interview: mixtape zine gals

by kath_red on 12/05/2008

in People, Whip-Up

Nichola and Justine have just celebrated their 4th issue – 1 Year anniversary of Mixtape zine. It has gone from success to success and to celebrate they are kindly donating four packs of their first four issues (if you have the first four already – then they will send you the next four as they come out). To win a mxtape zine pack just leave a comment here about how the craft blog world has helped or inspired you to live your dream. (comments open until Friday this week).

Mix tape zine is a collision of craft, eco-cool and pop culture kitsch it features recipes, eco tips, crafty people profiles, ethical business practices etc – you can purchase back issues here or find out more here. Find Justine here and Nichola’s blog here.

Kath: Nichola and Justine you are both based in Melbourne and met through your blogs – finding out that you just lived around the corner from each other. I love that sort of serendipity. Can you tell me a little more about how you met – what ‘attracted’ you to each other?

Nichola: We met when Justine had read my blog and realised that she lived nearby the cafe I owned with my husband and we met up for coffee. Justine moved and soon after we closed our cafe and moved to the same area only 3 streets away, talk about stalker!

I think what attracted me to Justine is that in some ways we are so similar but in many ways we are total opposites, she’s an organised ‘let’s get it done now’ kind of girl whereas I’m more of a chilled ‘Yeah sure, I’ll be done at some point, usually the last minute’ kind of girl. A little bit of chalk and cheese but we complement each other nicely, she kicks me up the butt when needed and I tell her to chill when she’s running round like a headless chicken and it all works out well. She’s pretty funny too!

Justine: We have pretty much been inseparable since we first met. Our kids get along well and I think the fact that we are completely different is the “attraction”. Nichola is an “earth mother” and I love that about her.

Kathreen: Can you tell me a little more about how you first thought up the idea of mixtape zine?

Nichola: I had been thinking for some time that I’d like to start a zine of some kind. To be honest I was thinking small scale, something handmade that I could maybe pass around to fellow crafty people like myself. I told Justine of my idea and she expressed an interest in doing it together. We discussed what we thought the zine should be like and we came up with craft, ‘green’ ideas, pop culture, music and parenting amongst others, so really the zine has quite a broad range of topics. Then it was only a matter of a few months before our first issue went up for sale.

Kathreen: What sort of research did you do – how did you decide on format etc?

Justine: We based our zine on the American indie zine “Croq”. Heather was very helpful helping us out in the early stages. My husband Simon is a graphic designer so we left the design up to him.

Kathreen: Details details: Does the zine pay for itself? How much time do you spend on getting each zine to press?

Justine: We photocopied our first issue but after that we purchased a laser jet printer. We get our supplies wholesale which is the only way we can afford to print this quality at home. We have financed every issue via pre-sales, so that we only print for the demand. We have not had to put any money in ourselves, the zine pays for itself. We are going to apply for a grant so that we can at least pay our regular contributors. We do the pagination and Simon designs it all. The minute we release an issue we start the process for the next issue, so three months to get an issue together, that’s working on it most days.

Kathreen: You have had gorgeous covers – do you take submissions or do you commission the covers?

Justine: All the artists that have done the covers have done it for love! We approach people.

Kath: You both have a really great eye for design as well as being entrepreneurs and astute business women – can you tell me a bit about your backgrounds – what did you do before?

Nichola: I’m originally from the UK and moved to Melbourne with my husband and daughter in 2004. I was a pastry chef up until my second daughter came along and now I’m a stay at home mum to three girls who keep me very busy. I took up sewing, crafting and blogging when I arrived in Melbourne and things took off from there!

Justine: I come from a sales/marketing background. I worked in the music industry for a good 10 years.

Kathreen: Can you tell me a bit about the craft movement in Australia?

Justine: You know to be honest I’m not sure about the “craft movement”. I just happen to be following my heart and this is the path it has lead me down. Once I discovered the craft blogworld in 2005 I was hooked. What a bunch of fabulous artist/crafter that merge together and inspire. I realised that there was a market for a zine and we took the plunge and have one up for offer!

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

1 allison May 12, 2008 at 5:09 am

Knitting blogs inspired me to learn how to knit!


2 Thien-Kim May 12, 2008 at 7:46 am

I have so many craft blogs in my Google Reader. I don’t have alot time to craft between my 2.5 yr old and my home business (non-craft related), but reading all the blogs lets me live vicariously in others’ crafting adventures. I get so many great ideas that I put in my journal/sketchbook for when I do have the time to craft.

One of my favorite blogs is Rice Freeman-Zachary’s She talks about creativity and she’s funny as heck! She doesn’t take art/crafting seriously–don’t worry about making mistakes and just do it! (This is something I struggle with).


3 Betsy May 12, 2008 at 12:57 pm

I love this magazine for it’s homely nature. It has a great eclectic mix of articles and quirky design. I have all 4 issues and intend to keep subscribing to it – ESPECIALLY as it is produced in Australia – an added bonus. Well done Nichola and Justine.

As for blogs – I had never looked at any until my friend, Ruth, put me on to whipup and now I’m hooked. How else would you find a pattern to knit an olive or make a book. The craft blog network is such a generous community – I think that that is what I find so inspiring about it. Apart from the fact that I now have 3 knitted olives and a knitted eyeball sitting in my living room!


4 jessica May 12, 2008 at 1:18 pm

i have learned everything i know about crafting and sewing from fellow bloggers. the twenty or so blogs i read on a daily basis provide me with entertainment and resources. my favorite craft blogs are a mix of personal stories and a place for a creator to showcase her work. i have also made a few really good friends in the blogging community. don’t know what i would do without them!


5 s. May 12, 2008 at 6:26 pm

seeing the ways that people from EVERY different type of lifestyle manage to craft is what is inspiring to me. I see some of the blogs where people have a million kids and yet every image is perfect, colorful and cheerful and I feel like – what?? who are these people? But then I like to compare them to people who seem more “real” to me and it cheers me up. :)


6 méri May 12, 2008 at 6:44 pm

I’d never dream with craft work. Since 2005 i have to leave my work for medical reasons and i found out the craft world through so many blogs! I learnt lots of things! And i knew some special friends!
Thanks to all.
Congrats to you both and thanks for your work!


7 melanie May 12, 2008 at 9:12 pm

I have just jumped on the craft bandwagon in the last few months. Blogs have been a crucial step in that. You used to have to have parties in your home if you wanted to learn new techniques. Now you just read the blogs. I have so many blogs in my reader and so many new ideas to try out. Definitely been a major impact on my crafting lifestyle.


8 Jeanne May 13, 2008 at 12:04 am

I was happy to find Whip Up since I’d been crafting in a bubble. I didn’t know too many other people who made things.

I love meeting crafters, and if they don’t know about Whip Up, sending them here.


9 geek+nerd May 13, 2008 at 12:43 am

Crafting and blogging and enjoying the friendships that I’ve made doing those two things has been such a joyous outlet for me for many years now, and I hope it continues to do so for years to come!


10 Cristina May 13, 2008 at 1:08 am

The generous inspiration of bloggers and the visual feast of their photos keeps my choices and adaptations and inventions fresh and fulfilling.


11 Laila May 13, 2008 at 6:05 am

The web is the most amazing place for giving you the feeling of belonging to a wider community of other crafters. It is inclusive, non selective and everyone is so generous with info and ideas. It really feels like a force for good in the craft world. It sure beats mindless tv, even if I sometimes realise I have created nothing today but have browsed to my hearts content.


12 Frances May 13, 2008 at 6:35 am

I don’t know many people that craft so it’s great to read people’s blogs and see what they are doing. I have found all sorts of interesting sites which I would never have visited if it wasn’t for recommendations on people’s blogs. The only downside is the temptation to buy all the amazing books that I see recommended.


13 Heather May 13, 2008 at 8:33 pm

I signed up for Molly Coddle’s Mini Swap which gave me a deadline to learn how to sew a bag – and I went on to sew a second and third bag, then to make my own variation of M. Stewart’s strawberry pincushions… The projects really gave me confidence to keep sewing and I’ve discovered that I am the kind of sewer who prefers to follow instructions via pics and without a pattern.

In addition to it all, my son learned a little about how the postal system worked and we made friends with a lovely family in Australia!


14 Laura May 15, 2008 at 1:41 am

I sometimes spend the time I could spend crafting on reading craft blogs. I’m quite addicted. They are always so inspirational, though!

Just this week I “lived the dream” of being a sewing teacher because of an inspirational jellyfish design by a craft blogger. It was so much fun to teach six year olds to sew and their finished work was amazing. Maybe it will go on to inspire someone else… who will inspire someone else… who will inspire… Hee hee!


15 Kristin R May 16, 2008 at 12:26 am

Oh I love zines! I actually make one myself. I guess that is how craft blogs have inspired me to live my dreams. Since starting a blog about 2 1/2 years ago, I have started my own website, etsy shop, and quit my job to work out of my home! I would have to give all the credit to other wonderful creative people who’s blogs I read before starting my own and the friendships that I made there. Everyone was so encouraging and inspired me to just go for it and give it a shot.

Wonderful interview! Whip Up, you continue to bring inspiring wonderful things to my attention everyday, thank you!


16 dorie May 16, 2008 at 7:10 pm

Jeanne (above) sent me to whipup what now seems likes ages ago, and it was the beginning of a whole new world. Online craft has given me a place to share and to be inspired by people who “get” what I get.


17 Deb Ferguson May 27, 2008 at 12:39 pm

A few weeks after Mix Tape was launched, I moved to New Zealand. I have craved it since and was thrilled to discover that you have opened shop online. I am waiting for my Paypal to be approved and I’ll be on that subscribe line… congrats on your zine staying on my mind.

I love craft blogs – the stories shared and the selflessness of the craft community to share tutorials, links and love continue to amaze me. Today I found directions to the best Fabric shop in Tokyo (will be dropping in to the 8 floors of heaven when I get there in Feb!)


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