Mag Square

Sunday, February 26, 2012

we have moved

Yes that is right ... conveniently the blog is now within the website and the website is BRAND NEW so check it out, same address

Friday, February 3, 2012

loving // photographer John Murphy

I love these quirky photographic images by John Murphy.  See more of his work here.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

creative corners // georgina nelson

Today I spent some time at the home of Georgina Nelson of Myrtle & Moss. George was having a photographer from House & Garden come to shoot in the afternoon so we had to do a little styling of her workspace.

H&G are running a story in an upcoming issue which looks at women who have started their own businesses ... there might be a few Mag Square faces so look out for it.

The exquisite collection by Myrtle & Moss includes hand wash, body lotion, hand creams and soaps.  I can HIGHLY recommend this beautiful product, click here for Australia wide stockists. Magnolia Square says CONGRATULATIONS to Georgina for her incredible success with the business.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

shopfront // sportsgirl at chadstone

Loving the instore merchandising at Sportsgirl Chadstone, though I must say I was in trouble with the store manager for taking these shots. Interesting and in stark contrast to my recent experience in New York where I clicked to my hearts content in every Anthro store in NYC!!

Monday, January 30, 2012

animate // new york & a steiff monkey


These little animations are easy and quick to make.  I use my iphone and have it positioned so that it won't move or fall over.  Take a photo then move the object along, take another photo etc.  The New York street scene above it 5 separate photos.  Then using an online gif maker such as or I turn it into an animation.

If you like these I am guessing you will LOVE this. Look at the very subtle movement in this image.  This is the work of Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg of Cinemagraph.  Check out the other awesome clips at their website.

Friday, January 27, 2012

she's apples // film & photography iphone apps

Over the Christmas break I have gone completely bananas over apple! In the space of a week my technology horizon has expanded to include an imac, an ipad and the iphone 4s.  Dont get me wrong i am loving it but switching from a pc to a mac feels like learning to drive a manual car in a hurry without a driving instructor. Throw into the mix a change from existing internet provider iprimus to brand new, promise the world and deliver nothing Telstra (read 5 days with no connectivity) and you can begin to imagine the tension building in our house.

That said, I am very happy to be an Apple all rounder.  My current obsession is apps that provide creative distraction while I am out and about.  Here are some of my faves ...

silent film director | makes movies directly on your iphone using effects like 1920's (think Charlie Chaplin complete with dinky music and fast film) or 1960's which is my fave and makes everything look like a Super 8 shot Kennedy home movie.

picture frames | allows you to make a single image by combining 2, 3 or 4 images into one

group shot | this is VERY clever and allows you edit your picture with facial recognition technology - no more ruined shots because little Johnny always closes his eyes!

and of course instagram and coloursplash which if you dont already have then go immediately to the app store.

Apple store in Paris - what's not to love

Thursday, January 26, 2012

fashion fantasy // mulberry autum 2011

I came across this incredibly creative fashion shoot for English luxe clothing label Mulberry on fashion gone rogue.  The set design is by Shona Heath who has the best job in the world and the photography is by Tim Walker whose work always has a fantastical look about  it.

The colouration of the eggs and the and broken shells are incredible - creative genius.  Look at the fox on set in the short clip below.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

we are loving // pom poms

How divine are these images by photographer Beinta á Torkilsheyggi for the Pom Pom Factory.  If you come to our shows you will know that I am very partial to a pom pom.  Quite happy to sit all day and make them actually...

PAPER POM POM know how ...

If DIY from scratch isn't your thing then visit the Lark shop to buy a ready to go kit online.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

creative corners // at home with Danni Townsend O'Neil

Our kick off post for 2012 is a peek at the corners of Danni Townsend O'Neil's home in Myrtleford, 3.5 hours north east of Melbourne.  Danni is a Mag Square stalwart and the founder of Tickets for Coco with business partner and cousin Brooke Murphy and more recently their little adventure into home wares and taxidermy with Mr Fallow. Danni is also my sister and I am constantly amazed with her ability to pull spaces together in a distinctly unique way.

Danni is a true collector of the remnants of days gone by and when she gets a bee in her bonnet about something in particular there is, well, no stopping her.  I wouldn't be exaggerating to say an etsy found product arrives in her mail box every other day of the week! 

The little German frozen charlotte doll above is one such find. Danni says "Etsy is a treasure box and I explore it constantly! The attic's of many American homes are literally being cleared out and sent all around the world in little brown parcels!"

The vintage inspired decorating theme is seamlessly presented throughout the house and the bedrooms of Danni's two boys, Josh 13 and Owen 8 are not spared!  But there are no complaints on that front; the boys seem to embrace their yesteryear styled living quarters.  Truth is they don't tend to hang out indoors too much with all the wide open spaces around them to be discovered.

Dan is a big fan of David Bromley and has one of his amazing quilts.  Old dolls are another subset of the collection, they are everywhere and while I find them intriguing I think Dan's poor husband David is more than a little disturbed about having to share a house with them. 

I love these old kitchen scales.  I wonder how many dozens of scones they have weighed flour for? These scales are displayed on a lovely old cabinet along with milk bottles, preserving jars, a butter churn and other well loved cooking accoutrements (including some incredible old French chocolate moulds). 

No vintage inspired home would be complete without old metal letters.  This lovely "G" looks fantastic in Dan's kitchen. Taxidermy has become hugely popular over the last few years.  Each of Danni and Brooke's deers are named, this one is Sargent, and can be purchased from their online shop.

Another David Bromley piece above. This is a one off, hand sculpted lamp shade depicting the iconic Bromley children with their backs turned. I was with Dan the day she spotted this at the Prahan store, we had just been on a tour of the upstairs studio with David himself - suffice to say I had NEVER seen anything like it in my life before.  The size of magnitude of his curated collections were utterly awesome.  Click here for amazing images on the Design Files blog back in December 2009.

Danni's fabulous dining table is the handiwork of our Dad who joined together two fabulous old trestle table tops to make this one huge surface.  Fit for a kings feast!!

In Danni's office, pictured above, she works under the watchful eyes of Miss Scarlet,  Mr Wilkins and Mrs Potter. These old silver spoons have been re purposed as markers for a herb garden, available by contacting Danni or Brooke via the Mr Fallow website.

The view from the kitchen sink is superb and often includes a mob of kangaroos grazing on the back lawn.  If you love Danni's style, here are some suggestions on where you might source a treasure or two. for taxidermy, vintage quilts, bags & cushions made from old American grainsacks and jewellery made from vintage trinkets.

The Junk Company  | 583 Elizabeth Street | Melbourne VIC
Step Back Antiques  | 65 Burwood Rd | Hawthorn VIC
David Met Nicole | 382 Cleveland St | Surry Hills NSW  (see earlier post here)
Nook Vintage | 258 Johnston St | Fitzroy VIC  (see earlier post here)
Scarlet Jones | 95 Auburn Rd | East Hawthorn VIC
Chapel St Bazar  | 217 Chapel Street | Prahran VIC 
David Bromley at Capoochi  | 941 High St | Armadale VIC
Guy Matthews | 154 Johnson St | Fitzroy VIC
Industria | 202 Gertrude St | Fitzroy (see great guide to Gertrude St at design files here)
The Ugly Duckling | Bridge Rd Richmond VIC

{PSST blog readers ... if you have anymore shopfront or online locations to suitable for this list please add it to the comments below and we will update the list accordingly.  Thanks in advance.}

Monday, January 16, 2012

where did the time go?

How can we be half way through January already? Hopefully you have have a restful Christmas & New Year and are ready to tackle 2012 with style and aplomb.  We are still enjoying some quiet time but we'll be back in full swing next Monday 23rd Jan with a post on the fabulous and quirky home of Danni Townsend O'Neil of Tickets for CoCo and Mr Fallow.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

pixies at my table

I am fully embracing the decorating opportunities that Christmas brings.  I wanted to do something eye catching above the dining table, suspended from the ceiling.  This is what evolved!! You may recognise these charming little pixies, they are from Danish brand Maileg

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

est ... one of my favourite's

Mini homeware emporium Est in Auburn Rd East Hawthorn is a favourite retail hangout of mine.  I especially love it at Christmas time.  Proprietor Carolyn Imlach (rolling soap balls in the image above) was almost through her last batch for the year when I called by yesterday.  Est is a total sensory experience ... the aroma of the shop beckons customers in from Auburn Rd.

I stocked up on assorted linen ribbons and twines (for DIY projects down the track), handmade Christmas decorationss, a maileg Christmas stocking and a divine Bonnie & Neil table runner.  It is essential to spend at least an hour in the shop at each visit, any less and you will not take in all that is on offer.

134 Auburn Road, Hawthorn (Melbourne)
03-9819 0726 
Monday to Saturday 9am - 5pm

Thursday, December 15, 2011

DIY Christmas Idea #2

I love a reindeer or a moose at Christmas time and I also have a penchant for the schleich figurines (click here for the forest collection !!) not to mention spray painting!! So what a perfect reason to combine them all.  I used a primer to undercoat these guys then simply gave them a couple of coats of spray paint.  We went with red but they would look smashing in silver, gold or white.


We took it one step further at our last two events and encased the moose, deer et al in an upturned fishbowl shaped vase sprinked with glitter and dotted with a couple of little fir tree branches .  Hey presto, its a giant snowdome!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

a VERY SPECIAL cause ...

We are thrilled to announce that just over $3000 was raised for Very Special Kids through the sale of raffle tickets at our most recent event, the Malvern Town Hall Dec 1-3.  

I would like to say a HUGE thank you to the Magnolia Square retailers who so generously contributed to the 3 stunning hampers that were raffled over the course of the event.  Each hamper was valued at approx $1000 and the look of sheer delight on the faces of the winners was just gorgeous.

A very big thank you also goes to the volunteers who manned the Very Special Kids stand in the foyer; it was their dedication and enthusiasm that really made the difference to the number of tickets sold. I am thrilled with how successful the Mag Square / VSK association was and very much look forward to working with Yvonne Flynn and her team in 2012.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

DIY Christmas Idea #1

Christmas time provides the perfect excuse to decorate the house ... but you don't need to compromise on style.  
 My kids love the daily advent calender treats and often I reach for the tacky supermarket style. This year I gave it some more thought and came up with this simple and inexpensive alternative.  Magnolia branches (salvaged from your own tree if you are lucky enough to own one - if not invest in some lovely bare branches in winter and hold onto them all year through).  The vase to support these branches has to be rather large and heavy duty to prevent the whole arrangement from tumbling on the first child that reaches up for a box.  
These adorable little hand stamped boxes came from Pip Compton at Studio Lipp (purchased Christmas 2010 I'm afraid) but look around in art & craft shops and you will hopefully find something similar. Last of all pop a treat into each box.  Save it all again for next year!!



Friday, December 9, 2011

images from the Christmas event at Malvern ...

Check out the images from our recent show at the Malvern Town Hall on flickr.
Photography by Metka Edis of Magnolia 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 café – 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!

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