A shout out from my nest

For the past couple of months I have been under the weather (baby on the way, making waves)  this temporary but debilitating  state has led me to find ways that I can work while resting. I now refer to my bed as ” my nest”. This space holds most of what I need: phone, pen, paper, laptop, books, and snacks.

It was here in my nest that I recently completed the text for an upcoming publication due later this year to accompany a series of shoes. I honestly cannot wait to see this fully realised ~ so exciting.

I have also been using this time to be inspired, mostly visiting blogs and sites which lead to other sites, and new names, designers, artists and things. The internet is indeed a vast space, and since I need to be a part of my practice in order to feel like I am ‘me’, this time for discovery has been enjoyable considering the circumstances.


 The Art of Ikebana

I am not one of those people that swoon over a bunch of flowers in a vase. I like flowers outside, where they grow and reach sunlight. However I do have a reoccurring fascination with the Japanese art of Ikebana. Nowness is a great site with excellent contributors, this little film which shows the progression of a piece is lovely. Watch it here

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Still from the short film: The Art of Ikebana is Showcased at Tokyo’s Sogetsu School to Launch Modern Design Review


Mitch Alfus is a “Leather King”

In a café in Berlin late last year I came across a great book The Selby is in Your Placeby Todd Selby. Selby is a photographer of personal spaces, and the view point he takes is so interesting. Every detail he chooses to magnify is so telling of who these people are. I also loved the even playing field between very famous individuals and close friends of his.

Just the other week I remembered this book and searched for Selby online, to my delight he has expanded his photography practice to film. This is where I found this video of Mitch Alfus AKA “Leather King”. He captured all sides of this man who was responsible for the importation of fine leathers to the USA.   Watch this video here


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Still from the Selby film: Mitch Alfus AKA “Leather King”


DIY Design: Mathery

Melbourne based duo Erika Zorzi and Matteo Sangalli are the founders of design studio: ‘Mathery‘ . I have fallen in love with a project they completed back in 2010…which I have only come across very recently. Mathery created an object a day for 100 days. Each object had the objective of   satisfying a need. looking through these objects delighted me! I highly recommend checking it out here

CMYK base





I forgot all about Rookie

Tavi Gevinson, is the creator of her current blog Rookie. I actually hadn’t checked in with her for years it seems, when her blog was predominately fashion focused: Style Rookie. Tavi began this blog when she was only 11. I thought she was the cutest, most stylish, young lady who knew what she liked and could voice her opinions in her own way. Her honesty moves me and I think I could listen to her speak for hours on end. I have so much respect for her, and have made the vow to visit her blog on a regular basis again!

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shoes belonging to Tavi Gevinson

Watch an interview for Stylelikeu here

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Tavi Gevinson, stil frame from the interview for Stylelikeu


Discovered on FFFFound

This site was introduced to be years ago when I was in Montréal, I haven’t visited it in a long time probably since it is addictive. This site is an enjoyable feast for the eyes. I enjoy the escapism and opportunity for discovery it presents. visit FFFFound here

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Photograph discovered on FFFFound: Invisible by Laura Williams 2013


Streaming Tunes from France

Late last year it seemed that during my visit to paris, if I was in a home they were streaming this radio station. I like listening to this station, it offers me the kind of surprise my iTunes shuffle can not. Steam le player here 

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until next time



MAKE SPACE ~ The story behind the project & why we need your help ♡

The Story:

When I was on holiday earlier this year I had what I can only describe as a ‘calling’. I have always been ambitious, often looking and dreaming up projects I felt the need to see realised. This was different somehow,  it wasn’t about just me and my practice. It was about moving outside of my own creative space and placing myself in a group to support and nourish the creativity of others. How did it happen? It was like the idea popped into my head and began to grow, sinking roots in my thoughts in a way I knew this idea was here to stay. I became consumed by it, and felt such an urge – that I knew I had to do it.

I think part of the reason why I felt so compelled to do something to help humanitarian refugees was that I felt a little lost as to what I could do. I knew it was important to begin to educate myself on the FACTS – because there are a lot of misled statements that have been put forward as the truth.

Refugees are forced to leave their country because they are at risk of, or have experienced, persecution. There is grave concern for the human rights and safety of these individuals – not to be mistaken for economic advantage. They leave behind their homes & more often than not all of their belongings –  family members & friends. Some are forced to flee with no warning and many have experienced significant trauma or been tortured or otherwise ill-treated. The journey to safety is fraught with hazard and many refugees risk their lives in search of protection. They cannot return unless the situation that forced them to leave improves.

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I mage from the ‘Road To Refuge’ : an interactive site where you can take a journey through the eyes of another & make decisions which have consequences – (like choose your own adventure books) Click on image above to be directed there

I named The project : MAKE SPACE created for individuals who have recently arrived in Coffs harbour in the Mid North Coast of NSW from afar. Leaving their homes behind to take refuge in Australia. I like the name because it references the space as a place where making happens, but also addresses the concept of sharing what we have, to make space for those in need.


The MAKE SPACE ‘Poster Girl’ Bag

It was kind of like a Zap when I realised the way I should be assisting these individuals in the settlement process is to show them what i love, what I am passionate about, what I have devoted myself to ~ working with leather to make items that are beautiful, functional and express my own stories.

When I was in Melbourne I visited The Social Studio Smith Street, Collingwood. This amazing place is a fashion hub, shop, a cafe and an extension of RMIT Tafe all rolled into one. The Social Studio has been running for over Five years and has proven this model is meaningful and relevant to individuals who have experienced being a refugee as well engaging the broader community.

I called Youth Directions as a partnership because of their expertise and interest in facilitating local projects that make a difference to people’s lives.


We decided to run a nine week workshop to learn how to work with leather, use the tools and machinery with a strong focus on creativity in a safe and relaxed learning environment.

After meeting with Steve Miller at the North Coast TAFE who manages the ‘English as a Second Language’ service as well as settlement services  it became clear we should integrate this space to support English language skills through sharing, speaking, writing and  action packed making! What does this mean? We will be joined by an English as a second language teacher and students can bank hours spent in MAKE SPACE as part of the 500 hours of the ESL course.

Having the idea, the passion and the drive is only a portion of the necessary ingredients required to get a project like this off the ground. After submitting several grant applications for funding we got word we were successful from The Coffs Harbour city Council as part of the 2014 Small grants program. This funding will go towards materials, space hire as well as tools we will need to work with leather.

Why We Need Your Help:

After reading through many grant applications I realised we couldn’t raise the funds for machinery this way as this is not an eligible component to the budget. Thank goodness for Pozible! Pozible is an Australian Crowd funding campaign that allows creative projects to exchange “rewards” for “pledges”

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Our Page: www.pozible.com/makespace

The truly wonderful reason why Pozible is so great is people are not asked to make ‘Donations’ as such – instead when you visit the site you can choose a ‘reward’ for your ‘pledge’ to MAKE SPACE:

What Can you do?

Have a read below about some of the ‘rewards’ you can exchange for ‘pledges’ made to our crowd funding campaign to purchase machinery for MAKE SPACE.

A big huge Thank you to these amazing individuals and groups who have agreed to donate their products to our MAKE SPACE pozible Campaign.


Who Gives A Crap Toilet Paper:

Who Gives A Crap Limited Edition Packaging

Who Gives A Crap Limited Edition Packaging

Flush Poverty Down the Loo
At present, 40% of the world’s population don’t have access to a toilet. Diarrhoea related illnesses fill over half sub-Saharan African hospital beds and kill over 2,000 children under 5 every day. We think that’s pretty crap. That’s why who gives a crap gives 50% of their profits to WaterAid to build toilets and improve sanitation in the developing world.

Make Every Wipe Count
WGAC believe that the need to wipe shouldn’t mean we wipe out the planet. That’s why they only use 100% post consumer waste recycled fibres in our toilet paper. It saves on trees, water and landfill which means you’re doing your bit while doing your bit to help keep our planet great.

Only test on bottoms
No use of any chlorine, inks, dyes or weird perfumes in our toilet paper. They  just pulp the clean fibres at super high temperatures to make WGAC biodegradable, safe in septic tanks and as strong as it is silky soft. And since it’s only tested on the finest human bottoms, our toilet paper is as good for your bum as it is for the planet.

Miss Chu ~ Queen Of The Rice Paper Roll

Vietnamese Tuck Shops Sydney and Melbourne

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MissChu Rice Paper Rolls

Nga Chu, known to everyone as Nahji or MissChu and to those who get in her way, as ‘The Queen of Rice Paper Rolls’ is the founder and creative director of MissChu.

Nga Chu, known to everyone as Nahji or MissChu and to those who get in her way, as ‘The Queen of Rice Paper Rolls’ is the founder and creative director of MissChu.

Born in Luang Prahbang, Laos, in 1970, Nahji and her family escaped the Pathet Laos Regime in 1975. They sustained themselves on the meagre living conditions afforded by the various Thai refugee camps they inhabited over a four year period before the Chu family’s number came up and the Australian government made them one of the first Vietnamese/Laotian refugees to settle in Australia.

A talented filmmaker, she produced a charcoal animation telling her story (click here to view this animation) and that of many other Vietnamese refugees. These skills are still part of the brand, with Nahji hand writing the menus on the blackboards found in the tuckshops. Nahji’s early desire for a career in the arts has been fully handed over to the creative life of MissChu – the high-design fast food chain.

The success of MissChu is based around Nahji’s instinct that Vietnamese food’s largely gluten free and highly tasty base ingredients would be a hit with contemporary diners.

MissChu tuckshops are the first of their kind anywhere in the world and can be described as a modern day hawker takeaway with high end food at a low price tag. Designed for the modern eater on the go, MissChu currently offers home or office delivery in Sydney and Melb CBD via electric bicycles.

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Miss Chu ‘The Queen of the Rice Paper Roll

Klezinski: The Science Of Apparel Success

Klezinski is a Melbourne based label. Ultimate fabrications used in the creation of their products along with clever pattern cutting results in every piece made being distinctively unique and timeless.

Klezinski’s Mr Rabbit has four strong magnetic paws to attach to his matching scarf. He also has a hidden zip pocket to hold keys or other small objects

I own this scarf and it is one of most favourite things in the world. Gorgeous fabric, stunning attention to detail – a scarf and friend in one!

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Mr. Rabbit Hand Made Scarf by Klezinski Melbourne

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Mr. Rabbit Hand Made Scarf by Klezinski Melbourne


A handmade rabbit with a small internal pocket and
matching 3 meter scarf in wool marled jersey

Product details
• Wool jersey
• Rare earth magnets in the hands and feet
• YKK zip
• Dry clean only

UNEMPIRE – Melbourne Socks

Socks don’t get any better than this: fun, bold, well made, and detailed in design.

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Spaghetti, meatballs ‘N’ garlic Toast Socks, By UNEMPIRE Melbourne
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Prawny socks By UNEMPIRE Melbourne

Socks designed by the Unemperor, who also answers to the name Zoë Lea and is based in Melbourne, Australia.

Unempire sox are soft like fluffy clouds, but strong like a really strong thing so they last longer than your average sock.

They come in one size and shape, but are super stretchy, so they fit every foot- big and small. The Unemperor doesn’t discriminate.

Being the same size and shape means Unempire socks can also be mixed-up and mis-matched. So no sweat when one gets lost at laundry time or disappears in the bedroom vortex.

Collect them all or play swapsies with friends!

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Dippy eggs ‘N’ Soldiers socks by UNEMPIRE Melbourne

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Cheezzze Dreamzzz socks by UNEMPIRE Melbourne

Piccolo to Go Coffee

When a Melbourne girl moves to a coastal paradise she wonders: “where will I get my caffeine fix?”

Bailey Centre and City Centre Coffs Harbour

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flossy-p is an illustrator who sees the world in such a beautiful light! Her imagery makes me want to return to my childhood and turn 90 tomorrow all at once.

Since sea changing from a noisy city terrace, up the coast to a creekside house, nestled between the hills and the sea, her art has grown oodles of flora and attracted all nature of critters, birdlife and marine beasties. Prints of original illustrations are in editions of 100 signed by flossy-p. 8 x 10″ with a border (page size is A4) note:copyright watermark is not on actual print

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Never Never Creek: A lucky boy gets to snuggle up warm and cosy with a sleeping platypus, in a patch of reeds under soft yellow stars.

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Giant Wombat & Banjo Boy:A giant but gentle wombat meets a boy and his banjo beneath the night sky.

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All The Animals Know The Secret Of Life:A graceful, all-knowing swan, with detailed feather plumes.

Beci Orpin

A signed copy of Beci Orpin’s latest book ~ HOME: 25 Amazing Projects for Your Home. Beci is without a doubt one of our most talented living Australian artists. She has a playful style that seems to strike a chord within all of us. Her latest book is filled with gorgeous inspirational imagery along with projects you can make for your home.

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Catalogue Magazine:

A One Year 2014 Subscription to Catalogue Magazine Australia (Six issues)

A leading fashion magazine that has some of the most beautiful photo shoots I have ever seen! Relaxing with a magazine is my time to be inspired and keep up with local and international talent.

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Old Johns:

I originally stumbled upon Old Johns when I first relocated to Coffs Harbour to ask for directions. As soon as I walked in I felt like I was transported, awesome little spot with just the right balance of attention to detail and relaxed atmosphere. I love this little gem in Coffs. Visit here with a friend for the perfect combination of delicious food, great service, and good conversation. Dinner menu is perfect for shared plates between cold drinks xx

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Old Johns have given up five vouchers for Thursday Dinner + Drinks for two ($50 Voucher) at Old Johns 360 Harbour Drive, Coffs Harbour.

April Phillips Footwear (that’s me!)

So usually I don’t ‘leak’ my own stories early but I couldn’t resist offering these shoes I am working on as a reward.

I will  be releasing a made to order range of women’s shoes in early 2014 which are set to go on tour in various retail spaces, and galleries around Australia and then Overseas. There will be thirty shoes in total each with a single hand illustrated, carved and painted object. Every object featured on a shoe pertains to the human being: exploring some of our desires, habits, superstitions, inventiveness and absolute absurdities. The mary jane style of shoe has a scolloped edge and is made from vegetable tanned leather, with pigskin lining. A very low (nearly flat) heel with a leather / rubber sole so there will be no slipping about. Completely repairable, wear these for a lifetime and then pass them along ♡

Hand illustrated, carved, and painted Mary jane Shoes April Phillips Footwear

Hand illustrated, carved, and painted Mary jane Shoes April Phillips Footwear

I will also be running a:

Sandal Making Class:

I will be teaching a sandal making class at the crafty hub Weave 42 hyde Street, Bellingen . The class will run over two Saturdays: 18th and 25th january 10.30am – 2.30pm All materials are included. Sandals will be made to makers foot and personalised with specialised leather paints and stains.

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‘Storm Cloud’ Sandals by April Phillips *Image Pictured is an example only

My eyes are set on next year, and the launch of this very important new project.

I look forward to sharing the success of our contributors and friends!

Please Pledge funds to receive rewards and help us to buy the machines we need! CLICK HERE

Also MAKE SPACE has a blog too here it is: www.makespaceworkshop.wordpress.com

Until next time