Tuesday, January 26, 2016


The best way to orient yourself in a foreign country is to walk. Everyday we pound the footpaths, ducking down alley ways, walking up different streets, perusing roadside stalls. This is the best way to find new and interesting things.

This trip has been the coldest we have ever experienced. Hanoi, the mercury dipped to 7 degrees. Typically we hadn't packed enough to compensate for this so we thought we would flee south instead where you are usually guaranteed sun and a swim by the pool. Hoi An bound, the gorgeous little town where I do most of my wholesale production, we were met with torrential rain, blustering winds and soggy shoes.

My fashion sense is non existent as I layer what ever cotton clothing I have with me, which isn't much as my luggage was full of fabrics, sketches & samples for my manufacturer.

The clouds are getting lighter so off to town for a coffee and some more random ambling. Here are a few images that made me smile along the way.

A fence made from beer cans

I love the welcoming towel origami

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Back in vietnam

After 9 months we are back in Hanoi, new designs in hand and plans to venture back into the world of wholesale and trade shows. Our first adventure to Vietnam was back in the year 2000 with our two beautiful daughters. Since then we have returned more times than I can count. This time we are returning with our eldest daughter who was only 11years old on her last visit here. She is looking for English teaching work, a modest apartment and a year full of adventures.
Here are a few images of some things I saw on my first day walking around Hanoi and unwinding from the plane trip.

Monday, June 1, 2015


Meanwhile Back in my Studio

Home again here in the beautiful Blue Mountains on the first day of Winter. I was woken by the thuds of a neighbour splitting wood so got up stoked the fire and finished another hat for my shop "Omnia a little bit of everywhere".

My mission at the moment is to finish off all unfinished projects in my studio so I can move onto some new designs that are rattling away in my brain.
Last week I finished this hat which I re blocked from an old wool felt hat and turned into a cloche. 
I put it in my shop and it only lasted 24 hours when it was bought by a woman with lovely long blonde hair. 

My hats are all hand made and hand stitched using all the traditional techniques I was taught many years ago.
The hat I finished today was re blocked from an old 1950's beret style hat into my favourite 60's style hat then after wiring the edge and binding it I trimmed it with this 1940's grograin ribbon from the 1940's. I have been saving this piece of ribbon for the right hat and this was the one. The wooden bucle was recycled from an old hand bag from the 1970's. Voila!!!

Friday, April 24, 2015


Another week in Hanoi

Our last week in Vietnam for another year. Back in Hanoi and in our new favourite hotel The Art Trendy Hotel. 
We head out to purchase the last few hand made items for Omnia and eat our favourite foods.

Like lunch every day at a street stand that has received lots of attention selling local banh mi sandwiches. Banh Mi 25 in Hung Ca Hanoi is well worth a visit for a lunch for 25,000 dong ($1.50 AUD) with free ice tea and a banana.

 There was a festival in the temple behind our hotel to ring in the new moon and a healthy harvest.
Lots of music and chanting from morning till night.

Picked up a new hand carved wooden stamp for Omnia from the same man that has made all our stamps since 2002

Now to pack ready to fly back to Australia.

Saturday, April 18, 2015


A Week In Sapa

Back in Sapa North Vietnam after a few years since our last visit. We are here to 
haggle over indigo cloth, hemp fabrics and a few trinkets in between drinks with spectacular views.

Sapa is a little like my home town Katoomba in the beautiful Blue Mountains outside of Sydney. Stunning countryside although Sapa is 1 -2,000 metres higher than Katoomba.
Sapa's population is mostly made up of hilltribes like H'mong, Red Tao, Tay people, Flower H'mong, Dao people and more. In Katoomba our colourful population is made up of tribes of christians, the artistic tribes of musos, artists, poets and writers with alternative tribes like the young born again hippies.

 We have been coming to Sapa since the year 2000 and have seen it prosper then dip, new shops and restaurants come and go just like Katoomba. Sapa has a certain shabbiness not unlike Katoomba but ever so endearing just like Katoomba because of it's cultural mix.

People come from all over the world to trek in Sapa as they do in the Blue Mountains

Trading with the Hilltribe women at the markets or on the street of Sapa can be so much fun. But always remember when bartering everyone walks away happy with the final price.


A couple of tough negotiators

The mist rolled in on our last day in Sapa and a post on facebook back home showed the mist rolling in on Katoomba.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015


A Few Days in Hanoi

Arrived in Hanoi the other day and our hotel is very good with the most excellent staff. With a good pho ga in my belly each morning we head out into the noise and traffic which is so much a part of Hanoi.

A good walk around all our old haunts to reacquaint ourselves with this city and some good eating places. A definite in Hanoi is a drink at the Cityscape cafe overlooking the lake and surrounds. Our favourite coffee place OriBerry is still there near the cathedral and a cha ca at the 69 restaurant ticked off the list.

As we wander the streets of the old quarter on Saturday night they start closing off some of the streets to traffic and the place is hopping with street music, buskers, traditional and modern. People eating and drinking and just enjoying the onset of Summer. This is so great to be able to walk around the old quarter without having to compete with the normal traffic. If you have been to Hanoi you should revisit there is so much happening.

I always love walking the markets because of the colours and textures, the grains, herbs and spices on display

But I don't always like what I find