30 September 2009

Hip Products: Ben Elke Mexican oilcloth

When I lived in California I fell hard for Mexican folk art and started collecting El Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) figurines and artwork. There is something so joyous about the colours and images used in Mexican artwork - which is probably also why I am so drawn to the lovely Mexican oilcloth products created by Ben Elke.

Using oilcloth from Mexico, the team at Ben Elke create peg bags, aprons, placemats and (my favourite) lunch bags here in Australia and beach bags and tote bags in Mexico, using this vibrant, super-functional material. Waterproof and wipeable, oilcloth is great for the beach, the pool, kids school bags and the dining table. If you're feeling crafty, Ben Elke sells oilcloth by the metre, and there are some great oilcloth craft tutorials online (including these lunch bags by Martha Stewart).

You can find find Ben Elke oilcloth products and fabric at stockists across Australia listed on the Website as well as the whole range at the Me Too Please online store.

Images: Ben Elke

29 September 2009

Hip Products: Sweetie Petites

Lisa Tilse of The Red Thread is an inspiring artist and member of the craft and design community. I've long loved her art (read more about the Japanese-influenced sushibird tiles here) which always seems to strike a chord with what folks are wanting right now.

And the same can be said for clever Lisa's cute and crafty Sweetie Petites line of sew-your-own dolls. Coinciding (not accidentally) with our growing love of handmade and the Cult of Craft Cool, these kits are designed to make crafting a breeze. Each kit contains all you need to make a Sweetie and her little friend, including printed fabric panels designed by Lisa, stuffing, ribbon loops and sewing instructions. Each doll has her name printed on the back and a little note for her new owner.

Mimi, Molly, Daisy and Ginger would make the perfect gift for anyone yearning to get into handmade; or you can just get a kit for yourself and revel in your crafty talent once your Sweetie is made and delivered to the lucky recipient (or kept!). And great news - Lisa is planning a couple of boisterous boy pals for the Sweeties in the lead-up to Christmas.

You can find Sweetie Petites on The Red Thread online store. Make sure you bookmark Lisa's excellent The Red Thread blog for a well-curated look at design, craft and inspiring finds.

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

Images: The Red Thread

28 September 2009

Drool-worthy Design: Vanilla Canvas

I have a canvas above our couch that I started to paint orange-red, and then ran out of paint. Rather than go out and get more, lazy bones here popped it up on the wall to see how the colour looked and it has never come down. Even in its unfinished state. I keep thinking that I will complete it, but I'm lacking a little inspiration.

If you're like me and love to be creative, but don't find it so simple to just whip up gorgeous looking canvases, you might like to choose from the options available at Vanilla Canvas. Jackie Litchfield wrote to introduce her Gold Coast-based art business to me.

Painted canvases are designed by Jackie are digitally printed with high quality inks and wrapped onto durable wooden frames. Prints styles range from fun contemporary designs to retro-inspired patterns and fun images for kids.

You can find ordering information for Vanilla Canvas on the website. And don't forget to check out the Vanilla Canvas blog "Some Funky Ideas" for some lovely design finds. And watch out for upcoming info on the planned range of soft furnishings including cushions, throws, and plush toys to compliment the Vanilla style.

Images: Vanilla Canvas

25 September 2009

Hip Products: Darcy Clarke lighting

I'm feeling all beachy at the moment, and these gorgeous lamps from Darcy Clarke Object Design perfectly suit my mood for an indoor-outdoor Australian lifestyle.

Based in Brisbane, Darcy Clarke creates a range of sculptural cane lamps, wooden stools and rattan screens, all with the trademark nature-meets-modern design look. You may have seen Darcy's amazing pieces in hotels, restaurants, cafes and other commercial settings, but you may not know that they are available for residential use also. The lamps above are definitely going on my (early) Christmas wishlist.

You can find Darcy Clarke Designs at stockists in Australia listed on the website (under contacts). Read more about Darcy Clarke Design on the blog.

Images: Darcy Clarke Object Design

24 September 2009

Hip Products: Ramalama leather infant carrier

It seems that each city has its cool mode of baby-carrying. In Sydney, I saw an awful lot of Bjorns. In Byron, it seems everyone has a huggabub (or sling!), in Brisbane, the Ergo is the go. Anyone have a suggestion for Melbourne? If I had to guess, it would be the Ramalama - an ultra-hip leather infant carrier that just screams "take me for a babyccino oh cool parent of mine".

Ramalama carriers are functional as well as luxurious. Created for infants from 5 months old (or able to support their own head), they can carry children up to 20 kgs, supported on either hip. Materials include black leather, chocolate leather, organic denim and black canvas.

Based in Sydney, the Ramalama range also includes gorgeous leather bags (and I mean seriously), organic and eco-friendly baby basics and maternity wear.

You can find Ramalama products at the online store as well as stockists across Australia, New Zealand, the US, Canada, Spain and online, including UrbanBaby.com.au. And shop online for kids products from great stores in the Australian Online Kids and Baby Store Directory.

Image: Ramalama

23 September 2009

Drool-worthy Design: Ella and Sofia textiles and furnishings

My deck chair renovation project is taking me forever. I'm procrastinating. If you're like me and need a little inspiration to refurbish that old chair, check out the hard-wearing textiles from Sydney-based Ella and Sofia.

Ella and Sofia head designer Karie Soehardi creates gorgeous textiles for home and commercial use. The range includes fabric (woven and screenprinted), hand-printed wallpaper, cushions and upholstered furniture. How amazing are the four striking chairs in the collection - I'm totally inspired to get back into my refurb project.

You can find Ella and Sofia textiles in the online store as well as at stockists in NSW, VIC and TAS.

Images: Ella and Sofia

22 September 2009

Australian Artist Spotlight: Kareena Zerefos

Kareena Zerefos is a much-loved Australian artist that I wanted to share with you today. Maybe it's because her soothing artwork is just what I need on this sweltering hot afternoon. Hopefully you've already seen Kareena's work as she is well published in all the cool spots, but if not, please let me introduce you.

Sydney-based Kareena has a background in design (she graduated from the College of Fine Arts in 2005) and now works with a variety of media, including pencil, gouache, tea and ink, and combines traditional drawing with contemporary digital graphic techniques. It's all very gorgeous, as you can see.

Kareena's work often features children exploring their surroundings and delicate-but-wild animals - both of which I find very compelling. And judging by the gorgeous piece of yardage that she designed for William Phillips; I'm sure that there is a lot more in store for us from this talented artist.

You can find Kareena's work in her online store where you will find limited edition art prints, posters and gift cards, as well as stockists in NSW, VIC and the UK. Read more about the behind-the-scenss in Kareena's art studio on her blog.

Images: Kareena Zerefos

21 September 2009

Welcome New Sponsor Sam and I

High quality and stylish kids pyjamas are quite hard to come by. That's why I'm excited to introduce you to new Bondville sponsor Sam and I; a great Australian-designed and made label creating PJ's and loungewear for boys, girls and babies in classic colours and prints.

Based in Brisbane, Sam and I is run by entrepreneurial Mums Michelle and Brooke. The range includes nighties, tops, singlets, boxers and pyjama sets as well as groovy nappies. It's particularly great to see all ages and both boys and girls well represented. So classy!

You can find Sam and I pyjamas and loungewear in the Sam and I online store, and you can keep up with all the latest designs on the Sam and I Facebook Fan Page.

Images: Sam and I

18 September 2009

Stylish Kids: Mini Life

I adore the first summery collection by new kids clothing label Mini Life. Based on the Sunshine Coast (can't you just tell!), Natalie and Donna have launched a gorgeous range of dresses, tops, skirts, shorts and swimwear for girls in sizes 3-8.

These are beautifully crafted clothes that truly evoke long, hot days by the beach. The trims and details are really lovely and I'm excited about the fresh colour combinations.

The Mini Life girls have had huge success with their launch already and are expanding the range to include sizes 9-12 for Winter 2010. Congratulations Natalie and Donna!

You can find Mini Life at Australian stockists.

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

Images: Mini Life

17 September 2009

Hip Products: Chi Designs accessories

I was introduced to Brisbane accessories designer Chi Designs through the divine Mishy Lane and have immediately fallen hard for the range of super-spunky clutches, bags, purses and hair accessories. Especially the "Fashion Week" clutches that are real headturners. Just ask Chi designer Chi Bui - she made the best-dressed list at the Mercedez Benz Fashion Festival in Brisbane for toting her black and white sewing pattern clutch pictured above. Check out the glam red carpet pic of Chi here.

You can find Chi Designs online on Etsy and Madeit (Australia) as well as at markets around Brisbane. Keep an eye on the Chi Designs blog for details.

Imags: Chi Designs

16 September 2009

Hip Products: article homewares

I wrote some time ago about the seriously fashionable homewares and lifestyle line by Eeni Meeni Miini Moh designer Elizabeth O'Connor Cowley. article: has now launched online and is available for sale through the EMMM shop.

You'll find a range of mix and match pieces for home including pieces for lounging/snuggling, for keeping clean, for the office, for travelling, for organising and for gifting. Cleverly, the collection is washed with an earthy colour palette that won't alienate the man of the house. Like Elizabeth's ubiquitous children's label, I'm sure that article: will soon become a household classic.

You can find article: in the online store as well as at stockists across Australia and New Zealand. To celebrate the online launch, the team is offering 30% off the price of article: in the online store for a limited time (and while stocks last). Happy shopping!

Images: article:

15 September 2009

Hip Products: Shannon Garson ceramics

I was really excited to have much-loved ceramic artist Shannon Garson visit Bondville recently and wanted to show you some of her work.

Based in beautiful Maleny on the Sunshine Coast hinterland in Queensland, Shannon creates both tableware and exhibition porcelain pieces. In 2005 Shannon received a Churchill Fellowship and spent 3 months travelling in Europe studying the art of the medieval and Renaissance periods. Shannon's background as a painter is evident in the glorious drawings that each vessel hosts.

Some of my favourite pieces are from the Herbarium and Nest-Series One collections of work, including the magnolia, leaf and bird's nest vessels pictured above. The delicate hand-thrown bowls have such a dreamy quality and I love the use of botanicals in the pieces.

You can find Shannon Garson porcelain designs at galleries around Australia. Read more about Shannon on her blog Strange Fragments.

Images: Shannon Garson

14 September 2009

Welcome New Sponsor Midgee Moo


Welcome, welcome to new Bondville sponsor and online children's boutique Midgee Moo. You'll find a range of toys, accessories, kids' essentials and gifts, flatrate Australian delivery of $7.50 and convenient online order tracking.

Midgee Moo has a particularly great toy selection - owner Hayley Penny has a background in education and feels that it is important to provide children with great quality, educational toys that will stimulate childrens' imagination and creativity. Here are some of my favourite Midgee Moo items, clockwise from top left:

* K's Kids Read n Play book - Black & White & Sometimes Red
* Wooden ladybird castenet
* Penny Scanlan sun hat - navy star
* Honeybake wooden baking set
* Medical Time wooden medical kit

I also love the well-thought-out Australian-made bibs by Midgee Moo. These bibs are the cornerstone of the brand and the first product to be sold in the store - oversized designer cotton prints with fleece backing for easy washing and with snap closures.

Stop by the store and tell Hayley I sent you.

Images: Midgee Moo

11 September 2009

Drool-worthy Design: greenolive design textiles

It's been great discovering new Australian design talent through Twitter, which is how I was introduced to greenolive design. Located in the Dandenong Ranges, husband and wife team Martine and Drew Booth design and produce screenprinted textiles as well as a range of scarves, cards and brooches.

Textiles are printed by hand in the studio using water-based, environmentally-friendly inks on 55% linen and 45% cotton. The three major ranges include Kids, Urban and Tribal. All seem ideal for home decorating from the kids' bedrooms to the living room and kitchen. I want that Urban Type print now!

You can find greenolive textiles shopping information on the website, which includes the greenolive Etsy store, markets in Victoria, and UK stockist Blueberry Park. Check out the greenolive blog for all the latest news.

Images: greenolive design

10 September 2009

Events: Bundy on Tap

Here's an inspiring event that I hope can motivate us to expand to our own corners of the world. On the 26th September 2009, the town of Bundanoon in the NSW Southern Highlands (150km south west of Sydney) is launching Bundy on Tap - a program to remove the sale and giveaway of all bottled water from the town precinct.

The aim for Bundanoon residents is to become Australia's (and possibly the world's) First Bottled Water Free Town. The Bundy on Tap website goes into detail on the reasons for removing bottled water, but in summary, the residents of Bundanoon believe that when compared to most Australian tap water, the bottled water alternative is a very expensive beverage, with negligible, if any, additional health benefits. It also greatly contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, precious water resource extraction and creates a huge solid waste problem.

Through the program, businesses will increase access to free water, making available for sale reusable drink bottles and chilled filtered tap water, whilst free filtered water stations (bubblers) will also be provided for the public and primary school children.

It's exciting to see the residents and businesses of a small town come together to effect change and really make a difference to their local and national environment. If you'd like to find out more about the event, check out the Bundy on Tap website.

Images: Bundy on Tap

9 September 2009

Hip Products: Ky Curran ceramics

There's something about Brisbane that breeds incredibly creative ceramics artist. Witness the cool creations of Ky Curran. Ky's functional works of art are all about making the daily life of the owner more lovely.

Ky's work runs the gamut from simple, beautiful vessels (like the wheel-thrown twin tea bowls, above), to thought-provoking pieces (love the "trouble" gun brooch) to meditational (sweet Mother Mary tiles are a modern shrine of devotional art). I particularly love the tongue-in-cheek Briz Vegas series that is becoming very hard to get your hands on. Ky's ceramics are wheel thrown and her jewellery is decorated with a variety of handmade glazes, Japanese tissue paper and decal images.

You can find Ky Curran ceramics at Artisan, Kiln, the Museum of Brisbane and Fusions Gallery as well as shows around Australia and internationally. Contact Ky Curran for more stockist information and wholesale orders.

Images: Ky Curran

8 September 2009

Welcome New Sponsor Modern Retro Textiles

For all you crafty types, welcome to new Bondville sponsor, Modern Retro Textiles - an Australian online textiles store stocking great fabric and sewing patterns from Australian, US and Japanese designers.

You can let your imagination run wild with sewing patterns for bags, women's clothes, children's clothes, softies, and accessories. Textiles include designs by Nani Iro, Amy Butler, Free Spirit Fabrics, Moda Fabrics and a selection of Australian screenprinted fabrics.

Here are a pick of some of my favourites, clockwise from top left:
Anna Maria Horner Socialite Dress pattern
Amy Butler Midwest Modern fabrics
Thea and Sami Marguerite, aqua on white fabric
Heather Bailey Happy Stacker Ring Toy softie pattern
Joel Dewberry, Jennifer Paganelli and Valori Wells Free Spirit fabrics
Kristen Doran squirrel craft panel

You can find Modern Retro Textiles at the online store. To keep up with new stock and news, check out the Modern Retro Textiles blog.

Images: Modern Retro Textiles

7 September 2009

Hip Products: Kia Hing Fay crochet and applique kits

I've been wanting to introduce you to the beautifully crafted, sweet creations of Kia Hing Fay for a long time now. The time has come as Brisbane-based Kia now has a gorgeous website where you can buy her products, and some loyal stockists where you can pick up her beautiful applique kits, crocheted rattles and limited edition pieces.

These applique kits are a no-brainer. Brilliant for new-comers to sewing or old hats, the kits include handprinted applique pieces, an embroidery hoop, needle and thread, and simple instruction booklet. All you need is some imagination and something to customise - some plain bed linen? a stained t-shirt? a laundry sack? a library bag? an eco-tote? a placemat? or even just a piece of fabric that you can frame for your little one's wall?

The too-cute crocheted soft rattles are made from australian merino wool, felt and hand embroidery. A perfect baby shower gift. and make sure you check out Kia's limited edition section where you will find a changing stock of precious goodies. Currently Kia is offering the sweetest embroidered digit dolls for tiny hands and pockets, each with its own little personality.

I hope you love Kia's artistry as much as I do. You can find Kia's products on the Kia Hing Fay website as well as at select stockists around Australia.

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

Images: Kia Hing Fay

4 September 2009

Trends: Tissue Paper Flowers

Ava's bedroom from My NY Life.

Blue tissue paper flower pom pom instructions from Martha Stewart Crafts.

Harper's First Birthday party from Likely Design.

Charles and Nadia's wedding from OnceWed.

From Kiss The Groom.

Wedding table from Martha Stewart Weddings.

Back in the day, we all loved fairy lights for special events (weddings, kids parties, engagements, baby showers, birthdays etc). Then it was cool to use Chinese paper lanterns (still is!). Now bunting is huge. But could dahlia-like tissue paper flowers be overtaking as a decorating trend?

Great minds think alike, and in my web travels this week I noticed these gorgeous paper tissue flowers on quite a few of my favourite sites. I just did a quick search for them, and it looks like they have been gaining popularity for the last 12 months (perhaps not coincidentally after they were featured in Martha Stewart Weddings magazine).

According to Pink Paper Peppermints, these flowers are a traditional Mexican art form. You can find a feature on Martha Stewart Weddings and downloadable PDF instructions on Martha Stewart Crafts to make your own tissue paper pom-poms (and you could previously buy a tissue paper flower kit through the Martha Stewart Craft store). The tissue paper pomanders at this wedding ceremony are a very cost-effective and beautiful alternative to flowers. And Australian textile designer Danielle Stewart's wedding features gorgeous hanging poms. There is even the PomLove Etsy store dedicated to selling tissue paper flower kits.

I just love the look of these flowers and the upside is huge: you can pick exactly the colour you want, they never die, they don't need water, and you can make them yourself! I think I'm going to have to retire my paper lanterns and make some for Sophie's 2nd birthday next week. Have you made them yet?
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