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70 Darby Street, Cooks Hill NSW 2300, Australia
Tuesdays - Fridays 11:00-5:00
Saturdays 10:00-3:00 Sundays 11:00-3:00
Mondays closed to sew/print/make
P:02 4929 4350

Saturday, May 26, 2012


My Sister Jen has put her divine home in Dungog up for sale.
You can look at the Real Estate page here.
But I think my photos (taken during a quick visit yesterday) also give you a pretty good idea of how glorious a home it is. She loves it too but it's too large for her with her ongoing health issues so she's downsizing. Staying in "The 'Gog" though as, once you've lived there, you don't want to live anywhere else I'm told.  

This actually still works! 
It's in her beautiful kitchen.

The back yard is vast. She has a lovely vege patch. 

Two of the four bedrooms have stunning stained glass windows.

 There are two bathrooms. One has a claw foot bath AND a black & white tiled floor. Swoon.

 This is the view of the Coorei Hills from her front yard.
Couldn't you just sit and look at these all day as the colours change? I know I could.

I just adore these hills.
And Dungog in general actually.
I hope you don't mind my using my blog to tell you about this but I know lovely people read it and I want a lovely person to buy this house as I'm rather attached to it.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Guess what! Guess what!

As of this Thursday we are now stockists of the amazing book for children created by Australian Artists Cat Rabbit & Isobel Knowles!

I'm so completely THRILLED!

You may have seen it mentioned in Frankie Magazine?

I bought a copy for myself the second it was available for pre-order then one for my 3 year old niece Annabelle Daysi the week after! She made my Sister-in-Law read it twice through without pause then declared that Cornelia is her friend.

It is a really positive, imaginative book that is suitable for grown ups like me and little kids and everyone in between.
It's in stock now & I'm thrilled thrilled thrilled!
PS. Did I mentioned that I'm thrilled?

Saturday, May 12, 2012


Who are you & why is your range called what it is called? 
My name is Amanda Whitelaw and I own and run Hungry Designs, a small business based in the Brisbane/Gold Coast areas. Hungry Designs came about when I was studying Illustration & Printmaking in Scotland and my final year project was based around starvation, injustice and war. I printed a range of tees with images of starving children on them, this was under the brand name Hungry Designs. From there,the name just stuck!

Where are you located?
I am located primarily in Brisbane but I live on the Gold Coast.  I work from Brisbane though and attend most events in the Brisbane area. 

How long have you been creating your lush wares?
I have been working on Hungry Designs for about 6 years now. It all started at Art School and has changed and morphed into a whole new beast since moving back to Australia. Hungry Designs has had a lot of phases and ranges!

Do you currently have a favourite item in your range?
That's a really hard question because I have over 130 individual designs...I love the new wall clocks and the new cake stands.  
I am really happy with how the new Homewares Range is coming along and I feel that it's proof that Hungry Designs is growing up with me.  

What motivates you to keep crafting/creating?
There are lots of things that keep me motivated. 
I would say mainly my love of creating and drawing keeps me pretty motivated.  Also my followers and friends on Facebook keep me on my toes.  
I love asking them what they would like to see from Hungry Designs - this allows me to gain priceless market insights that I couldn't get anywhere else. They are a massive inspiration for me. 

Are you someone who generally tends to buy Handmade over mass produced? Why?
Definitely! I love handmade and promote the handmade movement whenever I can. I love the idea that someone has sat and created something from nothing. This is really important to me because they are fellow designers and artists. We need to support one another. 

Do you have any new items in the pipe works that you'd like to hint to us about?
I'm pretty excited about the new Alice in Wonderland range that I am currently working on. I am hoping to have the completed collection in the next few weeks! They will be brooches and cake stands!  

Do you also sell online? 
I do! There is a limited range of Hungry Designs goodies on the website:

Would you like for me to link to your store for those poor people not able to get into Blackbird?
That would be super!

Are you sick of answering these silly questions?
Not at all - send more!  *wink*

PS We are over the moon to announce that we are Newcastle's EXCLUSIVE stockists of Hungry Designs. It was an ordeal trying to narrow down what to select for our first order!
We hope you love it as much as we do!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Darby Street - Newcastle NSW

I live in my little Darby Street "bubble" 
and that is more than enough - you know? 
Everything I need is here.
Darby Street is a Community of little stores that are independently owned and run. The store owners are, more often than not, the people behind the counter and they're passionate people.
You'll encounter very few cookie cutter franchises here.
There are too many fantastic shops along the street to list here but I'll quickly mention the ones which immediately come to mind... the ones that our Customers mention the most maybe! 
The ones that stock a lot of handmade wares + independent/Australian designers...I'm sure I'll forget someone! Apologies in advance for that! 
I should get out more! 

Well there's Blackbird Corner of course!
Established in 2006 by Nici & her Sister Jen + Nici's hubby Sean. We stock mostly items that we design & produce ourselves; but also pride ourselves on being Newcastle's exclusive stockist of the gorgeous creations of many Australian/NZ Independent Designers. 
We also enjoy selling Lomo Cameras & Film + Indie Magazines + Low Brow Art books. Essentially we only stock items we like ourselves.
(Note the new Granny Squares on  our pole! Yay!)

Cooks Hill Books has been here for 26 years and counting! The best second hand book store in Newcastle by far! 
People travel from all over Australia to visit this Bookshop and rarely leave empty handed. Owned and run by my Mum Lynda and her business partner David. You'll even see my hubby Sean + Miss Pepper Puppy  in there on Thursdays! It's a good old fashioned Family Business.  
"Quality second hand books bought and sold. Literature-Fine Arts-Religion-History-Texts-Australiana-Occult-SciFi-Best Sellers" 

Speaking of Family businesses - just along the street from our store is HIGH TEA WITH MRS WOO - "The design collaboration of three sisters- Rowena, Juliana & Angela Foong.
Charming, thoughtful and everlasting; nostalgia and escapism; long train journeys, tall tales, unfolding great yarns."
They've been there for more than a decade!
The most talented designers & seamstresses you'll encounter!
They've been having quite frequent "Pop-In Stores" lately too - supporting fellow Australian Designers. Admirable. 

Oh then, of course, there's Ramjet Assortments 
owned by my dear friend Michelle.
She's been there more than ten years too!
You cannot "do" Darby Street without visiting Ramjet!
"A gorgeous boutique store for guys and, accessories and nicknacks....a little bit retro, a little bit rockabilly and lots fabulous!"

We mustn't forget Blue Star Elements!
Owned by the divine Angela - opened wayyyyyy back in May 2000 when Darby Street was slightly quieter & less fantastic!
"Blue Star Elements stocks a large range of gifts & homewares; Handbags & jewellery; kids clothes & toys."
There is a gift suited to ANY person within those walls!

At the other end of the shopping strip is Betty Mim.
Swoon. Just swoon.
"A store with heart, filled with lovely special handmade bits and pieces. Betty Mim specialises in unique treasures and textiles, jewels and housewares, fashion and folk. A collective of old and new focusing on independent and local designers, non mass produced and all things a bit nice."

And, across the road from Betty Mim, is Honeybee owned by the lovely Kyle and Wyan.
"Honeybee runs on 100% green-power and loves to support ethical, sustainable, Australian made and fair trade products."
Honeybee have been on Darby Street for yonks too and are full of temptations - and, I've heard, good coffee!

Speaking of coffee - there are a trillion great cafes along the way, where you can take a break and enjoy watching the passers by promenade along the Street!

The Darby Street Traders are such a great Community that they got together & produced a fantastic Street Guide called One Degree.
The latest issue is in production currently & soon you'll be able to pick one up in any of the stores along the street. 
Following the guide you'll be certain not to miss out on any of the divine stores along the strip!
Are you feeling the love?
PS. Apologies to fellow traders for knicking photos from your Facebooks this morning. I woke up thinking about how Darby Street deserves more love, and couldn't wait long enough to ask you for different pics. You know me!