesale business. The only way I could do it was if I combined the shop with my studio and after finding the perfect place to do that in central Ballarat – we made the tree change from Melbourne in January of this year and got down to business!

Cnr Errard & Urquhart Streets | Ballarat Central | Victoria | Ph: 03 5331 4548
Open Friday - 10am to 5pm & Saturday - 10am - 4pm |

I have spent the last 20 years collecting so The Crafty Squirrel is a culmination of that collecting history and quite eclectic! My own work is always very bright and colourful and I have been drawn to a similar palette when stocking the store. Keeping the walls and furniture predominately white has worked really well as my products stand out. I have also installed a beautiful red linoleum floor, multi-coloured glass louvers in the top of the windows, a variety of vintage wallpapers on the furniture and have picked up the green from my logo for the front door.

Alongside your own gorgeous bits, what else will we find there? 
A wonderful mix of old and new sit side by side - unique gifts, cool craft kits, homewares, vintage fabrics, gorgeous haberdashery and of course all of the work created under my eponymous label – Morgan Wills. I also have lots of cute Japanese and Korean stationery, French sewing notions, American embroidery kits from Sublime and lots of vintage aprons and souvenir tea towels and tablecloths. Also in the lead up to Christmas I am releasing a brand new range of craft and sewing based products under the Crafty Squirrel label.

How has the response been from Ballarat locals? Are you settling in to a creative community and meeting like minded people? 
It has been amazing! I didn’t really know what to expect - the shop has been open five months and I can honestly say I love it! I have had quite a few customers come in to the store and just take a breath of delight. Most spend ages going around and discovering all the things I have collected and telling me stories of how they remember their Mothers or Grandmothers having these things and others say that they have come because someone else has told them about the shop and that they had to come and are just thrilled to be there which is sweet.

The shop is a lot of fun and full of unexpected treasures. My husband says that he wishes he knew of a shop like mine that I didn’t know about so that he had a secret place to go and buy me gifts! Having said that I have had a few wives bring their husbands in to the shop and say – “If you ever want/need to buy me a gift…this is where you should come”! I have met so many lovely local people who seem really excited to have a shop like this in their neighbourhood and have been very welcoming of me and my family. I also have many customers who drive up from Melbourne to visit just for the day and then want to know where else to go while they are in Ballarat.

Tell us about some other great shops and cafes we should visit in Ballarat and nearby … 
To mention just a few in Ballarat… 
Cake Bakeshop - for great coffee and the cutest cupcakes ever – 30 Main Road. 
Antiques, Goods and Chattels – one of my favourite antique shops in Ballarat – I always seem to find something I just have to have! - 34 Main Road. 
Eclectic Tastes - for yummy lunch & coffee – 2 Burnbank Street. 
Ballarat Patchwork – for the most gorgeous quilting fabrics – 54 Victoria Street. 
The Main Bar – for the yummiest pizza I have ever eaten! – 28 Main Road. Art Gallery of Ballarat – I feel so lucky to have the Gallery in my neighbourhood. I just love taking visitors there. They have a really fantastic show on at the moment called Australian Modern Masterpieces until 27 November – 40 Lydiard Street North. 
The Upholstery Gallery – great for a spot of shopping and a coffee in their cute little in store cafĂ© – 528 Mair Street. 

What do you miss the most about Melbourne? The least? 
Miss – Vietnamese food in Footscray and Yum Cha in china town. Don’t miss – traffic!

Do you have any new goodies to show at Magnolia Square in Dec? 
Absolutely! I have been super busy putting together a very cute range of new Crafty Squirrel products which would make lovely gifts for crafty friends and family and have also made some special edition Christmas things and will be bringing some cute bits and bobs I have collected in my travels. Looking forward to it!

For more ...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

in the spotlight : hide & sleep

As well as bringing you all the best, most niche, most gorgeous products  ... we think it is also important to bring your attention to creative people providing fabulous services.  Jacinda Malloy of Hide & Sleep  is one such person and is new to Magnolia Square.  Jacinda provides a one stop shop for parents wanting to make a beautiful space for their children. You will find her in the BLOOM area near the cafe.

Tell us about the service you provide and why you think there was a gap in the market place? 
Hide & Sleep is an Interior Design service focused on Children's Rooms. I started Hide & Sleep after witnessing first hand how much difficulty mother's have making decisions when it came to their children's rooms. They often know what they liked and have great taste and style, but lacked the confidence of being able to bring the room together. Sometimes they are so overwhelmed with choice that they make no decision at all and 13 years pass and the children still have sesame street bean bags.

I noticed there were many interior design services but none specialising in kids rooms, and i actually like kids more than adults (most of the time), so it seemed the perfect business for me. Now i get to work with children, be creative, meet lovely women, and feel a sense of satisfaction when i see my client's faces and watch the children's excitement, when they show off their new room.

Have interiors always been your background or was it a hobby you were passionate about ... 
I owned a home wares shop in Moonee Ponds, Melbourne for a couple of years and worked at L'Oreal so i have always had an interest in design, fashion, furniture & interiors. With no children (YET) of my own, i didn't see myself becoming a children's interior designer but you never know where life will take you, and i enjoy it so much that i now can't imagine doing anything else. 

How would you describe your look/style in children's interiors 
As a Libran (star sign) I am very indecisive, so what i like now, may be different tomorrow. My style changes regularly but I will always love the sweet touches to a room. It's finding that perfect lamp, painting the stool sage green, discovering that Pinocchio doll at Camberwell market, or having something personal embroidered into a pillow, it's the personal touch that i love to bring to the rooms of my clients. 

What are you top 3 sources of inspiration 
One of my closest friends Katrina - every time i go to her home she has something new and quirky that i love, never expensive, but it's always cool. I am forever stealing her ideas. - pinterest is an amazing source of inspiration but i am finding it maybe too addictive. - the children i work with. I will have an idea & then one of them will bring home a Christmas decoration they have made and my idea goes out the window, and the room becomes themed or inspired by this little decoration they have made.

Can you give our readers a couple of cute design tricks they can implement quickly and inexpensively? 
 I love using wrapping paper. I use it to make inexpensive pictures, by framing different papers. I use it to cover the back of bookshelves to give them a new, revived look. Letters are very popular at the moment, so now i cover them in wrapping paper or newspaper to give them a quirky feel. It's inexpensive, & you only need to add glue or double sided tape and can you will be surprised by how many great wrapping papers there are out there. Calenders are another simple way to update pictures in children's rooms. I often buy calenders from etsy with handmade illustrations, or sweet photography, then cut images to size and frame. I often get 12 wonderful images that i can use for much less than i would pay to buy them individually. You can then give the left over dates to the children to use for BINGO. just kidding, well i guess you could if you wanted to. see i just came up with another clever idea..

Jacinda Malloy - Interior Stylist
Hide & Sleep

0401 757 116  and

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Christmas Shopping // Mag Square St Kilda

If you are in Melbourne YOU MUST come by and see Magnolia Square at the St Kilda Town Hall. Here is a preview ...
a very large gold pallett piled high with presents, mysteriously left in our foyer ... was that you Santa?

mini labo (below) is divine .... especially great gift ideas for little girls

cadeau republic (below) have a very clever stand, made completely from 
cardboard ... the effect is fantastic 

glamm living add a brilliant pop of colour to the show with their innovative indoor/outdoor seating options.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

in the spotlight : vintage prints

Vintage Prints has recently had a tree change and opened a studio space, tell us about that.
 We were both ready for a change so a few months ago we moved house and studio from Mt Dandenong to Inverloch – we swapped the trees for the sea. Inverloch is a lovely little place right on the coast and we love walking on the beach looking for shells, pebbles, driftwood and feeling inspired by the natural beauty of the Australian coast and bush. 

We moved into a small, open-plan place that is close to the beach and town centre. So with the house sorted, we were on the hunt for a studio space. By chance we found a small showroom and office space that was the right size for us and within our budget. The landlord drew up a gentleman's agreement and voila, we had a studio/storage space to work from and a showroom/shop as well. Its great fun having a shop and we can't wait for the summer season when all the tourists flock to Inverloch. We hear they love to shop! 

Sourcing lovely old books, journals etc to work with is essential for VP to continue generating new stock. How difficult is this to do? 
 It is an essential part of the business and luckily its something we both enjoy. Since the move we have had to find new places to source vintage books and materials, but that is part of the fun – jumping in the car with a full tank of petrol and a day full of promise. We find sourcing vintage materials more time consuming rather than difficult, and as we become more specific and selective about the books we want, some of the legwork can be done over the phone. And some of our customers will tell us about a great little shop or about the stash of old books their parents have packed away in boxes.

Do you have any exciting new products that you will be bringing to the next 2 shows? Can we have a sneek preview? 
We have been working on some new, Christmas-themed products for the St Kilda and Malvern events – decorations for the Christmas tree, Christmas bunting to decorate the house, and a range of cards made from vintage Christmas postage stamps. And some lovely paper fold sculptures that would be great presents for the person who has everything.

There are lots of lovely paper related blogs out there - what are your top 3?

Besides Mag Square, where else can we buy your fabulous products? 
We have an online shop, where people can view and buy over 250 products. Our products are available at some retail stores and also at various markets, see our website for details,

 vintage prints at Magnolia Square St Kilda earlier this year - they always do a GREAT stand

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

in the spotlight : the wolf and i

Pip Thompson and Sam Avery have been mag square retailers for several years now under their own labels Pip & Maude and OhmeOhmi. The girls have more recently combined their love of fashion and their Melbourne style to create a fabulous collection under the quirky guise of THE WOLF AND I.

We love the name … where did it come from? Who is the Wolf, Sam or Pip? 
After quite a bit of brain storming we came up with ‘the Wolf and I’. We like the fact our name represents a duo. ‘Amy Blackwell’, a very talented illustrator from the UK design our gorgeous logo. Who is the WOLF?...we will leave that for you to decide! 

Tell us about your backgrounds ...
Sam – I have worked in the fashion industry for a number of years, mainly behind the scenes in wholesale. Since having a family I have become more involved in fashion design which I love. It is really exciting seeing an idea or sketch come to fruition. And even more exciting seeing women wearing our clothes! 

Pip - I have come from a design background which has naturally lead into a mixture of creative ventures including the evolution of Pip & Maude handmade cards and stationery. I have always had an interest in fashion and the development of my own individual style while trying my best not to follow trends. While it is still a juggling act we can work our own hours from our home offices and are still able to sneak in a few coffees at our favourite haunts in St Kilda and Balaclava - The Galleon, Il-fornaio & Monk.

Describe the women who wears the wolf and I. What famous person would you most like to see in your clothes. 
We design clothing that we want to wear aiming at women who are 30+. The Wolf customer loves linen & cottons, wool and silk, layering and wrapping to suit their body. She has a relaxed, effortless approached towards fashion and likes to ‘wear clothing’ rather than clothing ‘wear her’!. One thing we are learning is that you can’t please everyone and that it is important to stay true to your vision! Famous person we would like to dress - Asher Keddie – AKA - Nina from Offspring. We love her personal style.

With so much competition in women’s wear, how do you make sure your offering is unique? 
The Wolf and i are keeping all our manufacturing in Australia. We believe women can see the value of an Australian made garment and it also gives us the opportunity to work closely with other Australian owned businesses.

What are your plans for the label over the next couple of years? 
The Wolf and I will be exhibiting at LIFE IN STYLE tradeshow 2012. We have had such a positive response so far selling at design markets, now it is time to take the next step and go wholesale! Stayed tuned for stockists next year!

Where can we buy the range (other than Mag Square!)? 
Doing events like Magnolia Square are invaluable. We hope to be doing these sort events for a long time. Listening to customer feedback is very beneficial in the development our collection. We are very excited to have just launched our online store We have been surprised with how many women shop online! 

wear me three way cardigan

What hot right now item are you coveting? 
Sam - while I love all my Wolf clothing a girl needs to wear shoes! I am loving my charcoal D’Co boots. That’s one thing I love about Melbourne, you can pretty much wear boots all year round! 
Pip - Ageless skin ... failing that looking appropriately youthful in the Wolf.

What do you see as the fashion basics for any women’s wardrobe? 
1. Every women needs one of our ‘wear me three way’ cardigans! It is so versatile. It can be worn as a wrap – tied around the waist, or wear loose. OR turn the cardigan upside down to create a completely different look – it becomes a bolero that looks great wrapped around a dress. Don’t worry! The cardigan comes with instructions!! 2. Our ‘roam in a day’ wrap dress is definitely a staple for your summer wardrobe, the little frill detail adds a touch of quirky femininity! 3 . We do love a clog!! Any colour will do!!

Your 3 fave Melbourne stores. 
1. Gorman 2. Lee Matthews 3. the Wolf and i online store!!

Check it out at  The wolf and i will be at St Kilda this Fri Nov 11th - Sun Nov 13th. Click here for details

Monday, November 7, 2011

in the spotlight : angus & celeste

After a little break from Magnolia Square mid year, Asha & Keir, the design duo from Angus & Celeste are back for the next two shows.  If like me you adore their work then you'll be excited to hear there is lots of lovely new pieces in the range.

Tell us how A&C first started 
After we both finished university, we were looking for something small scale that we could make together while living in a tiny terrace in the Northern suburbs of Melbourne. We started making decorative pendants from bone china in the 2x2 meter laundry that we transformed into a workshop. We both enjoyed it and we have been expanding ever since.

Your success and the expansion of your brand has been pretty amazing. Describe how that has been. 
The past few years have been incredibly busy. We have put so much energy, and time into the growth of our business and this can be pretty stressful when coupled with the usual daily grind that comes with just making a business function. We constantly chatter, argue, plan and dream. We think the longer you do something the easier it becomes. Systems and an ability to know when to switch off are a necessity.

How does a typical day unfold at the A&C studio? 
We usually start the day with the emails, (we both spend way to much time on the computer these days!) then we set onto packing orders from our website and for our stockists. We have both now expert skills in the art of packing a fragile product! A trip to the post office usually follows. Once these tasks are done we feel more clear headed to start the day with bigger picture stuff. The general tasks vary, and are usually production based. We both enjoy unpacking the kiln. It is satisfying but can also be heartbreaking when things don't work! We both put a lot of energy into co ordinating the folks that help us with our manufacture. We call it our guerilla work force. The wonderful women who help us achieve our final product are just great and we would be lost without them.

You have such a strong “signature” aesthetic. How do you remain so true to that yet manage to evolve so seamlessly?
It is hard to answer but we think we owe a lot to our fine art training which has a strong focus on developing a distinctly individual aesthetic and then refining it. We are also aware that we cant do everything, Ceramics and illustration is our core and we try and push these two elements as far as we can within the commercial reality of making and selling a product to earn a living. Understanding this balance is pretty important.

What has been a best selling product for you? 
Our rings are a constant favourite which is why we do over 50 different patterns and colours! We try to have one to suit everyone. Our bracelets are also a silent achiever, they are very tricky to make but we think the end result is something quite special and timeless. They are something that will not go out of fashion. Our botanic bottles and vases have also been great. People have really responded to these which is great as we enjoy making them.

What new product are you most excited about? 
We are pretty excited about our new hanging gardens. They took a long time to develop. We had initially made some for our selves and had them hanging on our own verandah. We both love growing things. It took a while but we eventually got them up and running as a product. We hope that people get the same enjoyment out of them as we have had. We also hope that they are a product we can continue to evolve.

5 tips for a creative person starting their own adventure …
1.) Patience.
2.) Planning. As well as remembering that Rome wasn't built in a day.
3.) A general love and interest in what you do
4.) Don't compare your self to others- just be yourself and do your own thing.
5.) The most significant of all is persistence. Without this you are doomed!

What does the next 12 months hold for A&C ?
Carve out more time to enjoy the creative side of the business. At the moment this is our biggest most concrete goal for 2012.

where do you hope to be in 5 years? 
We hope in five years we are still able to be making items which we and other people love and desire. We also hope to have the time to make more one-off creations that don't need to be repeated. Managing production with strict consistency is pretty hard work! We hope to have more creative freedom in 5 years.

Last of all, dream holiday location? 
We live in the Dandenong Ranges in outer Melbourne. This year has been so wet, rainy and cold! Our dream holiday location at the moment would be anywhere that is warm and dry with blue sky! We are planning some jaunts to the North of Australia. Darwin is currently at the top of our list. Also WA is meant to be amazing in spring when all the wildflowers are in bloom.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

martha gets me in the zone

I am determined to be more hands on for Christmas this year.  In the past I've been so hands on with Magnolia Square that by Christmas day I can barely stand the thought of another fluffy paper pom pom or a meticulously wrapped box of home baked gingerbread! But that is NOT the spirit and this year I want to get myslef in the zone.

You've gotta admit it, there is something lovely about the tickety boo, strawberries & cream images from the Martha Stewart Inc machine ... especially at "holiday" time.  I have trawled through a whole lot of average ideas to come up with these inexpensive, creative and downright cute little Christmas projects, all courtesy of the queen of craft herself.

idea #1 is to create your own beautiful gift wrap by colour photo copying lovely fabrics (maybe from a pretty floral dress or a scarf you love, it'd be liberty fabrics of course for me!!)

idea #2 is to fill an otherwise empty jar with a colourful lolly selection and give it as a gift.  The Bonne Maman jam jars would do the job very nicely!

idea #3 involves re purposing last years christmas cards into colourful decorations for this years tree, click here for Martha's guide on how to

and idea #4 uses ribbon off cuts and coloured craft board to make very sweet place cards for the Christmas day table more from Martha here.

I'd love to hear your ideas for Christmas, please use the comment box below ...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

in the spotlight: retro print revival

A love of the bright, bold and beautiful textiles of the 60's and 70's together with a skilled eye for pulling a look together has placed Tamara Watts well and truly in the retro spotlight.  We are really excited to have Tamara with us in a couple of weeks at the St Kilda show.

How did Retro Print Revival come about Tamara?
About five years ago, I held an exhibition of vintage fabrics stretched over canvasses. Almost as afterthought, I made a lampshade to go with an old lamp base I’d found, and put in it the exhibition as well. It totally stole the show, and Retro Print Revival was born!

What is your background?
I studied Visual Merchandising at RMIT, and worked in the industry for over five years, both freelancing and for Country Road as a Visual Merchandiser/Stylist. The transition to full-time lamp creation only happened about two years ago after completing the NEIS Scheme in early 2010.

First childhood memory of yourself as a creative person ...
As a young girl, I would create scenery collages, cutting out fabric people, horses, houses and trees and sewing them onto a background. I wonder if my mum still has them folded away in the linen cupboard!

Who are your style icons – furnishings and fashion?
I admire the beautiful nature inspired and geometric designs of Florence Broadhurst wallpapers and fabrics. My wardrobe is full to the brim of Twiggy (although I don’t have her frame) and Edie Sedgwick style outfits. Anything vintage, bold, sparkly, a mini, or a maxi, I’ll wear it!

doe eyed 1960's model Twiggy and the original "it" girl Edie Sedgwick

You have had great PR – any tips for new starters
I’ve been very lucky. Newspapers and magazines have always approached me to do features, I haven’t had to be too aggressive with my media presence. My advice to up-and-comers is: try and find a unique market that nobody else is doing, you’ll find it a hard road if you’re just churning out the same stuff as everybody else. Make sure your website is eye-catching and up-to-date, a good online presence is cheap or free and could gain you attention around the globe!

 Tamara's gorgeous website at

Where do you source all of these amazing retro lamp bases? 
That’s my biggest secret! It’s taken me two years, but I finally have managed to find some wonderful sources for great lamp bases and fabrics.

Have you had a favourite lamp? 
I’ve just released a new line of Danish-inspired Rocket Lamps, they are really special and hard to come across these days. I have a carpenter make legs for them out of Mountain Ash and Oregon. I then varnish them in teak, make the shades in vintage fabrics and put them together. I really love these lamps, and I’m hoping that they “take off” at Magnolia Square! …Sorry.

Danish inspired rocket lamps

How do you get around a creative block
A cup of tea solves everything.

What are you listening to on your ipod? 
I’m teaching myself Martha by Tom Waits on the piano, so I’ve been listening to it on repeat for weeks!

Find out more
website |
contact | Tamara Watts
email |