22 July, 2014

Road to Tiki Oasis: Take a Walk on the Wild Side

The final instalment of the Road to Tiki Oasis features (or is it? Oooh mystery!) we’re taking a walk on the wild side with Wayne Hoareau of Wild tHing creations. A carver and ceramics artist from the Gold Coast, Wayne creates unique tiki mugs, carvings and wall art, all done with his bent take on the traditional tiki style. A lover of all things exotic and macabre, Wayne’s freeki art and creepi tiki style is distinctive and truly his own.
 

When he wasn’t accepted into art college, Wayne began working in music retail in 1988 and didn’t stop for almost 20 years. However when he was made redundant from a long term position in 2009, he reassessed his life and decided to try the arts degree angle again. While waiting for a response from the college, Wayne decided to give a carving a go and hasn’t looked back since. He’s now proud to be what the kids from the western suburbs of Brisbane in the 80s always wanted to be. 

Wild tHing creations was born in August of 2010 with Wayne working out of his house however by April 2011 the operation was booming and he needed to move to a studio and workshop to allow more space for his creations. Unlike most artists, Wayne rarely sketches out his ideas first, rather using the medium he works with to allow the design to emerge. Using the naturally occurring character that each piece of wood possesses, Wayne draws a rough outline and just begins carving. The same can be said of his mugs, which he makes on nothing more than a rough idea and a brief outline, preferring to let his mind control his hands as he sculpts.
 

Moving into mugs has been particularly productive for Wayne with at least three quarters of his time spent making both commission pieces and his own original designs. Taking up a lot of his time, he experiments with clay slip and earthenware. However wax is also involved and is much easier to carve. Of course, there’s nothing he loves more than getting back into a slab of wood and carving when time permits.
 

This fine selection of Wild tHing creations’ work includes smaller mugs featuring traditional tiki designs to colourful medium and large sized mugs featuring slightly more cartoon and abstract designs in vibrant colours and Wayne’s trademark freeki tiki style with a large skull-bearing mug created especially for Pepe’s Mexican Restaurant. Each design is unique and is sculpted by hand using a number of carving and sculpting techniques. Each mug is hand glazed both inside and outside and feature a mixture of gloss and matte finishes.
 

Wild tHing creations can be found at Butter Beats in Southport on the Gold Coast, Feaks Like Us in Nambour, Ruff’n’Ready in Canberra and Two Bit Villains in Adelaide as well as a number of local and independent markets including the upcoming GreazeFest Kustom Kulture Festival in Brisbane. Speaking of GreazeFest, Megan Rizzo Photography will be there too so if you want to be captured in your Sunday best be sure to drop by her photobooth for a tutti frutti polaroid! Megan has been an absolute dream to work with and I am forever indebted to her for capturing such fantastic images to use throughout these features. Another big thank you goes to Rod and Maxine for allowing us to shoot on location in their amazing tiki bar, the Soused Seas.

18 July, 2014

Road to Tiki Oasis: The Thing From The Black Lagoon

What's the Road to Tiki Oasis without some tiki mugs!? The beauty and brains behind Black Lagoon Designs is my friend Danielle, a tiki-o-phile who completely designs, hand sculpts, fires, glazes then markets and sells the amazing ceramic tiki mugs produced under her label. What began as a hobby, Dani has since turned her passion into a business and it’s been amazing watching her grow and expand her designs and client base.


Made from ceramic, the mugs are 100% handmade, durable and hold PLENTY of your favourite drink. Trust me (ouch my head!) Unsurprisingly, Dani's designs are in high demand so her Etsy store is currently sold out but I've heard word from the lady herself that she'll have some pretty new babies restocked soon so be sure to keep your eye out. Until then, join me in drooling over her Facebook page.


The stuff her crazy brain dreams up is pretty awesome and she also happens to make a mean cocktail to go in her tiki mugs. Putting a slightly more feminine spin on the usual tiki mug offerings, the mugs produced by Black Lagoon Designs range in size from these petite pastel shot glasses to the more traditionally-sized tiki mugs capable of holding a bucketful of the best mai tai.
 
From puffer fish to boneheads, pirates to octopus, pinstripers to head hunters and everything in between there’s a mug to suit your drink of choice. Better yet, Black Lagoon Designs do custom creations so if you’ve got some bizarre idea floating round in your head Dani loves nothing more than to make it a reality. Her mugs generally retail at around $35 but if you want something custom just shoot her a message and she can give you a figure.
 

Now while I was travelling around the US last year, I collected my fair share of tiki mugs and drooled over plenty more but the designs and stunning glazes that Dani dreams up certainly give them a run for their money. Her designs are beautiful, colourful and inventive and she continues to offer a fresh take on the tiki concept, particularly with newer designs like pink flamingo mugs and these toucan accoutrements. Damn my girl is talented!
 
And speaking of talented friends, could we ever get sick of the eye candy created by Megan Rizzo Photography!? No. The answer is most definitely no! Shot on location at the Soused Seas, it was great fun losing ourselves in this oasis of cool. Thank you to Rod and Maxine for allowing us to come in and make ourselves at home! A big thank you also goes to Megan for once again not only bringing out the best in me but for capturing the details and gorgeous glazes of these mugs in such fine quality. Cheers!

08 July, 2014

The Road to Tiki Oasis: Kat's Cadillac Hair Flowers

As this is now the third instalment of my Road to Tiki Oasis features, no doubt you've been wondering where on earth I got the stunning hair flowers I've been wearing in the last two features. Dastardly ole me didn't include any information on them in either of the last two posts! Well forgive me, but as I'm sure you'll understand, these beauties are just too divine to be tacked on to another post. They deserve a feature all of their own!

Hand made by Kat's Cadillac Vintage, these stunning artificial hair flowers come in a variety of colours, shapes and sizes and can even be custom ordered to suit anything you can dream up. Featuring everything from tropical fruits to a variety of flower species, these beautifully handcrafted flower hair accessories vary from a tropical tiki vibe to pops of sunny spring colour and are the ideal finishing touch to any outfit.
 
Whether you want to add a touch of vintage glamour to your overall look or want to shake things up Carmen Miranda style, there is just so much variety in size and colour to choose from. If you've got a particular outfit in mind, Kat's Cadillac hair flowers can colour match and design a hair piece to contrast or complement your ensemble.

Made from durable synthetic flowers that won't crumple or fray, these stunning hair flowers absolutely are the Cadillac of the hair flower world (although sold at closer to 1950s prices than most products of a similar quality on the market). Artfully arranged, the hair flowers come backed by a soft felt and large silver alligator clip that fastens securely to your hair and won't slip or slide out of place but also won't damage or pull on your hair.
 
These versatile clips not only draw an immediate focus for your hair but can also be worn as an eye catching floral statement on clothing and even footwear if you're game. Handmade by my beautiful friend Katrina, these gorgeous hair flowers are designed with an eye for vintage in mind. Having been a dedicated vintage collector for her entire life (she has a whole room in her house filled with amazing vintage treasures and that's not even her personal collection!), Katrina has a deep knowledge of all things vintage. Keep an eye out on the Kat's Cadillac Vintage page for amazing vintage clothing to pair with your hair flowers and strut your stuff as the complete package.

As for me, no doubt I'll be talk of Tiki Oasis sporting these spectacular original handcrafted creations and I can't wait to tell everyone that they're Aussie made! Another spectacular handcrafted original that is Aussie made is Megan Rizzo Photography and once again she has managed to capture all the little details that make these hair flowers and therefore these images special. It was so fun getting flowery and fruity with her and she went above and beyond to make these images really pop, including pulling some impressive poses herself to get her lense right into the action.
 
I'll leave you now so you can order up a hair flower storm in peace.
 
You're welcome!

01 July, 2014

The Road to Tiki Oasis: Stars & Swallows

When I put the call out for my Road to Tiki Oasis features, one of the first to jump at the opportunity was long time blog supporters Stars and Swallows. Giving me free reign to jump on their website and choose something I thought would be suitable, it didn’t take me long to decide on the Hell Bunny Maui 50s dress. One of the newest arrivals at Stars and Swallows, this colourful cocktail of tropical flora is the perfect outfit for a day of tiki fun in the sun.
 
 
Having worn many a Hell Bunny dress in my time, I was confident that this dress would measure up to all the quality and comfort I’ve enjoyed in the past and I wasn’t wrong. I’m an absolute sucker for a halter neck as the bust line it gives is so super flattering, particularly on larger busts. Although sometimes the pitfall of larger busts in halters is the pressure the halter can put on your neck however the ties on the Hell Bunny Maui 50s dress are thicker and sturdier than on some of the other Hell Bunny halter dresses and therefore are much more comfortable to wear, particularly for long periods of time. Made from stretch cotton and featuring a centre back zip, the shirring in the side back panels of the bodice ensure a comfortable fit that’s perfect for your size and shape, moulding and stretching with your body.
 
 
The design of the dress means that it falls in a nice, full A-line and sits perfectly without a petticoat so if you intend on wearing this beauty in the tropical climates it calls for, you don’t have to worry about sweating under the extra layers of a petticoat. Of course if you’re willing to brave the heat or aren’t lucky enough to be wearing it poolside under the Californian sun, there’s plenty of room for a petticoat to amp things up a notch and make full use of that full skirt. Besides, once you start twirling away (and trust me you won’t be able to stop) you create your own kind of air conditioning.
 
 
$69.00 ON SALE - Stars & Swallows

One of the things that struck me the minute I laid eyes on the Maui 50s dress is the beautiful colours popping against the black backdrop. Reminiscent of those famous Polynesian velvet paintings, the colourful flowers and fern print of this dress is practically luminescent. You’ll certainly stand out in this stunner and best of all, with so many colours to work with accessorising is not only fun and versatile, but also cheap if you need it to be as the chances of you already owning some complementary coloured accessories are pretty high.
 
 
Still if you feel like splurging and getting a whole range of colourful accessories to match and clash, Stars and Swallows offer everything from tropical tiki bamboo bags to hair accessories, jewellery, petticoats, belts and more. A great way to introduce even more pops of colour, belts help to nip in your waist and create that sexy hourglass shape, or stick to classic black like I did to make it versatile for a night sipping mai tais at the local tiki bar. Don’t forget, it’s all in the details and this adorable tiki mug brooch by Ella Mobbs is the perfect way to say ‘rack em up bar keep’.
 

I just can’t say enough about the Hell Bunny Maui 50s dress and the whole range available at Stars and Swallows. The colours of this dress are even more brilliant in real life and there is just so much opportunity to change this look up every day of the week. I also have to thank Megan Rizzo Photography for capturing this dress and all the little details so beautifully. She has helped to show that the print is far more three dimensional than it looks online as well as the fun and movement that this beauty creates. Mahalo Megan!

24 June, 2014

The Road to Tiki Oasis: Aloha Beachwear

I can safely say I never ever thought I would EVER wear a bikini. There are so many reasons and yes, my self-confidence was one of them. I don’t have a ‘bikini body’ and so it just wasn’t something that I ever considered for myself despite seeing girls larger than me wearing them and looking great. I guess it’s just one of those things, even those of us who consider ourselves to be generally confident people still have a ‘thing’ that they won’t do. Still, one day I was scrolling through the internet and came across Aloha Beachwear. That day changed my life.
 
I was looking for a nice new swimsuit to take with me to Tiki Oasis, something tropical that would fit the tiki vibe. At first I struggled to find a print that I liked, but when I came across Aloha Beachwear I knew I would be getting one of their suits. I looked at the one piece and then had the crazy idea that maybe, just maybe I could wear the bikini? Before I had time to change my mind, I emailed Sacha and she helped me with sizing. The next thing I knew I had this gorgeous flowered high waist vintage style bikini on its way to me.
 
When my package arrived, I was extremely happy to see that the print was true to the colour and images on the website, something I have had issues with in the past from other sellers. I was also very happy to notice the metal back closure on the bikini top, as a large chested lady having something reliable keeping it all together back there is extremely important – no wardrobe malfunctions for me thanks! Made of long lasting premium quality polyamid-elasthan fabric, the bikini has a comfortable stretch that moulds to your body, smoothing and supporting as it goes.
 
 
$75.00 + FREE SHIPPING!

The high waisted bottoms feature ruching across the front panel which flatters the tummy without adding any extra bulk because let’s face it, no one wants added bulk on their tummy – particularly in a swimsuit! The seams are also nice and soft and don’t cause any irritation in delicate places plus they don’t leave unsightly marks on your skin. When I first put the top on, I was a little worried by the fact that the cups didn’t feature any underwire and I wondered if they would be too small. However, with a little adjustment and the correct tension on the halter tie top, my ladies were sitting pretty. There is a small section of wiring at the sides of either cup that offers a bit of support and prevents any side spillage which again, for someone like me, is a godsend.
 
 
It’s the little details like the soft seams, light ruching and side wire that have so impressed me about this suit. Sacha is a German lady living in Thailand and has be creating these and many more gorgeous swimsuits from her small sewing room for the last 3 years. Not that you’d guess that though, as it’s clear that her designs are well thought out with all types of body shapes in mind. The material is soft and slinky and the waist band sits firmly without cutting in yet there is no rolling down during sitting or movement and trust me, I well and truly tested that out with all the poses I was pulling during this shoot with Megan Rizzo Photography!
 
 
I never thought I’d ever wear a bikini let alone post pictures of myself in one all over the internet, but thanks to the great structural integrity and flattering cut of this gorgeous swimsuit by Aloha Beachwear, my life and my attitude have been completely changed. A big thank you must also go to Megan Rizzo Photography for helping me to feel so comfortable and confident in what was a completely new and slightly scary life experience. There was no over the top glam, no over-retouching, just me. Megan was so encouraging and supportive and has captured the best version of the real me and I'm so grateful to her!
 
Aloha Beachwear - made in paradise for the vintage-loving lady.

11 June, 2014

Cooly Rocks On: Beatnik Blowout


The Queen’s Birthday long weekend used to mean one thing – Wintersun. A great event not to be missed held along the foreshore of Coolangatta. A chance to soak up the sun’s rays and warm ourselves from the crisp winter seaside breezes shopping (drinking) and dancing up a storm. Unfortnately Wintersun is no more, but the Coolangatta community wanted to keep the vibe of the event happening and therefore created the Cooly Rocks On festival. Sadly, these days the event leaves about as much to be desired as its name.



The old grey mare she ain’t what she used to be. Although, this year I saw a glimmer of hope with the Beatnik Blowout. Originally we hadn’t planned on going down to Cooly at all, but once the fliers for the Beatnik Blowout started circulating, we figured we’d better go down for just one day to take a look. After all, we had A LOT of friends who were contributing some great art pieces. No to mention, legendary low brow artist The Pizz was over from the USA as a special guest. After being lucky enough to have breakfast with The Pizz upon his arrival in Brisbane on the Wednesday morning, the luck continued with a positively outstanding day weather-wise on Saturday.



We joined up with some friends who had an apartment down there for the weekend and spent the day checking out the Beatnik Blowout, enjoying beers on the balcony of the apartment, having fish and chips by the water, sneaking back up to the apartment for more beers, strolling along in the sunshine marvelling at all the great cars aaaand…back up to the apartment for more beers. It certainly was a fantastic way to break up the day and we had a great time.



If it wasn’t for me needing to save my pennies for my upcoming US trip, I could have spent a fortune at the Beatnik Blowout! Some of my favourite pieces were a black velvet print by Matt Black featuring Suicide’s ‘Zombie’, a sheet of metal expertly airbrushed with a kick ass Frankenstein, an awesome Picasso-inspired beatnik painting by Woz and a rare vinyl illustrated by The Pizz – just to name a few. Still, I did shout myself a couple of little trinkets including this cool zombie finger key chain and this beatnik bongos key chain mad by Kamakazi and custom pinstriped by Scotty Makin.

Black Lagoon Designs - seriously, how amazing is this!?
It was a really fun day and we returned home thinking the weekend couldn’t get any better. Except, IT DID! Not only did we end up booking 5 days in Japan in December for what could possibly be the last ever Mooneyes, but on Monday The Pizz cooked us all his famous fish tacos!! Too cool for school, aside from being a phenomenal artist this guy is also a fantastic cook! Watching him work, he sure knows his way around the kitchen and we now know some great places around the US where we can get the best fish tacos. I can’t wait to try a baja fish taco!



It was an awesome weekend and one that’s sure to stick with us for a long time. Don’t be sad if you didn’t make it to the Beatnik Blowout – there are some Beatnik events happening this Friday 13 at both Vision Skin Tattoo at Lawnton and True Love Tattoo at Sherwood. Woz is doing $30 Friday 13 flash with some stalls and even a pin up photo booth with the lovely Phill Kustom and Mez is doing $13 tattoos + $7 tip with a bunch of Friday 13 flash as well as cuts by Johnny Voodoos Barbershop and rum by Sailor Jerry!

So get along and support your local Beatniks!

03 June, 2014

Welcome Megan Rizzo Photography!

This week I am incredibly excited to announce that I have joined forces with the incredible Megan Rizzo Photography for some fantastic upcoming features in the lead up to Tiki Oasis! In the coming months, you can look forward to saying aloha to some tropi-cool features on everything tiki including swimsuits, hair flowers, Hawaiian-inspired dresses and of course, the all important tiki mug! I am so happy to have Megan on board as not only is she an award-winning photographer, she is a wonderful lady who I feel is a kindred spirit, particularly after our business meeting turned more into a (long) leisurely friendly girly catch up. We are totally on the same page, and she has a wonderful heart. Plus we're practically neighbours! So get ready for some real eye candy in the upcoming features! But first, meet Megan...
 
Megan Rizzo’s love of all things photography began in the school dark room in Tamworth, where black and white prints taken with the school SLR were lovingly processed and hung to drip dry. Twenty years on Megan is a Tarragindi local and an accomplished portrait photographer, shooting for businesses, love-struck couples, beautiful babies, perfect pin-ups, burlesque babes and more!
 
Megan’s life experience as a mother and wife has sculpted her unique photographic style. Unpretentious, candid and palpable, whether in black and white or bold colour, her photographs tell a story to whomever they meet.

 
Megan was the original founder of the Woollongabba Antique Centre back in 2009. With her background in Banking and International business Megan used her knowledge and creative flair to establish what is now an iconic part of the Brisbane vintage, retro and rockbilly scene. With two young children at home, Megan chose to re-establish the balance in her family life and take a step back for a few years from the monster that had become the WAC.

Once the youngest of Megan’s children started school, it was an opportunity to go back to her first love of photography. She jumped in with renewed enthusiasm and excitement after leaving it aside for so many years. Juggling motherhood, family, studies and her business in photography keeps her on her toes, but as they say, when you love what you do, you never work a day in your life.

Using photography as the healer, Megan has found redemption in her heart’s true passion and now enjoys using her creative medium as means to tell the story of others and to help them see their own true beauty and worth.
 

Megan has seen great success in the last 12 months through her photography winning the MSIT Cert IV Student of the Year as well as being awarded Best Photoimage, silver and gold image awards as well. During the last year Megan has entered her images into the prestigious AIPP (Australian Institute of Photography) state and national awards winning silver in both.
 
Megan has a fabulous studio and gallery setup purpose-built at her home in Tarragindi. As she has been collecting vintage ball gowns, sequinned frocks and amazing props for years, she has a treasure trove of items that allow her to create a wonderland for her clients to lose themselves in.
 
I am so happy to have Megan Rizzo Photography on board and I'm so excited to bring these features to you, with images that truly showcase the quality of the products. This is something I have been wanting to do for a really long time, but I just hadn't found the right photographer, the right person who felt like a good fit for this blog. But now I have and I'm so happy the universe has brought us together!