a jar of sparkles…
Posted in personal, sydney March 31st, 2011 by pia

We moved into our new home here in Sydney four days ago. We don’t have internet. We don’t have a bed. We are camping in our living room. It’s been a hectic few weeks trying to get sorted, and it will be a hectic few more weeks trying to get settled. All the while I’ve been unpacking boxes, and in one of them I found this jar of sparkles. Yes, once upon a time, I kept sparkles in a jar. Today, this jar of sparkles sits on the mantle piece, surrounded by chaos, reminding me that there is magic in the most unlikely of places.

sydney boutique love: newspaper taxi
Posted in homewares, pia's photos, stores, sydney March 24th, 2011 by pia

In a gorgeous little back street of Newtown, appropriately named ‘australia street’, sits an incredibly quaint boutique called newspaper taxi. I’d been dying to visit ever since I met owner Stefanie Bassett at my impromptu book signing last year at Berkelouw bookstore in Newtown. Finally last week, I got my chance…

(the always inspiring children’s magazine, papier mache.)

Stef’s store is filled with vintage collectibles, handmade home wares and beautiful publications like you see above, and below…

(ebony’s divine gift wrapping zine. Ebony is also selling her zines online, of which all proceeds from the sales will go directly to Red Cross to help survivors in Japan.)

(above left: beautiful ceramic brooches made by sarah o’sullivan above right: a little in store vignette of vintage goodness.)

Newspaper Taxi is also an exclusive stockist of one of our favourite parisian artisans, Nathalie Lété. At the moment, Stef has some stunning prints by Nathalie. If you’re in newtown, be sure to check out stef’s store.  If you’re nowhere near newtown and don’t think you’ll be there in the near future, you can also view part of stef’s extensive collection of goodies on her online shop here. And! she writes a blog here with updates on her newest finds.

Oh, I can’t wait to visit again and again. It’s good to be back in my ol’ hometown.




sun goes down, sun comes up…
Posted in amsterdam, sydney March 21st, 2011 by pia

today’s sun set in Amsterdam, photo taken by my friend alan jensen

two minutes later: sun up in Sydney, photo taken by me, 5 minutes ago

Amsterdammers have been loving the 2 days of sunshine they’ve just had. Meanwhile in Sydney, we’ve been having torrential rain for 2 days straight. This morning, my friends Cath and Al took this photo of the setting sun over Amsterdam and minutes later I walked out the door to find the sun had risen here, bright and beautiful.

Synchronicity at its finest.


Market love, by Rani Nugraha
Posted in guest quarters March 18th, 2011 by guest blogger

all photos and text by guest blogger rani nugraha…

I’ve always said that regardless of where I am in the world, I can always feel completely at ease and at home in the middle of a bustling market. In the instance that the market is selling local produce, I am all the more elated, barely able to maintain my composure at the sight of so many textures, the amalgamation of so many scents and the anticipation of tasting everything I can get me little hands on.

I am sure that this sense of belonging in market atmospheres came from my parents. Having just moved to Australia with a young family, they didn’t have a lot of money for interior decoration and were generally on a tight budget for day to day living. Coming from Indonesia, they grew up at a time when the commercial western world was only just starting to ease its way into the environment. Instead of frequenting supermarkets, malls and cafes, mothers were still shopping for their groceries at markets, youngsters would grab afternoon snacks and icy drinks from markets after school to gossip and flirt a little, and office workers would nip past markets for a gab with friends over lunch and my parents were no different.

In my home town of Adelaide, my sister and I grew up accompanying my parents on their weekly shopping trips to the Central Markets, the city’s largest produce markets, and at the time, one of the few places Asian ingredients and condiments were sold.

Underneath the roof of a building built in 1900 (which is old by Australian standards) stallholders sell a rich variety of local cheese, wines, oils, chocolates, cakes, flowers, meats, poultry, and seafood and there are hundreds of multicultural places to have lunch. (Whenever I am home, it’s a must-go spot with my sister, and more often than not, an argument is bound to brew over where we are going to eat, with both of us having our own favourite haunts.)

My parents would pack their two daughters in the back seat, and a folding trolley with wheels in the boot of the car, and off we would trundle. A few hours later, my parents would leave satisfied that another chore was done for the week, and grateful that their two boisterous children were dozing lazily behind them amongst shopping bags crammed with fragrant herbs and sauces, sacks of rice, and baskets of vegetables.

Having travelled more now, I consider markets to be at the forefront of telling talents in design and the arts, the source for most of my homewares, and destination to aim for when in need of feeding my stomach and soul. The Borough and Brick Lane markets; both in London,  Helsinki’s Kauppatori market square by the main wharf, the traditional outdoor spice markets in my mother’s home village in Indonesia, the stalls underneath the shady canopy of giant Banyan fig trees on the banks of the Brisbane river, the Schanzenviertel festival markets of Hamburg in September, edgy and arty Christmas markets in Berlin, and the tantilising La Boqueria markets in Barcelona are just some of the markets I have sought in my travels, because I don’t consider a trip to a city complete until I have been to a market.

There are so many telling and significant cultural symbols apart from tents and stallholders, so many traditions that take place apart from the exchange of money for goods. A visit to a local market is always rich in experiences, and I am of the firm believe that one can not be unhappy in a market in the company of so many interesting characters.

This week, I want to introduce you to a character-loaded and unique location in Amsterdam that hosts a giant flea market once a month. A short ferry ride to the North of the city, the flea markets on NDSM wharf are an occasion where I take visiting friends, and where I also venture to frequently with my best friend to catch up, play dress up or just buy up.

Never one to leave empty handed, sometimes a review of my purchases a few hours later brings a “what was I thinking?” moment, as I look blankly at whatever it is I am handling. But usually I keep whatever crazy item it is because while it might not have any form or function, it’s still a souvenir of a great day out.

Read about Ij Hallen markets on the CITIZN project here.

x rani


giving credit…
Posted in (blog)house news, photographers, street cred March 18th, 2011 by pia

click here to see the larger version.


UPDATE: there have been many requests to buy the print – thank you! We’ll be looking into it this week – so hopefully by the end of the week (that being Friday March 25), we should have something available. Thanks again for all your support and positive attitude, it’s so wonderful to see so many of you enthusiastic about giving credit where credit is due. x


Have you noticed that image crediting on blogs has become a rather hot topic over the last few weeks? There have been some great posts about it from Chelsea at {frolic!} and Grace at Design*Sponge (who wrote three posts as part of her online etiquette + ethic series for biz ladies: here, here and here).

A couple of weeks ago Erin, Chelsea, Lisa, Nichole, Amanda and I started an email conversation about it, wondering if there was a way we could get the message across about the importance of image crediting in a fun and informative way. Because let’s face it, it’s a confusing topic that needs some serious clarification. In my industry, we are often talking about the lack of image crediting on blogs – there is very much a love/hate feeling for blogs with most photographers, stylists, art directors, editors and publishers. I, for example,  love the concept of tumblr but get so frustrated with the lack of crediting – countless times I’ve found a gorgeous image that I’d love to blog about but after hours of research still cannot find the original source. Not to mention finding my own images on there without credit.

We’ve already had some great feedback this morning on Grace’s post about the poster (thanks so much Grace!) and I’ve made some minor changes with those in mind, so what you see above is the finished poster. Also, some people have asked if the poster is for sale. We will keep you posted about that. Erin from design for mankind wrote a fab post about it today too,  and I love & agree with all she wrote. Erin has been a big inspiration in the making of this poster – from the colouring of her new blog design (which I adore!), to her funky style and funny, heartfelt words.  My dear friend Yvette van Boven let me use her incredible handwritten fonts, thank you sweet Yvette.

Thanks to everyone who has kept this topic hot over the last few weeks. I hope this poster helps to shed some much needed light on the subject and helps all to understand why it’s necessary to credit images. Please feel free to blog, tweet, tumble, or pin this poster  – we made it to share, so please do, merci beaucoup!