Monthly Archives: April 2015

Do ya, do ya, do ya, do ya Wanna (Swing) Dance!

SWING dance is the latest thing for fun, friends and keeping fit, and SAVOY DANCE is Canberra’s newest Swing dance school with the best teachers in town!  With classes right in the city; beginners need no dance experience or fancy footwear, or even a partner—just turn up to the classes and start dancing. And, they can show you great moves for that special occasion—the Wedding Dance. Swing4

Cathie Gough is founder, owner, and teacher at Savoy Dance, and has a background in gymnastics and jazz dance and began Swing dancing in 2003. She has taught all types of Swing and Blues dance around Australia, New Zealand, and London, and most recently in Melbourne from 2004 – 2009 when she moved to Canberra.Swing2 Continue reading

Who wears the Pants at Braddon Tailors?

Braddon Tailors are suiting women

by Wendy Johnson

Women have been wearing pants for years. But it was in 1966, when the famous Yves St Laurent launched the Le Smoking tuxedo suit for women that matters changed forever. Power suits and elegant pant suits were in and there was simply no turning back. But here’s the deal with wearing a suit. It has to fit and fit exceptionally well for it to look smashing.

Le Smoking - image courtesy

Le Smoking – image courtesy

Think of men in a bad, frumpy looking suit, with sleeve lengths too long, an untidy fit across the shoulders and embarrassing tailoring. Well, the same applies to women, says Pip Morgan of Braddon Tailors. Pip is busy putting the finishing touches on the 2015 collection he’ll launch at FASHFEST, with opening night just two weeks from today (13 May).

Suits for women at Braddon Tailors

Braddon Tailors ‘smoking hot’ suit

His collection comprises 12 outfits—four for women. “We have women-specific designs to ensure a top-quality fit,” says Pip. “We don’t use the same patterns or even some of the same techniques as we do for men. We use darts and pleats in different places for a more feminine look.”  Continue reading

Fi’s Art House

There is some terrific and amazing talent in the Canberra area and there are a number of artists I consider to be my favourites. Some of you may remember the gorgeous painting Footloose and Fancy Free by Fiona Hill (Fi’s Art House) that I fell in love with, and adopted, a few months ago and now sits on the wall above my desk so I can admire it while I work.

Footloose and Fancy Free

Footloose and Fancy Free

Fiona creates colourful mixed media and intuitive art. Prior to the birth of her daughter she studied visual arts and taught drama and tournament of minds. Fiona continues, “My style of art was more photo representational and I was a bit of a perfectionist. With the birth of my daughter came the birth of a new style of art which I found more freeing.

“My purpose when painting is to fill a need—the need to create.  I was a single mum for 6 years and had a lot of time to explore my own needs and values. I also came to the wonderful realisation that perfection is overrated and we need to treat ourselves with compassion. I observed my daughter’s natural ability to create without worrying about a perfect outcome. She regularly inspires me.”Fiona Hill 1

Fiona is experimental in her work and likes to play with the paint rather than adhere to a strict set of art rules, and believe it’s the quirks and imperfections in the art that adds value. “The creative process is rewarding for me,” says Fiona, “and I am passionate about inspiring and enabling others, through my workshops, to connect with their own creative source.”

If you don’t have space for an original Fiona can make beautiful prints of her work, and also has a lovely collection of cards available that make gorgeous gifts.

Fiona Hill cards

Fiona Hill cards

Fiona sells her work online through Etsy or her website at and at The Old Bus Depot Markets, and Trove at Gold Creek. You can also find her on Facebook.

You can view more of Fiona’s artwork below Continue reading

It’s (re)Covered – by Penny

A couple of weekends ago I popped over to the Old Bus Depot Markets for a few buttons and some cheese when a new stall, It’s Covered – by Penny, caught my eye. I’d been looking for a footstool for ages—not a pouffe (tuffet) or an ottoman, but a proper footstool with carved wooden legs and nice upholstery, but I didn’t want an old style one with dark timber and tapestry—it had to be light and bright and modern. I was, or had been, on a quest, and one that I’d all but given up on, but there, on this stall was the perfect little footstool and it was definitely coming home with me.

Selection of monochrome upcycled footstools and chairs

Selection of monochrome upcycled footstools and chairs

But it wasn’t just the footstool that got my attention. Everything on this stall was delightful, more stools, dining chairs, ottomans, laundry baskets, and cushions—all in a gorgeous range of fabrics and designs, and it immediately crossed my mind that these beautiful hand-made soft furnishings would be perfect in a beach house.

Seascape cushions

South coast beach themed cushions

Continue reading

Upcycle with Melanie Child

It’s a fact that the fashion industry has a bad reputation for being wasteful. Very wasteful; shamefully wasteful. But we all have to wear clothes on our back, so what to do?

By Wendy Johnson

Melanie Child, a fashion designer from New Zealand, says we have to think about what we wear and make decisions about whether we want to add to the problem or do something about it. Melanie, who runs independent fashion label Melanie Child, knows a thing or two about the topic. She is an award-winning designer specialising in upcycling, and not just any old upcycling; high-end, fashion-focused upcycling.

Upcycled by Melanie Child

Upcycled by Melanie Child

In Melanie’s world, upcycle means to reuse one item to create another of higher quality or value than the original. “We live in a world saturated with mass production and its by-products,” says the designer. “Approximately 4 per cent of total annual waste into landfill in New Zealand alone is textile waste. It’s a big problem.”  Continue reading

Getting Special with your Slow Cooker

Healthy recipes for slow-cooked comfort food

By Emma

Do you know slow cooking is really healthy? There’s little added fat, and if you use fresh, organic fruits and veggies, skip the sweet packet sauce mixes, and make your own stock, you’re getting comfort food that’s good for you, and sustainable!

Lamb shanks with spicy plum sauce and garlic mash

Lamb shanks with spicy plum sauce and garlic mash

Winter is the perfect time to get out your slow cooker and put it through its paces. You can pop everything in the cooker in the morning and leave it until dinner-time, or alternatively, let it cook overnight, refrigerate the next day (so the flavours fuse together and are further enhanced) and warm it up for dinner. Even better, pop on your favourite pastry top and you’ve got the perfect winter pie!

The following recipes are super tasty, super healthy, super easy, and all have something a little different to make them super special! Check out our terrific comfort food slow cooking and enjoy! Continue reading

Melissa-Rose Boutique Terrariums

Glass Balls of Beauty!

melissa rose Succulent terrarium           melissa rose terrarium1

Melissa-Rose Boutique is a small emerging business in Bungendore specialising in terrariums (terraria), kokedama (moss balls), and gorgeous boxes and hampers with succulents, cacti, quirky plants, chocolate, biscuits, and bubbles. LFW caught up with Melissa-Rose a couple of weeks ago at the Old Bus Depot Markets. Read on for more about Melissa-Rose terrariums Continue reading

Who is MirandaSAKHINO?

By Wendy Johnson

It’s hard to peg Miranda Seakgosing. A fashion designer? A style blogger? Well, she’s both, and a new mum and definitely model material. I mean, look at her in these gorgeous photos.

Photographer: Andrew Kiyingi. This photograph is copyright and not to be used without permission

Miranda. Photographer: Andrew Kiyingi. This photograph is copyright.

Whatever role she’s playing, Miranda, of contemporary label MirandaSAKHINO, has her hands full these days. She’s busy putting the finishing touches on her latest collection, which she’ll showcase on Friday, 15 May at FASHFEST. This is Miranda’s debut appearance at the event and when she’s not busy backstage getting her models zipped up—to wow guests with her designs—she’ll be in the audience with her co-designer and photographer husband, reporting for the event. How versatile is that? Click the link to check out more stunning photos including from her latest collection.  Continue reading

Canberra’s Inspirational Design

The inspiration that is Canberra

By Wendy Johnson

Whoever says Canberra isn’t a truly inspiring part of the world is, well, very misguided. Very misguided. Just ask several of the fashion designers madly working on their new collections for FASHFEST 2015 about their inspiration. They’ll tell you the bush capital, and surrounding region, offers up plenty to work with.

BMdesigns by Barb Mickelson

BMdesigns by Barb Mickelson

Click the link to read who’s inspired by what at FASHFEST 2015! Continue reading

CIT has Talent!

CIT Graduate All-Stars at FASHFEST

By Wendy Johnson

Travelling. Tea parties. Sports. Psychoanalysis. Luxury resorts. The corporate environment. What’s the common thread?

The recent graduates in fashion design who will be launching debut collections on the catwalk at FASHFEST 2015, culminating in an All-Star Showcase on closing night. The six young designers, fresh out of studies at the Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT), promise guests an exciting experience. “It’s rare to have such a diversity of aesthetic,” says Steve Wright, who teaches fashion and design at CIT and is FASHFEST’s producer. “It’s why we decided to do the showcase on Saturday, with all labels forming one segment. It will be challenging to choreograph because of the diversity, but intriguing for guests.”

Models: Lara Schroeder; Bronwyn Whitton; Georgia Whitton.  MUA: Meg Stewart Makeup.  Photographer: Kelda Rundle Photography

Models: Lara Schroeder; Bronwyn Whitton; Georgia Whitton. MUA: Meg Stewart Makeup. Photographer: Kelda Rundle Photography

CIT is FASHFEST’s official education partner. “We have always believed in growing the industry in every way we can,” says Co-founder Andrea Hutchinson. “That includes providing graduates with a platform for their work. This is about providing new designers with real-life experience and what is involved in the serious business of showcasing and branding a fashion label.”

Read more to check out all the CIT graduates and their labels Continue reading