31 October 2008

Trends: Macarons (Macaroons)

I keep reading about Macarons. These are sometimes referred to as Macaroons, (although technically they are a different cookie made from coconut), Parisian Macarons and French Macarons. I'm talking about those crispy, pastel, sweet treats with the soft centre that look so delicate and pretty.

According to Wikipedia, Macarons are sandwich-like pastries made with two thin cookies and a cream or ganache between the cookies. They are a traditional French pastry from Nancy and are said to date back to the 18th Century.

Macarons are popping up all over the place. They were featured heavily in Sofia Coppola's influential movie Marie Antoinette in 2006, and I have seen them on many blogs recently including (Inside A Black Apple), Babyccino, Syrup & Tang (with a great review of macarons in Sydney and Melbourne), ColourLovers, David Lebovitz, Fashion Week Daily, and Serious Eats, to name just a few.

Two much-revered brands are Pierre Hermé and Ladurée, both based in Paris. For more detailed information about macarons, there is a great post by Chocolate & Zucchini. And if you just can't get enough of macarons, check out images on Flickr.

Images: Top Louis Beche via Flickr ; Middle Marc Kjerland via Flickr ; Bottom ShironekoEuro via Flickr

30 October 2008

Australian Artist Spotlight: Ali J.

I'm seeing more and more mixed media art on Etsy, particularly using vintage book pages to layer and add depth to images. An Aussie artist who creates beautiful work in this genre is Ali J., whose dreamy rosy-cheeked women are both modern and classic.

Ali J. is based in Western Australia and specialises in illustrative art, explaining that she aims to "create characters that are familiar yet relatable". I absolutely adore her piece "Kinship" (pictured) which is just one of many beautiful designs. Ali also creates badges, magnets, jewellery, and other crafty items featuring her illustrations.

You can find our more about Ali J.'s art on the Ali J. Website and Blog. And you can buy Ali J. illustrations and art on Etsy, Madeit, LeeLoo (check out the lovely jewellery), various stockists in Australia and craft markets in Western Australia.

Image: Ali J.

29 October 2008

Mozi's New Side Plates

One of my favourite Aussie design brands Mozi has just launched side plates in all their signature prints. These plates would be perfect on top of a plain white table setting, or for morning/afternoon tea, or even just to hold soap in the bathroom.

You can find the Mozi side plates at the Mozi store online for AUD$12.95, and at select stockists. Mozi also now offers online shopping in the UK with local shipping. While you are there, check out the 2008 Christmas range in stock now.

Image: Mozi

28 October 2008

Stylish Kids: Polka

Polka is a fun kid-friendly fashion brand with a great selection of Scandanavian-inspired designs and prints. Jo and Marika started Polka in 2007, and after a hugely successful first season, launched a range of girlswear sizes 2 to 8 in August 2008.

Some of Polka's key features include bigger armholes and neckholes, and durable, breathable fabric that last lots of washing. Separates are designed to mix and match so that little girls can put together their own outfits. Jo and Marika already have plans for adding Boyswear, Babiesware and Sleepwear to the range for Winter 2009.

You can find Polka at a range of stockists listed on their Website.

Get info on more great children's clothes labels from Australia at Bondville Kids: Australian Designer Baby Clothes. And shop online for kids fashion from great stores in the Australian Online Kids and Baby Store Directory.

Image: Polka

27 October 2008

Drool-worthy Design: Hollabee

Bondville has been an homage to Australian textile and fabric design of late, and today I'm thrilled to profile Hollabee. Bianca van Meeuwen is the brain behind the brand, and designs and produces all Hollabee textiles, stationery, homewares and accessories in Melbourne. She is also a co-founder of the Ink & Spindle group which specialises in hand-printed textiles.

Bianca is orginally from the Netherlands and has made Australia her home since 2005. Amazingly, she has no formal education in graphic design, which is a complete inspiration for those of us who are self-taught artists.

I absolutely adore some of the new designs that Bianca is printing through Ink & Spindle and can't wait for them to be officially launched. This "Seeds in Green Tea" design is so serene and would fit just as beautifully in an Aussie beach shack as on an adirondack chair in Cape Cod.

The Hollabee textile range is hand printed with water based, solvent free inks on cotton/linen and hemp/organic cotton and paper goods are printed in Melboure.

You can find Hollabee fabrics at these stockists and at the Hollabee Etsy store.

Image: Hollabee

24 October 2008

Stylish Kids: Tea Pony

I'm absolutely besotted with the Tea Pony children's label; the use of limited edition vintage fabric, the sweet designs, and the dreamy nostalgic state they put me in. How adorable is this collectable dress - a collaboration between Mandy Sutcliffe from Belle & Boo and Tea Pony.

Tea Pony was created by Esa West and Luke Cooper in Byron Bay after the birth of their daughter Coco in 2007. The clothing styles have comfort in mind (breathable cotton, generous fit, no tight elastics or scratchy tags) and are designed and produced in the Northern Rivers region of NSW.

You can find Tea Pony clothing at stockists around the country, and find more about the label at the Tea Pony Website and Blog.

You can find more Australian children's clothing labels at Australian Designer Baby Clothes. And shop online for kids fashion from great stores in the Australian Online Kids and Baby Store Directory.

Image: Tea Pony

23 October 2008

Drool-worthy Design: Pippijoe

What is it about Melbourne that produces all these great textile designers? Caitlin Klooger from Pippijoe is one of our best-known fabric designers and also creates beautiful accessories and home furnishings with her own fabric. All designs are screenprinted using environmentally friendly inks on natural fibres (100% hemp, hemp/cotton mix or a linen/cotton blend).

Pippijoe fabrics and soft furnishings are so hot - you'll find them in all the great Australian interior magazines (most recently in the November 2008 issues of Real Living and Home Beautiful) and a huge array of design blogs (Shannon Fricke, Decor8, Apartment Therapy!).

You can find all the latest Pippijoe products on Caitlin's online diary (including these amazing baskets). And you can buy them at the Pippijoe online shop, the Pippijoe Etsy shop, and a range of great stockists (listed here).

Image: Pippiejoe

22 October 2008

Stylish Kids: Tees 2 Knees

Sheryilyn Palmer and her Mum Joan of kids' label Tees 2 Knees are kept busy handmaking gorgeous appliqued t-shirts for little ones. There are a bunch of cool designs to choose from on white long and short-sleeved t-shirts. You can also personalise your shirt with a letter/initial at no extra cost.

Tees 2 Knees manufactures their own tee shirts from Australian-made fabric and embellishes them with fabrics from all walks of life.

You can buy Tees 2 Knees t-shirts on the Tees 2 Knees Website. And check out Tees 2 Knees at the upcoming Mathilda's Markets in Brisbane on 19th July, 2009.

Note: Tees 2 Knees is currently on hold as Sherilyn and her family travel.

You can find more independent Aussie children's labels at Australian Designer Baby Clothes. And shop online for kids fashion from great stores in the Australian Online Kids and Baby Store Directory.

Image: Tees 2 Knees

21 October 2008

Baby Shower Gifts: Milestone Press Family Diary

The coolest baby records book in print (in my opinion) is the beautifully designed A Book About Me by Milestone Press. With an ultra-flexible format and Australian-specific pages, I really do think it is the best in its field.

The very clever Annabel and Fiona (based in Melbourne and Brisbane) behind Milestone Press also have a number of other well-designed print products, including the new Master Plan 2009 family diary/planner. You can see a week at a glance with areas for birthdays, dinner and lots of room for daily activities. It also comes with a separate address book with an birthday/anniversary planner that you can transfer from year to year. The pages run from October 2008 through to January 2010.

You can buy Milestone Press products directly from the Milestone Press website, and from many stockists in Australia (email Milestone Press) including The Hip Infant.

Image: Peter's of Kensington

20 October 2008

Little Mary Moo's Giveaway

Brisbane-based Little Mary Moo creates lovely bags and purses using vintage, reclaimed, and new fabric from some of my favourite designers. There is a great giveaway happening on the Little Mary Moo blog - this gorgoeus Matryoshka doll tote using Japanese designer Kokka fabric is up for grabs. All you need to do is comment about what made you smile today on the Little Mary Moo post here before October 23rd, and the bag could be yours. International commenters are welcome. Thanks Little Mary Moo for such a great giveaway! (note - don't comment here - head over to Little Mary Moo.)

You can find Little Mary Moo bags here on Etsy.

Image: Little Mary Moo

17 October 2008

Drool-worthy Design: Creative Thursday 2009 Calendar

Hot off the press is this divine 2009 calendar by Marisa Haedike (Creative Thursday) which was released on Etsy today. Marisa is a hugely talented artist and from LA who creates gorgeous tiny characters in her work.

You'll have to be quick to score one of these calendars as they are a limited edition print of 220 and at a great price point ($USD38). The calendars are offset printed on heavy card stock with a matte finish and bound with a silver ring and sweet ribbon for hanging. I'll be rotating the cards out of the calendar and into frames for the wall as soon as each month is over! Buy online here.

Image: Creative Thursday

16 October 2008

Stylish Kids: Lucky Lulu

Lucky Lulu is a lovely Brisbane-based children's clothing label that wants little girls to feel like little girls. This adorable handmade paisley skirt goes from long to short as your little girl grows, and can also be worn as a dress with singlet underneath and matching belt. And lucky the young lady that gets the matching scalloped sun hat and sling bag too!

Sisters Danita and Bianca have also had much success with their beautiful quilts (both ready-made and with custom lettering). The fabrics used for the clothing collection, accessories and quilts invoke happy days playing in the Aussie sun, messing around in the garden and holidaying at the beach.

You can buy all pieces in the collection from the Lucky Lulu online store and also at the Cleveland Markets in Brisbane every Sunday from 7am to 3pm, Bloomfield St, Cleveland. I'd love some of the hippy van Gidget knickers - too cute. Thanks Kingsley for the introduction!

You can find more lovely Australian clothes for children at Australian Designer Baby Clothes. Shop online for kids fashion from great stores in the Australian Online Kids and Baby Store Directory.

Image: Lucky Lulu

15 October 2008

Hip Products: modernmurri

Yellow is such a cool colour for interiors at the moment, and one of my favourite yellow cushions comes from modernmurri, a small Aboriginal art studio started by three women from Moree, NSW Australia. Their soft furnishings, textiles, craft and stationery are a true blend of traditional and modern which I think is perfect for current Australian interiors.

The modernmurri designs are inspired by the Gamilaroi country and culture from northwest New South Wales. Each item is individually hand-made, locally sourced and environmentally sound where possible.

You can buy modernmurrie pieces on modamuse.com, stationery at the ANTaR shop and from time to time on Etsy. For more information, you can email products@modernmurri.com and watch for the modernmurri Website which is coming soon.

Image: modamuse.com

14 October 2008

Hip Products: Gyro Car

If you're looking for a cool Christmas present for a hip kid, check out the very funky Gyro Car. This Australian-designed ride-on toy uses the physics of kinetics to propel forward as the child turns the steering wheel from left to right.

The streamline design of the Gyro Car (available in six colour-ways) means this toy may even fit in with your decor.

You can read more about and purchase this award-winning product on the Gyro Car Website and from The Kids Depot online store. Thanks Julia for letting me know about this fab toy!

Shop online for kids products from great stores in the Australian Online Kids and Baby Store Directory.

Image: The Kids Depot

13 October 2008

Hullubullu New Summer Collection

Last month I wrote about Hullubullu, a Sydney-based children's fashion design label, and Lisa from Hullubullu just emailed to let me know about the launch of the new summer collection. And it's gorgeous. Quite often the girl's range is great and the boy's range is so-so, or vice versa. But Lisa has nailed both, and the new website shows off her great designs. You can find the Hullubullu store in Sydney's Newtown at 243 Australia St, or visit the Website to shop online.

You can find more Australian children's designer labels at Australian Designer Baby Clothes. And shop online for kids fashion from great stores in the Australian Online Kids and Baby Store Directory.

Image: Hullubullu

10 October 2008

Shi Shu Bamboo Blankets for Sensitive Skin

I love my mohair throw but after a while I sometimes end up with an itchy nose and watery eyes. I can't imagine how difficult it must be for people (and babies) with ultra-sensitive skin to find textiles that work for them.

Shi Shu Style comes to the rescue with beautiful blankets for grown-ups and children made of super-soft bamboo. The blankets are 100% natural, free of chemicals, and handwoven. The folks at Shi Shu explain that bamboo is antibacterial, soft as silk, keeps you cool in the Summer, keeps you warm in the Winter and most importantly, breathes.

You can buy Shi Shu blankets online at the Shi Shu Style Website (international shipping is available); keep an eye on the site for stockists near you. Thanks Donna for letting me know about this great product!

Image: Shi Shu Style

9 October 2008

Stylish Kids: Paperwings

At the very high end of the Australian children's designer fashion spectrum is the divine Paperwings brand. Designers Jason Gibaud and Michelle Fallon have pooled their years of experience in the theatrical arts (including working on wonderful films like Moulin Rouge, Star Wars and Peter Pan) to create a dreamy collection of children's clothes, with accessories and homewares coming soon.

Based in northern NSW, the Paperwings team creates all the collections using premium quality products utilising natural fibres. All pieces are designed, manufactured and hand finished in Australia.

You can find Paperwings at various stockists internationally and you can view their collections on their gorgeous Website (a highly recommended experience for a hit of creative inspiration). For more Australian children's fashion, check out Australian Designer Baby Clothes. And shop online for kids fashion from great stores in the Australian Online Kids and Baby Store Directory.

Image: Paperwings

8 October 2008

Hip Products: Flying Star Toys

Florence Forrest (isn't that a great name!) is the creative force behind Flying Star Toys, based in Brisbane, Australia. These are not your average softies. Each toy is a limited edition work of art, and designed more for display than play.

I particularly adore Florence's collection of coastal birds of Australia, designed in collaboration with Brisbane artist Rachel Arthur. These would make wonderful gifts for any age and would not be out of place in either a grown-up beachside living room, or a child's nursery.

You can find Flying Start Toys online at the Etsy store. Check out new collections at the Flying Start Toys Website and find out more about the development of the toys on Florence's blog. Florence is also a member of the Umbrella Collective (see also paper boat press).

Shop online for kids products from great stores in the Australian Online Kids and Baby Store Directory.

Images: Flying Star Toys

7 October 2008

Drool-worthy Design: Lara Cameron

More gorgeous Australian textile design for you, this time from Lara Cameron of Kirin & Co. and the newly-formed Ink & Spindle cooperative in Melbourne. Lara designs and produces beautiful fabric and crafts that are right on-trend but also have a timeless quality.

I'm also excited to see the new designs to come from new business Ink & Spindle, which is described by the girls as a "yardage screen printing business, with an environmentally friendly focus".

You can find Lara's textiles and crafts at her online shop Kirin & Co. and at a select number of stockists, listed on the Kirin Notebook blog site. And for inspiration, you can check out craft that other people have made using Lara's fabric on Flickr.

Image: Lara Cameron

6 October 2008

Drool-worthy Design: Bleu nature

My friend Victoria who lives in Paris sent me a link today to an amazing furniture and homewares brand that I have to share with you. Bleu nature is based in Lille, France, and principally uses driftwood and other natural material as the basis for amazing interiors products.

Every year, a team from Bleu Nature comb the beaches for pieces of driftwood, ensuring that every item is unique. Everything on the site is amazing and my friend Victoria tells me that all the coolest home decor stores in the 14th arrondissement stock Bleu nature products.

There is a list of Bleu nature stockists on their Website including Orson & Blake (Surry Hills, NSW), In Residence Interior Design (Northbridge, NSW) and Trilology (Claremont, WA) in Australia (thanks Viera!) as well as all the latest designs. You can find an "English" button in the top left-hand corner for translation. Thank you Victoria for the inspiration!

Image: Bleu nature

3 October 2008

Stylish Kids: Anna and Sally

More gorgeous children's fashion for you this week. Anna and Sally are two friends - one who lives in Jervis Bay on the NSW south coast (lucky thing!) and the other who lives in London. Together they design stylish children's clothes, newborn organics, linens and accessories inspired by the Australian landscape and relaxed coastal living. Their collection includes four fantastic colourways including Gelato, Café, Spice and Nature chic with funky graphic prints.

It's truly hard for me to pick a favourite amongst their pieces; they all remind me of bright, sunny days by the beach (and don't we all need a bit of that in our day-to-day lives). You can find the Anna and Sally range in their Australian and UK online stores, in boutiques across Australia.

For more great Australian kids fashion check out Bondville Kids. And shop online for kids fashion from stores in the Australian Online Kids and Baby Store Directory.

Image: Anna and Sally

2 October 2008

Stylish Kids: Kabuki Clothing

Thanks to Dani for discovering cool children's clothing label Kabuki Clothing at the Organic Food Markets in Sydney. What a hidden gem! Lisa Trewin designs and creates beautiful clothes for kids in bright retro-style fabrics. Check out the Kabuki Clothing website for current designs - I can't go past the cowboy prints.

Kabuki Clothing ships worldwide and you can order by emailing Lisa at kabukiclothing@idx.com.au. You can also find Kabuki Clothing at the Organic Food Market every Saturday in Leichhardt and the 1st and 3rd Sunday of each month in Marrickville.

Check out more Australian kids fashion on Bondville Kids. And shop online for kids fashion from great stores in the Australian Online Kids and Baby Store Directory.

Image: Kabuki Clothing

1 October 2008

Hip Products: Coco Boheme

Would you rather draw on a standard easel chalkboard (that you can hardly reach), or would you rather scribble your art on a cool toddler-height monkey?

The clever folks at Coco Boheme (site in French) have designed a whole range of animal-inspired chalkboard wall decals that stick right on the wall (and come right off again when no longer needed). And for the oldies, there are also cool label-sized chalkboard stickers that would be great on kitchen cannisters, jars, bottles, place settings, and anything else that requires instant personalisation.

All products are made in France. You can find Coco Boheme products at French Bazaar online as well as a host of other Australian stockists.

Shop online for kids products from great stores in the Australian Online Kids and Baby Store Directory.

Image: Coco Boheme
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