Welcome to  Artuccino – Diane Challenor’s blog of accidental discoveries. It’s my commonplace book.

Sometimes I get so enthusiastic about a new discovery that I want to shout it from the rooftops and sometimes I simply and quietly want to paste a memory into my commonplace book. It is here, within this blog, I’ve found a rooftop and i’ve found a nook for my commonplace book.

Much of my inspiration comes from reading and when I enjoy a book I sometimes (not always) want to write down my impressions. Mixed with my love of reading is a desire to share my other eclectic interests e.g. computer technology, photography, videography, travel, art and recording the sounds of nature etc. Then, at other times, I discover things full of wonder and wisdom and I’m just driven to share my experience and pleasure.

Along with my Bookish Observations, Artuccino hosts The Allan Cunningham Project, edited by Diane Challenor. The project focuses on an early Australian Colonial Botanist Explorer, Allan Cunningham 1791-1839. The Project’s Team have become quite fond of the man and we will occasionally post a blog about him and his friends. You can find out more about the Project via this link.

The History of Artuccino

Founded in 2005


Artuccino has had many transformations and makeovers, it began, not on the internet, but as an email newsletter in 1995, titled “The Serious Sydney Socialiser”, which was created by me, for five of my friends, to solve a “social media” problem. Social Media, as we know it today, had not been invented back in 1995, it would be eight years before MySpace appeared, followed by the very successful Facebook. My newsletter’s purpose was to communicate Sydney’s interesting cerebral events (i.e. the events that interested me) for my more seriously minded friends.

Around 1995 I was enjoying many different events in Sydney, related to arts and literature and history. Art was my focus, spending many hours in The Art Gallery of New South Wales, attending their social events. My interest in art extended to learning how to draw and paint. Also, I followed my literary and historical interests by fossicking around The State Library of New South Wales’ Mitchell Library, reading lots, researching here and there, and sitting in on talks at historical societies, writers’ groups, and going on bushwalks. Yes, I was having a lovely time, immersing myself in some very interesting events. My source of information were the monthly newsletters of the various Sydney arts and literary organisations, museums, art galleries, bushwalking groups, the Writers’ Center at Rozelle, Historical Societies, Community College classes, magazines and newspapers, all filled with delightful and intriguing events.

My friends were fascinated by my comings and goings, and they indicated that they may enjoy the events too. They asked me to let them know about any events that they may find interesting. I realised immediately what a big job that would be, it posed a problem because a lot of my comings and goings were happily spontaneous, and the range of events that caught my interest spanned quite a few subjects; also, doing things alone gives one a great deal of freedom. I indicated to my friends that a ring-around to them would not be easy to do, and I would be filled with guilt if I left someone out, so I decided to compile a list of events that had drawn my attention for the coming month. The idea was that they could peruse the list and call me if something piqued their interest. So, The Serious Sydney Socialiser Monthly Newsletter was born.

Unsurprisingly, it didn’t last long because it was a lot of work, and I discovered that the Newsletter didn’t really generate multiple phone calls from friends saying they would love to go to an event on the list. Very soon I abandoned the Newsletter, but it stayed within my creative ideas. And then … life got in the way.

In the year 1999 I was given a computer by my new partner (who is now my husband, and also the other member of the Artuccino Team). Graphic Design became my special interest, and in 2005, a work colleague, who was aware of my interest in web design and coding, gave me a very large book titled “Teach Yourself Web Design”; it was then that Artuccino was born.

Artuccino’s first appearance on the internet was as a “coffee café in cyberspace”, hence the play on the words Cappuccino/Artuccino. Artuccino was where I attempted to create an imaginary-café where there was a place for visitors to relax and enjoy bright colours, recommendations for reading, a list on the pinboard of cerebral-social-events (The Serious Sydney Socialiser Newsletter re-invented), and we also invited visitors to display their art on the walls; we offered to create a personal page for budding artists, without charge, so they could display their art on the internet. It was for hobbyists, who weren’t interested in selling their art, but desired to display it. As a result, Artuccino became an internet gallery for about thirty artists, a place for poetry, and a book-launching platform for a couple of authors. We enjoyed the interaction, it was very gratifying.

The idea of a “café in cyberspace” wasn’t one that was easily understood. I was constantly asked: “Tell me again Di, what is it, what is it supposed to do. Are you selling something?” … Nope, they didn’t get it ! The concept was a little out of the “square”. Looking back, I can see now, I was attempting to create a Social Media space, where people could upload their art and enjoy it on the screen and share it with the world. Little did I know that in a few years MySpace and Facebook would arrive, and give people the opportunity of sharing their photos and art; they changed our world of sharing, and eliminated the need for me to help people display their art.

Since then, my interest in art has morphed into a serious interest in literature and writing, so Artuccino has become a book blog, and I am now a Book-Blogger. And that is why the name of my website is Artuccino, and not the more appropriate name of Bookuccino, a title very similar to the name of a café in Sydney’s beach suburb of Avalon. So Artuccino it is, and Artuccino it will stay.

Welcome! Enjoy a browse through my Bookish Observations; magically you too may find something that piques your interest. Let me know, via our contacts page, if you find something here that inspires you. And, if you desire to step back in time, to the eighteen hundreds, to our Australian Colonial past, we invite you have a fossick through The Allan Cunningham Project which is hosted by Artuccino, and edited and researched by The Allan Cunningham Team, being Diane and John Challenor.