30 January 2009

Hip Products: One Red Robin amazing soft toys

One Red Robin is the brainchild of Melbourne-based Jhoanna Monte Aranez who hand crafts incredible softies that look like they have sprung from the page of a vintage storybook.

Each piece is a celebration of colour in vintage and new designer fabric. Check out the unique expression of each toy - I'm sure they would wink at you when you're not looking. I absolutely adore the Woodland Girls (see one pictured) and have a soft spot for Lottie the Chicka-Chi too.

Johanna is also a softie pattern designer and has been published in crafting magazines and across the web. Her art has also been recognised by curators, and she has exhibited her softies at exhibitions and shows around the world. We're proud to have her here in Australia!

You can find One Red Robin softies and art prints on Etsy and a range of stockists in Australia. Check out more designs on Flickr.

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

Image: One Red Robin via Flickr

29 January 2009

Drool-worthy Design: LITTLE JANE ST stationery

I love go-getters. Brisbane-based Alarna was lamenting the multitude of online invitations and email cards, so took matters into her own hands and launched a fantastic stationery line called LITTLE JANE ST.

Alarna combines her love of collage and autumnal tones with paper to limited edition greeting cards, gift enclosures, custom invitations, wrapping paper and gift tags, delivered in organic hand-stitched cotton carry-bags. I particularly adore the Afternoon Stroll patchwork card - a little piece of art that needs to be framed after use!

LITTLE JANE ST products are available at the online store, and are stocked at a number of retailers listed on. Check the Website for Alarna's custom design service, coming soon, and the LITTLE JANE ST blog for more behind-the-scenes info.

Images: LITTLE JANE ST

28 January 2009

Australian Artist Spotlight: Tabitha Emma art and accessories

Hold me back. Tabitha Emma is irresistible. Based in Sydney, this talented artist and independent designer creates art prints, handmade purses, and accessories that make my heart sing. There is judicious use of soft, feminine colours, birds, cupcakes, cheeky girls, and ... typewriters. What more could a girl want.

This art print is titled "There is a change coming" and is available for sale on Etsy. While you are browsing, don't be surprised if you want to snatch up a tea cozy, or egg cozy, almost-edible brooch, mirror or cake-shaped purse (for you, or your little one!).

You can find Tabitha Emma art prints and accessories on Etsy, Madeit (for Australians), DaWanda, and sweet purses online at Australian boutique La Toriana. Check out more Tabitha Emma pieces of art on Flickr and read all about it on the Tabitha Emma blog.

Image: Tabitha Emma

27 January 2009

Hip Products: Blink Designs for home, women and kids

The folks at Blink Designs are incredibly clever at taking cool designs and turning them into even cooler products for women, home and kids.

Cushions, Apparel, tea towels, toys, clocks, lighting, bags, jewellery and wall decor are all handprinted in Melbourne by the talented team. The designs are modern and very much in-the-now to add a dash of currency to your wardrobe/home/life.

You can find Blink Designs products at stockists across Australia and New Zealand and you can order online from Blink Designs directly.

Images: Blink Designs

26 January 2009

Welcome New Sponsor La Toriana

Happy Australia Day! And what better day to welcome new Bondville sponsor La Toriana. Australian design is very close to my heart, and Elizabeth from La Toriana shares my vision for promoting Aussie artists and designers. Her online store for children carries some of my favourite labels including Wild Things Of Noosa, Nanny Pickle, Oobi Baby,

You'll also find accessories at the shop, as well as toys, gifts for parents, and a great range for premature babies. I absolutely adore these cute Russian matroyshka dolls filled with lavender - so calming. And shipping is only $7.50 Australia-wide.

Please stop by La Toriana to check out the goodies for your baby shower gifts, or something special for your little one. You can sign up for a newsletter, and keep up with trends at the La Toriana blog.

Images: top left - Oobi Baby, bottom left - Alimrose, bottom right - Tea Princess; all via La Toriana

23 January 2009

Stylish Kids: Anna & Sally new range of kids clothes

One my favourite kids' clothing designers, Anna & Sally, have just released a new selection of beach-inspired kidswear. While all the other labels are bringing out the cooler-weather clothes, the girls have designed more delicious co-ordinates in Summery gelato colours.

You can find the Gelato range on the Anna & Sally website, at various stockists, and online at The Hip Infant.

For more great kids clothes 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: Anna & Sally

Drool-worthy Design: Umbrella Prints textiles

Australia could quite possible be creating some of the best new textile design in the world right now. Adelaide design duo Carly Schwerdt and Amy Prior are creating amazing patterns on natural organic hemp and cotton that will knock your socks off. There's a good dose of Japanese inspiration married with a freshness that Australia seems to be breeding at the moment. Their label is called Umbrella Prints. So now you know.

More great news - Under the Tandem moniker Amy and Carly are collaborating with Australian designers to create new forms from Umbrella Prints patterns. They have recenly collaborated with Sydney silversmith Ceeb Wassermann/Howlin Doggie to bring their designs to life in silver jewellery. The first peek results are stunning.

You can buy Umbrella prints from retailers listed on Amy's blog, via the Umbrella Prints big cartel store (prices in AUD) and on Etsy. For a look behind-the-scenes, check out Amy's blog Rain and Shine and Carly's blog Moopy & Me.

Images: top - Fan Flower by Amy Prior. bottom - Elephants by Carly Schwerdt, both via Umbrella Prints.

22 January 2009

Hip Products: bod skincare

I've mentioned before that I'm a sucker for great packaging and quality ingredients, so I'm a natural customer for the bod skincare range.

Developed in Sydney by musician and homeopath/shiatsu specialist/Tai Chi master Brett Pattinson, the bod collection is created with the highest quality ingredients, carefully selected for their therapeutic qualities.

bod's range includes products for face, body and bath. I own the body scrub, shower gel and soap-on-a-rope (I love soap-on-a-rope!). bod's dark and minimalist packaging is both perfect for display in the bathroom, and practical, as the amber-coloured bottles and jars protect the ingredients from depletion by light, heat and air.

bod also has a delicious range for babies and Mums called bod for bubs including massage oil, bum spray, bubble bath and moisturisers.

bod’s therapeutic skincare range is currently available in over 250 stores within Australia, and is distributed to 30 countries around the world, including the UK, Europe Germany, USA, Japan, Honk Kong, Taiwan, Korea and New Zealand. You can also find bod online at the bod Website.

Image: bod

21 January 2009

Drool-worthy Design: Third Drawer Down

Melbourne-based Third Drawer Down creates high quality art-based products in limited quantities, reproducing the designs of Australian and international artists.

The company are best known for their selection of beautifully packaged linen tea towels that can be used for their original purpose, or stretched over canvas for affordable wall art (or even used for crafting and sewing). The range also includes handkerchiefs, bubkins (baby bibs), aprons, pillow cases and ceramics printed with contemporary art.

Australian artists are well represented including fun, contemporary illustrations by Emma Magenta, Kat Macleod, Sarah Parkes, Arlene Textaqueen and Andrew Nicholls, among others.

You can find Third Drawer Down products for sale on the Third Drawer Down online store and at stockists in the US, Japan, UK, New Zealand and Australia. While you are at the site, check out the fun decal art. Just like the rub-on transfers of old, but with cool graphics!

Image: Edwina White pillowcase from Third Drawer Down

20 January 2009

Stylish Kids: Heavenly Creatures children's clothes

Heavenly Creatures clothes for kids are dreamy, ethereal pieces that put the P back in Princess (but a Princess with a cool attitude). To-die-for tutus, bowed t-shirts and singlets with real angel wings all make gorgeous baby gifts, although the designers make sure that each piece is also functional and made for real play.

Although it's the girls clothing that captured my attention, Heavenly Creatures also has a really cool selection of boys clothes, including shirts appliqued with real denim jeans pockets, cool viking helmets and electric guitars.

You can find Heavenly Creatures stockists listed on the Website and you can purchase directly from the designers. To keep up with new products from the designers, check out the Heavenly Creatures blog.

For more Aussie kids clothes, check out Australian Designer Baby Clothes. Shop online for kids fashion from great stores in the Australian Online Kids and Baby Store Directory.

Image: Heavenly Creatures

19 January 2009

Australian Artist Spotlight: Akina art and fashion design

Lang Leav's arresting portraits of moody, villainous girls are equal parts kooky and cool. Her original artworks, fashion range, stationery and jewellery are created under the Akina label and are becoming incredibly popular around the world. Now is the time to snap up artwork, as this rising star's work disappears off the shelves almost as soon as it is stocked.

Based in Sydney, Leav started the Akina label in 2005 and subsequently won the QANTAS Spirit of Youth Awards, giving her valuable support from fashion industry vetrans and a financial boost too. She has since launched her label in Australia, New Zealand and Japan, and in 2007 was awarded a prestigious Churchill Fellowship to travel to Japan and continue to study the Harajuku Girl phenomenon that inspires her work.

The Akina fashion range includes singlets, t-shirts and dresses, and you can find limited editions of jewellery, badges and stationery at select stockists. Limited edition Akina prints are avialable at Stupid Krap! Limited products are also available from time to time on the Akina Website. Check out some behind-the-scene Akina images on the Facebook fan page Akina and the Secret Society of Button Fetishes.

Image: Little Miss Liliput by Akina

16 January 2009

Hip Products: Jane Peacock jewellery at Girls Made This

Another great find from the GoMA markets in December is Brisbane-based Jane Peacock who creates the sweetest pendants, bracelets, earrings, rings, and charms. Her delicate designs remind me of a bygone era where prized trinkets were kept behind glass, and you took tea in the afternoon with your great-Aunt.

Jane already has a number of collections under her belt - one:of:one features miniature, three dimensional jewellery inspired by vintage imagery. The Jane Peacock "shadows" range - is all sterling silver, paper and velvet. See Jane is a gold-plated brass label featuring vintage illustrations. I particularly adore the 3D silhouettes of children playing and natured-inspired scenes.

All collections are available on the Girls Made This site which is a design collective founded by Jane for creative women. You can also find Jane's jewellery at various stockists around Australia and New Zealand. Jane also creates custom jewellery for clients upon request.

Image: Jane Peacock at Girls Made This

15 January 2009

Cool Websites: Aussie Sub-cultural Guides

No time to pick up a street mag? Or read it? Just want a quick list of the cool, hip things to do in your city? Right Angle Publishing wants to keep you in the know. Their teams of connected writers around Australia publish a series of sub-cultural guides to everything cool. You can check out the daily updates sites online or have the weekly guide delivered straight to your inbox.

Stories and snippets include film, music, design, books, art, goods and links to fun things to do around town. So far they cover:

Sydney - TwoThousand
Melbourne - ThreeThousand
Brisbane - FourThousand

Check it out next time you are lamenting the lack of things to do in your neck of the woods. There are plans to launch guides nation-wide by the end of the year!

Image: Right Angle Publishing

14 January 2009

Stylish Kids: Walnut Melbourne kids shoes

My very stylish friend Mellissa and I were talking about childrens shoes and lamenting over the cheesy white with pink butterfly sandals that are thrust upon us. She has recently discovered the joys of Walnut Melbourne shoes and has ordered maryjanes in every colour for her 16 month old Lola. I had to know more.

Lo and behold, Walnut Melbourne creates fun canvas shoes with a soft sole in nautical colours and preppy designs. The shoes for kids in sizes 2-13 are at a great $29.95 price point and nod at Euro chic styling.

You can buy Walnut Melbourne kids shoes online on the Walnut Melbourne Website, as well as stockists around Australia including Little Styles.

For more Aussie designs for kids, 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: Walnut Melbourne

13 January 2009

The World's Best Job?

This is a cool website that you definitely need to know about. Tourism Queensland has just launched an incredibly clever marketing campaign to promote a six-month paid job as a blogger about your experiences exploring the Great Barrier Reef. It's part competition - part job search, and all genius.

The winning applicant receives a six-month contract to be an "Island Caretaker" with airfare, access to a computer, internet, digital video and stills camera, plus travel to a number of the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef, accommodation on Hamilton Island and a salary package of AUD$150,000. The job description requires the employee to explore the islands of the Great Barrier Reef and report back to Tourism Queensland (and the world) about their experiences.

Tourism Queensland will organise a schedule of travel and events which could include trying out a new luxury spa, testing snorkelling gear, bushwalking, kyaking, diving and sailing around the reef. The Island Caretaker will need to post a weekly blog, photo diaries and create video updates to let the world know to promote the GBR. The three bedroom house accommodation on Hamilton Island is large enough to include a friend or relative. What more could you ask for?

Applicants are encouraged to submit an entertaining video about why they would like the best job in the world. To apply for this "job", head over to the Tourism Queensland site Island Reef Job. So if you have some time between 1st July 2009 and 1st of January 2010, get onto it as applications close 22nd February 2009. May the best man/woman win! (Thanks Justine for the heads up!)

Image: Tourism Queensland

Droolworthy Design: Ruby and Scarlett letterpress paper products

I love the glamorous look and feel of letterpress, and when it's combined with cool design and silky paper, it's an absolute joy. I recently stumbled upon another lovely letterpress design studio - Ruby and Scarlett, based in Balmain, Sydney.

Founded by sisters Georgina and Sarah, Ruby and Scarlett uses a vintage letterpress and Japanese Gocco to whip up wedding invitations, announcements, personal stationery, cards, and paper keepsakes. A classic Ruby & Scarlett invitation has the design or illustration element printed in letterpress, paired with flat screenprinting for the text.

At the moment, the girls are accepting custom orders (such as this fantastic hen's party invitation - so chic!) and in early 2009 will be launching a collection of ready-to-print designs. You simply choose the design, colour-way and wording, and let Ruby and Scarlett do the rest.

You can order stationery on the Ruby and Scarlett Website. And check out the Ruby & Scarlett store on Etsy for a selection of greeting cards and other paper keepsakes. Just divine!

Image: Ruby and Scarlett

12 January 2009

Stylish Kids: Little Gypsies kids store

I find lots of things online that I love, but sometimes you find a site, a product, or a concept that blows you away. That is the case for me with the divine multicultural products and vision of Little Gypsies.

Based in Sydney, Little Gypsies is an online boutique of beautiful clothes and products for kids from far-flung places. Think colourful Mexican embroidered dresses, sweet outfits from a Vietnamese hill tribe, fair-trade dolls, Indian hanging mobiles and more to expand your little one's cultural education.

Little Gypsies was founded by urban gypsy Casey Arnaud whose vision is to bring to you "beautifully made, culturally inspired and ethically sourced" products from around the world. All products on the site fall under one or more of the six core values - Ethical, Eco-Friendly Charitable, Traditional, Educational and Collectible - making this site more than worthy of supporting in my opinion.

Thank you to Natalie for her post on Babyccino about this delightful store.

Image: Vietnamese Hill Tribe Dress from Little Gypsies

9 January 2009

Hip Products: Dick and Dora jewellery

Dick & Dora are Tasmanian-based designer makers Harriet and Tim Bullard. The Dick & Dora uber-cool jewellery range uses acrylic, powder coated stainless steel, wood and felt for a fun collection of brooches, necklaces, bracelets and decorations.

The accessories range is inspired by the playful world of the storybook Dick & Dora characters with liberal use of birds and animals and a sprinkling of snappy striped ribbon. This birds-on-a-branch brooch ticks all the cool boxes. Just pop it on a coat/blouse/bag for instant hip factor.

You can find Dick & Dora products on Etsy and at stockists throughout Australia. Get some great fashion tips and find out more about Dick & Dora on their blog.

Image: Dick and Dora

8 January 2009

Sale: Up to 50% off Blossom Creations stationery and textiles

One of my favourite textiles and paper goods designers Erin from Blossom Creations is having a huge sale on new cushions, textiles and stationery as well as holiday items. There is up to 50% savings on offer on some items and make sure you are quick to buy the cushions which are incredible value.

If you purchase from Blossom Creations, you can also rest easy that your purchases are environmentally sustainable . All Blossom Creations products are printed using water and vegetable based inks on hemp, organically grown cotton and other alternative fibres. Erin uses only recycled paper and card, and the business operates under environmentally sustainable best practices.

You can find all the Blossom Creations sale items on the Website.

Images: Blossom Creations

7 January 2009

Hip Products: CreativeNeesh art posters for kids

Based just outside of Sydney, Nisha from CreativeNeesh designs customised posters for kids as well as fantastic number, alphabet and monster-themed posters that are both educational and stylish. This Lola poster was inspired by the request from Lola's Mum for a lilac, pink and green vintage theme. Neesh's creation includes a (L) Louis XVI Chair, (O) Orante Cuckoo Clock, (L) Lady in a Victorian Hat and (A) Antique Teacup. Oh so chic.

You can find CreativeNeesh customised and ready-made posters for sale on Etsy and on madeit (Australia).

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

Image: CreativeNeesh

6 January 2009

Hip Products: Two Little Banshees soft toys

How can you resist the charm of these alien giraffe dolls by WA-based label Two Little Banshees? Kate Henderson is a talented crafter who creates delightful softies and bags with fantastic fabrics. Kate named her label after her twin daughters, who also inspire her soft toy range.

Not only is Kate a talented artist, but also a very generous crafter who shares many of her designs on craft sites, and has had her soft toy patterns appear in the books 'Softies' and 'More Softies', published by Penguin Australia and The Australian Women's Weekly magazine. I particularly love Kate's range of Australian animal-inspired softies. A platypus or dropbear would be perfect for a little one in any country.

You can find Two Little Banshees softies and bags on Etsy and softies online at Minifashionista. Clever Kate also sells hand-dyed yard on her Etsy store One Fat Slug. You can also learn more about Kate's world of sewing, knitting, quilting and crafting on her blog and check out designs on Flickr.

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

Image: Two Little Banshees via Flickr

5 January 2009

The Cupcake Company

Food trends come and go, but a real stayer for the past five or so years have been cupcakes. Who doesn't love them?! Here in Brisbane, we are lucky to have talented cupcake couturiers Keren and Sharnel who run the drool-worthy The Cupcake Company. They have so cleverly married food and design to create beautiful cupcakes - both customised and their own range.

Friends Keren and Sharnel met by chance in a gourmet food shop several years ago and their shared passion for food, baking, design and style resulted in The Cupcake Company. Since then, they have created divine wedding cupcakes, cupcake birthday cakes and cupcake heaven for christenings, baby showers, hens parties, housewarmings, and a multitude of other celebrations for sugar lovers.

My favourites are still chocolate cupcakes, but The Cupcake Company has a whole slew of delicious-sounding flavours including Rosewater, Lavenderlicious, My Chai, Bailey's Velvet, and Kahlua Dream. Cupcakes are made to order and gift boxed with ribbons and handwritten card, making them the perfect gift for a sweet-toothed buddy.

Be inspired by beautiful cupcakes online at Sharnel and Keren's cupcake blog The Cupcake Company where you can find ordering details. Thank you Jo from Desire to Inspire for the introduction!

Image: The Cupcake Company
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