This may seem like an obvious concept to all you smart cookies out there – but honestly there are a lot of people (including me once upon a time) who are doing it all wrong!

Before my switched on husband showed me this method, I would muck around with slicing circles, then stacking the slices and dicing little piles of them, all the while crying over the whole sorry mess. If an onion needed to be chopped, I was not excited about the prospect – but now with this ingenious method, I love chopping onions and there isn’t even many tears, it’s over so quickly!

So, discard this how to if it is old news to you, but I have a feeling it will be helpful to a lot of fed up onion chopping souls out there!

Get the full how to chop an onion guide here!

How to Editorial

For those who have been following the how to guides, check out the first printed edition which sums up what the guides are all about!

The guides now feature an exclusive advertising platform, where businesses get a full page colour advert on the back and have a week of all eyes on them while people enjoy the guides at cafes around Coromandel.

Not only that but clubs and organisations have the chance to be involved too – they can be sponsored to do a how to guide. The club gets the exposure and contact info on the front, and the sponsoring business gets the full page advert on the back: a win-win!

It’s all in the editorial, so have a read here!

How to crochet

The ladies down at the library have a wonderful group going on – supporting one another to learn how to crochet, whatever level you are from complete beginner to hands on.

After going to a lesson, I realised that there is a lot to it! There’s a whole new language and skill involved, but if you persist there can be some amazing results. This can’t be summed up on one page, but there is a few titbits in the guide to get you started.

It is a welcoming and inclusive group with very patient teachers – I had to get shown how to loop over and over, but eventually got it!

One of the ladies at the class grew up learning how to crochet from her mother – she told me they spent their evenings sitting together chatting and crocheting their own clothes. What a worthwhile way to spend your evenings! Bonding and making, rather than collectively staring at screens.

The class is every Thursday from 2-3pm. Don’t worry if you don’t have the materials, the group has plenty to share and will be glad to see you there.

If the class doesn’t fit into your schedule, YouTube would be a great place to start. And both online and at the library you can find heaps of patterns to follow.

CLICK HERE to read the full guide!

How to guide #4: Re-design your bedroom

Happy Friday! A bit of weekend inspiration for you: re-designing your bedroom, with hot tips from Tara Rix Interior Design. Some great advice on colour palettes and ways to make just a few small changes to get a whole new look in your room.

I personally love the grey and yellow look and would love to carry that through into my bedroom. What are your favourite colours? Read the attached PDF to see Tara’s ‘how tos’ in incorporating great colour schemes into your bedroom.

Check out Tara’s website for more info on interior design:

CLICK HERE to read the full “How to re-design your bedroom”

How to guide #3: remove signage from your car

I don’t know about the rest of the country, but here on the coast it is pouring with rain – what better time to curl up with a cuppa and learn the basics of DIYing your vehicle?

This week we have Brendon from Whitianga Signs here to tell us how to remove that signage you no longer want on your car. Download the full PDF for all the insider info.

There is a wealth of information out there, and we’re only tapping into a portion of it. Share your knowledge with the world! If you want your business featured on a ‘how to’, get in touch any time at

CLICK HERE to read the full ‘How to remove signage from your car’.

How to guide #2: create a logo for your business

This weeks special ‘how to’ guide is creating a logo for your business! I’d like to stress that the most important take away from this guide is having the right files for your logo, once it has been created.

So many times people send in logos for designs that are low resolution or have a white background, which isn’t ideal for placing it over an image or colour. You need to be up to speed with what format to provide, so that your logo looks professional and polished in all representations.

After all, you have a beautiful logo now, so you need to show it off to its full potential!

Formats are explained on step 4 of the guide – it’s something every business should be aware of. You need every format of your logo and have it saved in a safe, accessible place – backing it up wouldn’t hurt either.

CLICK HERE to read the full ‘How to create a logo for your business’.

Introducing Okey Dokey Designs new ‘How to’ series!


Always wanted to have a go at something but just didn’t know where to start? Well I’m here to solve that problem with advice from experts covering many topics, beautifully designed to be easy on the eye – all to make it easy for you to just get going with it!

First up, we have Kombucha, it is super popular right now – and for good reason! It is great in so many ways for your health. But don’t take it from me – read the attached full detail PDF for advice from Rachel at Hula cafe. If you love it and want to know more, Rachel will be giving a class at the end of the month: “Love Your Gut” essential oil, fermenting and wellness workshop at Hula, Tuesday 30th of July. 6-8pm.

Keep tuned for the weekly ‘How to’ and let me know what you would like to learn ‘how to’! Also if you are an expert in your industry and would like to share some tips with the world – get in touch with me. I’d love to collaborate on a ‘how to’ with you.

CLICK HERE  to view the full ‘How to Make your own Kombucha‘!

A graphic designer’s travel pictures

Having recently been piqued with a fit of travel nostalgia which lead to looking through all my photos, I noticed a reoccurring theme. Scattered throughout the iconic landmarks and nights at bars in faraway lands, are images of the local typography.

What I found fascinating, is that compiled together, these images of lettering actually reflect the feel of that country.

This blog is going to be mostly pictorial, because – of course – images speak louder than words. Feel free to sit down and enjoy  a ‘graphic designers take’ on travel pictures – there will be no laser pointer nor projector involved.


Starting with my favourite photos, I feel these truly reflect our experiences there – including a midnight visit to an abandoned theme park (hence the bad lighting on the last photo).


My second favourite, as it features lettering made of bones from the Sedlec Ossuary, just outside of Prague.


An amazing place full of Harry Potter-esque twisting alleyways and hidden stairs, it also has old faded signs and typography in some interesting places.


A beautiful place, full of friendly folk and lovely castles, we happened to be there at the same time as the Eurovision contest!


Croatia was a non-stop party but I managed to grab a few shots of some beautiful lettering along the way – starting with a quirky hand lettered sign from the local ‘rower’ who rowed our bikes and us across the river.


‘Newcastle’ is actually just pictures from a historic village there – but I love vintage and the signage and lettering is so beautiful, I just had to include it!


A lot of my Amsterdam photos come from the Heineken Bier factory, where it shows the history of Heineken advertising, an interesting insight into the development of design.


A seaside town, Portsmouth also features old designs and faded lettering which really highlights the sense of history in the area.


Only a few shots from Bath, as I was just passing through – but I love the carved street names and the way the floor of the church was paved with carved gravestones.


A bright seaside town, Brighton features some fabulous examples of very different design styles.

I’ll end this blog post here, but there will be a part two (and possibly part three, depending how long it is!) coming soon – featuring photos from London, other parts of England and Kenya.

Shabby Chic Furniture Upcycling

Spending some time in the Coromandel with my family, I decided to give furniture upcylcing a go. I really love the shabby chic style, so decided to go with that.

I’m lucky enough to have a dad who is an excellent builder with a work shed handy, so that helped. To start off with, I decided to practice on an old chest of drawers in my room, here’s a ‘before’ picture:


I removed all the handles and worked on the drawers/main body separately.

My dad lent me his small electric sander, which was useful on the main body. The drawers, I sanded by hand. The drawings on the drawers came right off when sanding.

After sanding down the whole thing, I applied two coats of a pale blue acrylic paint – test posts purchased from Guthrie Bowron were the perfect size.


After the coats dried, I used a sheet of sandpaper to sand back along the edges and parts of the drawers that might have been naturally worn, to achieve a ‘shabby  chic’ look.


After completing the blue coats and sanding parts back, I decided to do more work on it. Because I planned to upholster the handles with fabric, I matched a red paint colour to the fabric. Using the red paint for the tops of the shelves made it ‘pop’ a bit more.

Using masking tape, I taped the edges of the shelves first, then painted one coat of red on each shelf. The reason I only did one coat is because I wanted to sand through two layers of paint to reveal the blue beneath, and in other parts to show the white under that.

With the paint still wet, I removed all of the tape, which came off (mostly) cleanly. After it had dried, I sanded the paint back to blend it for the parts where it hadn’t come off cleanly. The parts where I made mistakes actually worked well with the shabby chic look, and I sanded those to blend as well. After blending, I sanded some more (all manually), to reveal paint layers underneath.

The skirt in the above image (hanging under the drawer) is what I used to upholster the drawer handles with. My dad used to do upholstery on the boats he built, so he showed me a few methods. Tools needed were a stanley knife, material glue, the material and the drawer handles.

I was covering the bottom part of the handle separately to the top. To start with, I put the screw back into the handle, to be able to hold it better well working on it. For the bottom part, I cut a strip of fabric, with one side being slightly rounded. Next, I covered both the strip of fabric and the bottom part of the handle with glue. Leaving the glue for a few seconds to become tacky, I then applied the fabric to the handle, making sure to stretch it round to avoid wrinkles. I then trimmed the excess off the bottom with the stanley knife.

The next bit was a bit trickier. First I cut a large piece of material, making sure to leave plenty of excess. I repeated the process of applying glue to the material and the handle – this time I only put glue on a small portion of the material – enough to cover the top only. Then, placing the handle upside down, with all the material spread out around it, I cut the surrounding fabric into strips.


Next, I applied glue to each strip of fabric, along with the corresponding bit of handle it would be glued to. Stretching the strip of fabric tightly, I glued it down, making sure to tuck it in as I did so, to fit to the shape of the handle (I did this using the flat edge of the screwdriver to push the fabric into the indent). Repeating the process all the way around, the final bits started to overlap but that was fine as it was underneath anyway so not easily visible.

After all the strips were glued down, I dragged a stanley knife along the indent where the two different fabric pieces met, and all the excess fabric then came off cleanly when pulled. Repeat this entire process 10 times on all the handles and, viola, I have floral fabric covered handles!

After screwing all the handles back into the drawers and reassembling it, I have a finished product. Painted a light blue, with bright red shelves and sanding to create a shabby look, plus floral covered handles, this is the completed look: