31 March 2009

Drool-worthy Design: Laughing Bird textiles

Next time you need a gift for a loved one overseas, DON'T sigh and relegate yourself to a souvenir store. Simply click over to the very talented print designers at Laughing Bird and snap up a gorgeous contemporary Australiana tea towel, apron, lavendar bag or t-shirt and gift card.

I particularly love the linen tea towels that I think are stand-alone art pieces, featuring native Australian flora and fauna (no doubt inspired by the studio's beautiful location in the Blue Mountains, NSW). Have a close look at the kangaroo and joey - made entirely out of wildflowers. And a lot more stylish than a stuffed koala!

You can find Laughing Bird products in the online store and at stockists online and around Australia.

Images: Laughing Bird

30 March 2009

Making Craft Cool: Meet Me At Mike's

Yes, craft is the new cool, and if you haven't already bought it, now is the time to get your hands on the newly released Meet Me At Mike's: 26 Fun and Crafty Projects book by Australian crafting maven Pip Lincolne.

Featuring craft ideas and stories from 26 of Australia's best crafters and designers, this book is a must-have for both inspiration and to support our independent craft community. There are easy to follow instructions, full size patterns and templates and photos of the finished product.

Projects include baby yoga pants, clutch purses, hankies and softies to sew, knit, crochet, collage and screenprint. For all you guys out there, this is a great Mother's Day gift!

You can find Meet Me At Mike's at Readings bookstore in-store and online, Fishpond.com.au and other great bookstores.

Image: Meet Me At Mike's

29 March 2009

Giveaway Winner: myMonkeymoo stroller pad & blanket

A huge congratulations to Kathyrn (Tikiboo) who won the myMonkeymoo giveaway. She has won an Eiffel Tower design myMonkeymoo stroller pad and blanket worth CDN $133. A big thank you to the folks at myMonkeymoo for the generous prize and to everyone who entered, twittered, blogged and wrote on Facebook about the giveaway. Stay tuned for more in the future.

Image: myMonkeymoo

27 March 2009

Australian Artist Spotlight: Skaffs

The very cool Luke Feldman got in touch with me recently and I just have to share his work under the Skaffs pseudonym. Based in Melbourne, Skaffs creates amazing, vibrant artwork featuring coquettish girls that remind me of my video gaming days. The look is very current; edgy fantasy that both adults and children are drawn to.

As well as artwork, you can find Skaffs vinyl adhesives, life size wall graphics, collectors toys, skate decks, and a host of other products in the works. The new limited edition children's book written by Amanda Chin and illustrated by Skaffs looks great.

Check out all the great Skaffs art in the online shop and behind-the-scenes info on the blog. Skaffs products are also available at stockists in Australia, France and the US (check the website for details). There is a list of past and upcoming Skaffs shows on the website. And if you're looking for more, there is a great interview with Luke on Australian Edge.

Image: Skaffs

26 March 2009

Welcome New Sponsor And Me Too

If you stopped by Bondville last week you would have noticed a post about the gorgeous French styling of children's label And Me Too. This week we welcome this wonderful brand as a sponsor of Bondville. You'll find classic clothes for boys and girls including stripey tops, floaty dresses, cool jeans, knitwear, accessories and a killer raincoat. For more information check out last week's article.

You can find And Me Too children's clothing at the online store as well as stockists around Australia.

Image: And Me Too

Hip Products: Olofs Daughter felt homewares

The temperatures are starting to cool in Australia which makes we want to pull my felt cushions out of the cupboard to snuggle with on the couch. If you are yet to discover the joy of eco-friendly felt homewares, check out the delightful Olofs Daughter line.

Misa and Julie hand felt their products using 100% Australian merino wool in the Dandenong Ranges, outside of Melbourne. They also create lovely baby blankets, neck warmers and covered notebooks. It's not going to be long before this talented duo are discovered by the big boys so make sure you snap up some goodies and support independent design.

You can find Olofs Daughter felt products in the Etsy store and at stockists including Modamuse and Georgie Love.

Image: Olof's Daughter

25 March 2009

Cool Websites: Concrete and Honey

You know that when Pia, Lucy and Lisa love a website, then it's going to be hot. And Concrete and Honey is hot, hot, hot! In only a few months since conception, Sydney-based Nicola has gathered a loyal following and been awarded a Blogger.com Blog of Note for 23rd March 2009 (Blogger picks one site from it's millions around the world to feature every day).

Nicola features gorgeous, dreamy images to make your designer side swoon, including her own amazing photos of found objects and beautiful things around her. You'll find design ideas, interiors, and snapshots of Australia. I know you're going to love it.

Image: Concrete and Honey

24 March 2009

Hip Products: Ceeb Wasserman jewellery

I discovered Sydney-based gold and silversmith Ceeb Wasserman after seeing the gorgeous jewellery that she designed in collaboration with Umbrella Prints. Think delicate handmade pieces with a strong Japanese influence.

In fact, it's Ceeb's extensive world experience that adds to her design profile - being born in Brazil, growing up in Europe and training in Australia, Germany and Switzerland. And it's Ceeb's Japanese mother who has influenced many of her designs (and gave her the beautiful name 'Sakura').

There are so many gorgeous pieces in Ceeb's range of earrings, necklaces, cuffs, rings, brooches and more; it's impossible to pick just one. The level of intricacy is amazing, particularly as Ceeb uses a sawpiercing technique to cut into silver by hand. You must check her designs out at the Etsy store and at stockists in Australia, the US, Germany and online (including modamuse).

Images: Ceeb Wassermann

23 March 2009

Giveaway: myMonkeymoo Stroller Pad and Blanket Set - Winner is Tikiboo!

Our myMonkeymoo stroller pad/liner has lifted Sophie's functional grey Maclaren stroller from dull to pretty fabulous. It's all chic-patterned fabric on one side and super-soft chenille on the other, so little Sophie likes to snuggle into it too. The liner adapts to most strollers, is machine washable, and the blanket can double as a change mat.

And here's the great news. The good folks at myMonkeymoo are giving away one myMonkeymoo stroller pad and blanket set in the design of your choice (valued at CDN$133!) to one lucky Bondville reader.

All you need to do is visit the myMonkeymoo website and comment below with your favourite myMonkeymoo design and you will be in the running to win. Entries close at midnight (AEST) on Saturday 28th March 2009. Good luck!

1. One comment per person allowed.
2. If you write about the competition on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, you will receive three (3) entries (please leave a comment or email me to let me know)
3. Please include your email address or a link to your website where I can comment or find your email address.
4. This competition is open to entrants worldwide.
5. You must include your favourite myMonkeymoo design in your comment.
6. Entries close 11:59pm AEST, Saturday 28th March 2009.

myMonkeymoo is a Canadian company and you can find the stroller pads and blankets on the myMonkeymoo online store, as well as stockists in the US, Canada, Japan, Indonesia and the UK and at Handle With Care online in Australia.

Read more about myMonkeymoo on Bondville here.

UPDATE 29th March 2009: Winner was Tikiboo. Thank you all for entering!

Image: myMonkeymoo

20 March 2009

Stylish Kids: And Me Too clothing range

I was thrilled to be introduced to the simple, sweet, French styling of children's clothing range And Me To. Designed in Melbourne, the line is mix-and-match heaven with stripes, florals, checks and spots put together for classic looks that conjure up lazy days in the country, autumn fruit harvests and afternoons spent fishing on the river.

This clothing is meant to last; working from season to season and handing down to the next sibling. The range includes boys' and girls' clothing and accessories from newborn through to pre-teen. My favourite pieces are the liberty print pocket jeans, sweet cardigans and fresh and fun raincoat for girls, and stripey tops for boys.

You can find And Me Too children's clothing at the online store as well as stockists around Australia.

And you can find more cool clothes for kids on Australian Designer Baby Clothes.

Image: And Me Too

19 March 2009

Events: Brisbane Artists + Bloggers + Crafters + Designers Meet-up

Kim from Udessi and I thought it would be a great idea to get out from behind our computers and have a casual get-together in Brisbane. Nothing too formal - just a chance to say hello and have a beverage of choice before the Easter holidays are upon us. We would love you to to join us! And please invite our fellow creative folk too.

The date is Thursday 2nd April 2009 from 7pm - 9pm.

The venue is the Park Lounge (the outdoor area attached to Watt modern dining on the ground floor of the Powerhouse). You can enter through the building, or via New Farm Park. There is lots of free parking, and it is very close to the New Farm Park ferry terminal. There is a bar and small food menu available for your purchase. If it is raining, meet upstairs at Bar Alto.

We also thought it would be a great idea to have a 'showbag' that we can all take home. If you have something you would like to share (business card/brochure/sample product/intro/flyer/pressie), please bring along about 30 and pop them into the bags provided on the night. No pressure to bring something but it's a great way to give your colleagues a little something to remember you by.

If you can RSVP, that would be great (comment below); otherwise we will see you on the 2nd April, 2009 at 7pm!

Hip Products: Mingus Designs eco-friendly accessories

Check out these super-cute eco-friendly accessories from Mingus Designs, handmade with love in Melbourne. A range of cool Mingus Designs illustrations are printed by hand onto sustainable fabrics and then hand-sewn into purses, bags and t-shirts. Illustrated cards are made from recycled paper. And divine animal and bird brooches are hand-crafted using upcycled leather or vegan-friendly materials.

I adore the origami illustrations on both the purses and greeting cards, and just love the material used for the cloth purses - hemp and yak hair blend!

You can find Mingus Designs accessories on Etsy and DaWanda and at various stockists listed on the Mingus Designs website.

Image: Mingus Designs

18 March 2009

Australian Artist Spotlight: Beci Orpin

Melbourne artist Beci Orpin caught my attention with her amazing donation to the Art Fights Fire event last month. Beci is most famous for her cult fashion label Princess Tina, which she recently retired to focus on her hip kids' clothing label Tiny Mammoth and a new homewares, stationery and accessories range under her own name coming soon.

In fact, Beci is incredibly prolific. You might recognise her Sad Tooth image on t-shirts, jewellery and prints, or her designs for Bloom, Little Horn children's clothing, Mambo and many many other projects.

Beci's current artwork includes collage, papercuts, sculpture, gocco prints and illustration. I love the fantastic folky style and quirky characters in her work. And I also love her list of inspirations: Bulgarian folk embroidery, Chinese packaging, Chinese slippers, polaroids taken by her partner Raph, chiyogami, completed paint-by-numbers pictures, cicada wings, poppies, making cupcakes and rain.

You can find Beci Orpin art at Outre Gallery in Melbourne and Sydney and for sale in the online gallery. Find out more about Beci on her personal blog, and check out her website for the upcoming shoppe. If you'd like to know more about Beci, there is a fantastic interview over on The Design Files that I know you'll love.

Image: Travel illustration for Sunday Life magazine by Beci Orpin

17 March 2009

Cool Websites: Thumbtack Press

Here's one for all you budding artists. Thumbtack Press is a website that makes selling prints a cinch. Much like the way that Cafe Press works for t-shirt design, Thumbtack Press provides the means for you to sell your art for a 35% commission of the sales price. Simply upload your design and they run the e-commerce cart, print the artwork and ship to the customer.

This site is great for new artists who want to test the waters, or even established artists who want to gauge the popularity of a new design without taking the risk of a bulk print run.

The folks at Thumbtack Press use a professional giclée process, with archival inks on a heavy bright white stock. The final print is trimmed to size and protected in an acid-free polyurethane sleeve before shipment in a reinforced box (not an envelope or tube). Here are all the Frequently Asked Questions. The site is curated and not all applications are approved to ensure that the quality level is high. Let me know when you've made your first sale!

Image: Thumbtack Press

16 March 2009

Hip Products: Pedrosprout children's booties

Brisbane-based Michelle Gillies is Pedrosprout; a crafting maven with a gorgeous line of children's shoes and other accessories made from felt and fabrics.

There is so much love that goes into Michelle's products - from the recycled plastic-made felt to the intricate hand embroidering for your baby's tootsies. Plastic-made felt, you ask? Kunin Ecospun felt is a high quality polyester fibre made from 100% certified recycled plastic bottles.

Apart from the gorgeous booties, the Pedrosprout range includes brooches, fabric coasters, tote bags, and pin cushions. Just fabulous.

You can find Pedrosprout handmade products on Etsy, and Big Cartel for Australians as well as Nesting Bird Interiors in Woolloongabba, QLD. Check out more info about Pedrosprout on the blog.

Find 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: Pedrosprout

15 March 2009

Biome Sale

I love a good sale and was thrilled to pick up some excellent finds at the Biome sale this weekend in Paddington (my favourite eco-friendly retailer). Prices were excellent (more than 50% off), and now I have Mother's Day and upcoming birthdays and babies all sorted.

Some of my booty includes Blossom Creations napkins, KAS Australia pillow, a gorgeous Lucy Vanstone ceramic vessel, Bambu dish, olive oil soap, Queen B candle, a mouse, a Sigg bag, Coco Boheme chalk stickers and a Putumayo CD. Thrilled!

Image: Steph Bond-Hutkin

14 March 2009

Brown Owls Hit Brisbane

This year I'm spending more time on art - I'm doing a short SLR photography course at the moment at the Brisbane College of Photography, and I've joined the Brown Owls crafting group. Our first meet-up in February was a huge success - the venue was great, Bel made incredible cupcakes and I got to sit around and chat with a bunch of girls while working on craft projects. I'm working on my Kristen Doran matryoshka dolls, some teddies and embellished a top for Sophie. I'm pretty keen to learn how to make gocco prints, so I hope we have someone in the group that can share the knowledge.

13 March 2009

Hip Products: Apple and Bee toiletry bags

If you are looking for a fabulous toiletry or cosmetic bag that is also kind on the environment, check out the snappy range from Apple and Bee. (Great Mother's Day present, hint, hint).

Products include makeup bags, wet-pack/bath/WC/everyday bags, baby change pads and travel bags. The designs are stylish and modern and printed on natural fibres (organic cotton, bamboo, silk, hemp, burlap/calico and leather) and coated without the plastic look that we are used to on toiletry bags.

Apple and Bee is the creative collaboration of Claire Morris and bod skincare founder Brett Pattinson. Based in Sydney, the carbon neutral company also donates a percentage of profits to environmental organisations.

You can find Apple and Bee at stockists around Australia, the UK and USA (see website for details).

Image: Apple and Bee

12 March 2009

Hip Products: Caitlin Boyce jewellery

What a great new discovery - the very delicate but modern designs of Caitlin Boyce jewellery. I adore these flora-inspired pieces that have a strong Australian flavour. Make sure you snap up some of her jewellery before you resort to stuffed koalas gifts for those overseas friends and family.

You can find Caitlin Boyce jewellery at e.g.etal in Melbourne, Pieces of Eight in Melbourne and the Queensland Art Gallery Store in Brisbane. Read more about Caitlin's work and upcoming projects on her blog/website.

Image: Caitlin Boyce Jewellery

11 March 2009

Hip Products: Peace With Earth olive oil decanters

Here is a lovely concept. Dorota and Les Laughlin of Oliveria Melbourne partner each year with an Australian creative force to develop a limited edition olive oil decanter to raise awareness and funds for a specific social cause. The result is Peace With Earth.

The 2008 Peach With Earth project in partnership with Spacecraft was devoted to Voiceless to raise awareness about the suffering of factory farmed animals in Australia. The 2007 design by Gareth Dotchin and the team at Empire Creative Group benefited Fifteen Melbourne, and the inaugural 2006 project was a partnership with MOZI to benefit Earthwatch Australia. Each year, a percentage of sales from each decanter is donated to a chosen charitable organisation.

All the olive oil decanters are gorgeous, so you can simply pick your social cause of choice!

You can find Peach With Earth decanters at the online store as well as various stockists around Australia.

Image: Peace With Earth

10 March 2009

Stylish Kids: Chino Kids clothing

Chino Kids designs stop-in-your-tracks clothing for newborn babies through to 12 year olds. These are fun clothes that are made to look good and be comfortable for active wear. The clever colour combinations and use of different fabrics and embellishments result in two special mix-and-match ranges a year for both boys and girls.

The Chino Kids label was launched in 1996 and is still one of Australia's leading children's brands with its emphasis on quality fabrics that are both soft and durable. I adore the press-stud shirts and cuffed jeans for boys, and the garden-tribal ruffled dresses and skirts for girls. Something pretty special.

Chino Kids clothing is available at Myer, leading department stores in New Zealand, Singapore and the United States, and in selected boutiques or you can order directly from the Chino Kids website.

For more Australian 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: Chino Kids

9 March 2009

Drool-worthy Design: Bird textiles, fashion and homewares

The gorgeous eco-friendly textiles of Bird textiles are instantly recognisable. The brainchild of Rachel Bending, the colours and design of Bird textiles are inspired by the elements of beautiful Byron Bay. The label has a strong cult following, and Bird texiles now grace products from fashion to home furnishing to stationery.

Rachel's philosophy is passionately about sustainability in design and the Bird studio in Byron Bay is a temple of social harmony and environmental responsibility. The botanical designs are hand-drawn, printed using water-based dyes and handmade into delightful products using solar power.

One of my favourite products in the collection is the collaborative Zaishu featuring Bird designs on the iconic stool/table.

You can find Bird Textiles at HQ store and studio in Byron Bay, the Emporium in Surry Hills, Sydney, online at the Bird Textile online store and at stockists around Australia (check the website for details).

PS: Look! The Bird logo incorporates a darling bird illustrated by another favourite, Emma Magenta.

Image: top left - Zaishu, top right - stationery, bottom left - fabric, all via Bird Textiles

6 March 2009

Australian Artist Spotlight: Rebecca Cool

Possibly my favourite Australian artist is Rebecca Cool. Based in Western Australia, Rebecca first created her signature face as a 10 year old child and since then the wide-eyed, rosy-cheeked faces have adorned most of her works. The naive styling has been compared to another Aussie great Mirka Mora whose work is also a celebration of colour and life.

In recent years, Rebecca has introduced 1950's designed textiles into her work and now receives material packages from fans all over Australia. The textiles have become a huge inspiration and she often starts with piece of fabric on canvas and creates a scene from there.

As well as original artworks, Rebecca also illustrates books including Sally Osborne's book Womanhood and the upcoming children's book by Glenda Millard, Isabella's Garden. For more amazing art, check out the whimsical sculptures of Rebecca's husband Ross Miller.

You can find Rebecca Cool's artworks on her website and at the Manyung Gallery in Victoria, Yallingup Galleries, Margaret River Gallery, Stafford Studios and Fusion Fine Arts in Western Australia.

Image: Mother and Baby with Angel by Rebecca Cool

5 March 2009

Hip Products: iamfish eco-friendly stationery

Another great addition to the eco-friendly marketplace is passionate paper goods company iamfish. Based in northern New South Wales, the team at iamfish live and breath their 'fishosophy': Think. Explore. Choose.

Think about the impact of your decisions. Explore the possibilities. Choose to make a difference.

With a desire to bring environmentally friendly products to market, they have launched a great line of stationery including greeting cards, bookmarks and gift tags. All printed on post-consumer recycled paper with soy-based inks using a waterless printing process. And with hip designs to boot, it becomes very easy to choose iamfish for your paper goods needs.

You can find iamfish stationery products at stockists around Australia and online.

Image: iamfish

4 March 2009

Hip Products: Made By White jewellery

In the Nushka Dolls article, veri maz commented that she loves matryoshka dolls almost as much as she loves squirrels and owls and octopus and deer and possums. Well Made By White jewellery is the label for her. These sisters are on the money. They have covered all the cool icon bases and then some with their whimsical designs that are modern and attention-getting.

Without a doubt, my favourites are the Mexican-inspired calaveras skulls. Are they the matryoshka of 2009? Cute and kind of scary at the same time - great combination. And how can you go past the dancing bears with skirts!

New South Wales-based sisters Lyndsay and Kelly White are on a mission to bring the fun back to wearable art. They use materials like wood, laminate, perspex, and of course sterling silver chains and earring backs to create a fun range that includes brooches, earrings, buttons, wall hangings, and knitted spooks.

Check out the Made By White website for the online shop (where you can search by colour) and a list of stockists online, around Australia, New Zealand, The Netherlands, and the US.

Image: Made By White

3 March 2009

Hip Products: Nushka Dolls

If you love matryoshka dolls as much as I do, you'll dig this cool modern version of Russian nesting dolls created by clever Melissa Gardener. Her Nushka Dolls (new + babushka = clever!) are beautiful pieces of art and oh-so cool.

These are not your everyday matroyshkas. These are sweet dolls with groovy haircuts and unexpected designs. Just wait until you see the new styles. Love them.

The limited edition wooden dolls are hand-painted by Melissa in Brisbane with acrylic-based paints and then coated with a high gloss varnish to protect the designs.

A gorgeous gift, you can find Nushka Dolls on the website and on Etsy. Check out all the designs and behind-the-scenes on the Nushka Dolls blog and Flickr photostream. And a little more about Melissa's other talents on her site.

Image: Nushka Dolls

2 March 2009

Drool-worthy Design: DANDI textiles and homewares

Sydney-based DANDI are a close-knit group of industrial designers creating gorgeous textiles and products for kitchen, dining and home.

The team designs modern, botanically-inpsired prints applied to a range of products. The collection currently includes tableware (napkins, placemats, tablerunners, oil cloth), kitchen essentials (tea towels, aprons, pot holders), and other fabulous pieces for the home such as ironing board covers, pin boards and totes.

One of my favourite products outside of the textiles range is the eco-friendly bamboo chopping board with intricately etched lorrikeet design. Absolutely stunning in real life too.

You can find DANDI tableware on the DANDI online store. Check the DANDI website for stockists around Australia, New Zealand and online. You can find behind-the-scenes info on the DANDI blog.

Image: DANDI

1 March 2009

Cool Websites: Proximidade Award

Thank you to Angela from the very cool KidStyleFile for nominating Bondville for a Proximidade Award. This is a special acknowledgment for me as the Proximidade Award is all about community - sharing, celebrating others, and commending those who are building something special online. Here is the official overview:

“These blogs invest and believe in PROXIMITY - nearness in space, time and relationships. These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes for self-aggrandizement! Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers!”

The Rules for those who receive the award are: This blog award should be sent to your favorite eight bloggers and they, in turn should forward to eight of their favorites. You should include the text for Proximidade (above) in your announcement blog.

I would like to share this award with some cool websites. These special blog authors make our online space a better place:

Udessi - Kim's fantastic online gallery store of Australian art should be your first destination for gifts.

Bespoke Letterpress Boutique - Alischa's very special letterpress stationery business and blog always inspires.

Desire To Inspire - The sweet collaboration of Jo and Kim from two corners of the world to bring us beautiful design inspiration.

Bandelle - Aussie expat Kylie is a genius with both her customisable jewellery range and her gorgeous blog.

The Daily Imprint - Nathalie's blog is a must-read for me and now she's an author on Babyccino too.

Georgie Tees - On top of a fun range of tshirts for maternity and kids, Emily also authors a really insightful blog that is always a pick-me-up.

Bloesem - Irene's sites Bloesem and Bloesem kids are two of the most awe-inspiring, chic, stylish designs sites you will ever read.

Pia Jane Bijkerk - Aussie expat stylist and photographer Pia fills my life with dreamy beauty via her special blog.

Shannon Fricke - Another gorgeous Aussie stylist, Shannon has a way with words and colour that will knock your socks off.

You will love them all.

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