31 October 2011

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween! Did you get any early bird trick-or-treaters last night? Now that our little ones are old enough, we put a tiny bit of effort into Halloween this year. We used Pilgrim Lee's great Halloween printables for a small gathering to celebrate our friend's birthday and I baked a creepy chocolate cake, covered in chococlate-coated pop rocks and topped with a googly eyeball.

I repurposed Pilgrim's treat box into a round paper lantern (with glass and tea light inside) for the front steps, strung up the bunting, and attached the round toppers to bamboo skewers to line the pathway to the front door. I had my basket of goodie bags ready by the door.

But we only got one set of kids trick-or-treating! We might get a few older kids tonight. Did anyone come by your house? Or did you turn off the lights and pretend no-one was home?

Images: Steph Bond Hutkin

27 October 2011

Party Ideas: Poppy's Pretty 2nd Birthday Party

Super-stylish Mum Melinda (of the Georgica Pond blog) hosted her daughter Poppy's 2nd birthday party at her parent's country home in the New South Wales southern highlands. Mel went to town on handmade decorations, and fabulous girly party food, and despite being a reluctant baker, created a masterpiece layered cake complete with mini-bunting. Mel  - a former magazine stylist - shares lots of great tips on how she put this soiree together, just for us!

Birthday: My daughter Poppy's 2nd Birthday
Organised by: Mum Melinda (Georgica Pond) with help setting up on the day by my husband, mum and grandmother.
Location:  My parent's 100 acre country property, in the Southern Highlands, NSW.
Theme: Pretty and girly

26 October 2011

Halloween Treats

I kind of have a confession to make. I've been squirreling away three quarters of all the kids' party goodie bags this year, collecting a mountain of lollies. And now I'm going to give them away to other people's children. Oh the guilt!

We get a lot of trick-or-treaters in our neighbourhood, so this year for Halloween we are going to gussy up the entrance to our place with Halloween decorations, dress up in costumes, answer the doorbell and give out these little treat bags that the girls and I made today.

Super-easy and super-cute. You'll need some clear gift bags (from an art store), brads or stapler (I need to get a stapler...), and these editable Halloween place card printable designs from the fabulous Pilgrim Lee. Fill the bags with a few lollies. Print the designs on paper, cut, fold, and staple the folded paper to the top of the bag. You can customise your message too.

Are you taking the kids trick-or-treating? Or are you going to turn off the lights and pretend no-one is home (he he he).


25 October 2011

Australian Artist Spotlight: Tali Gal-on (Milk and Cookies)

Please meet Tali Gal-on, a multi-talented animator, designer, illustrator as well as short film writer and director based in Melbourne. Let's have a look at some of her great art prints under the Milk and Cookies banner that would work beautifully in a child's special space.

23 October 2011

Let's talk about printables...

So! How great are printables. You know - stationery that you can download and print on your own printer.

My first taste of print-your-own party decor and stationery was at a Brown Owls welcome meeting in Brisbane two years ago. Super-baker Bel served up a huge tray of cupcakes, each wrapped beautifully in an owl cupcake wrapper. After hasty enquiries, Bel explained that she had purchased the cupcake wrapper printable design from an artist online, printed them on her own printer, laminated them (entirely optional) and voila! Themed cupcakes. I was hooked.

I just love the concept of taking some first-class artwork and being able to download it to my computer and print it on my own printer, whenever I want, and as many times as I want. It's a whole new concept in the way that we use stationery, and the lack of postage means that amazing designs are available to so many more of us, economically.

That's not to say that I don't love paper. I truly do adore paper products (oh letterpress!) and they will never disappear or be replaced by the digital version. But it's exciting to embrace this fairly new way of accessing stationery, and printables are so very useful (read thrifty!) for parties, weddings and events. It's also great to be able to get the little ones involved in printing, cutting, gluing, taping, wrapping and hanging.

Editable printables are even cooler. No more worrying about messy handwriting, and forget those tear-off sheets from the supermarket - these are polished, personalised invitations, place cards and other decor items that you can update yourself.

Which brings me to Modern Printables. I am in contact with so many amazing illustrators, artists and graphic designers, so it only made sense that I would help promote these artists' designs to the wider world and create a central place to find beautiful, quality printables for parties, weddings and events, by top designers. It has been so exciting to collaborate with these designers and work with more that are coming on board in the next few months.

If you are a regular Bondville reader you would have seen the first three amazing Australian designers on the site - Lisa Tilse (the red thread), Jess Walsham (Joyess Designs) and Pilgrim Lee (draw! pilgrim).

Pilgrim has created a bold, bright Halloween theme party with her trademark folk art style that is perfect for a spooky soiree. By popular demand, each item in the Halloween pack is now available individually too!

Lisa designed the gorgoeus Strawberry theme party that I used for my daughter's 4th birthday party. The kawaii strawberry character was a huge hit with the kids.

Jess put together the classy Little Man theme birthday party, originally designed for her own son Jonty's 2nd birthday party. It's all about the moustache and ties and would make a great tie-in for Movember next month.

There are many more great printables products coming your way from talented artists. If you like what you see, you can follow Modern Printables on Facebook for updates, and follow the Modern Printables website for new designs and party features.


Images: Modern Printables

21 October 2011

Party Ideas: Little Red Riding Hood Birthday Party

Lucky 3-year-old Annabell took her friends down to the woods for an enchanting birthday party, organised by Kiss Me Kate Events. There are so many fun elements to this party - I adore those little lamington-topped mushrooms and the macarons that could pass for fungi!

Birthday: 3 year old girl's birthday party for Annabell.

Organised by: Kiss Me Kate Events.

Location: The party was held in parkland area in the suburb of Balwyn, Melbourne.

Theme: Enchanted Forest (Red Riding Hood Inspired) - a themed party package from Kiss Me Kate Events.

Invitation: Created by Andersruff Custom designs.

Cake: The birthday cake was designed and baked by Kate Brown of Kiss Me Kate Events. The icing was made from a meringue frosting which gave the cake a lucious texture. The cake was decorated with edible toad stools and butteflies.

Party food: The cookies, cupcakes, jam tarts were baked by Kate Brown of Kiss Me Kate Events. The remaining dessert items which included personalised chocolate bars, personalised fruit pop drink bottles, bite size lamington fingers, macarons, mushroom meringues and assorted candy were sourced and styled by Yolanda Cerra, stylist for Kiss Me Kate Events.

Decorations: The printables include a personalised welcome party sign, bunting, and food labels, created by Andersruff Custom Designs. Other decorative items include wood stumps and glass cloche bells. Sliced wood blocks were used as serving platters. A wooden basket was used to house the assorted candy jars and pine cones, faux apples and a scattering of paper flowers were used to bring a touch of forest floor coverings to the dessert table.

Tips: Annabell's parents wanted the party outdoors and in a setting that felt like you were in the forest. They chose a parkland area in their neighbourhood of Balwyn, VIC to set up the dessert table and the children had plenty of space to run around and have fun.

Something Special: Although it was not a costume party, little Annabell looked adorable in her little red riding hood cape and really enjoyed being in character for the afternoon.

Thank you Yolanda and Kate for sharing this fairytale birthday party with us. For more gorgeous parties head over to their party and event styling business Kiss Me Kate Events.

Images: Kiss Me Kate Events

20 October 2011

Scoops Design accessories and childrenswear

I got the cutest mirror seal brooch in my ABCD meetup goodie bag last month. It is so much-loved at Bondville headquarters that I have to seriously negotiate with my 4-year-old about who gets to wear it. The brooch is part of a great range of jewellery, accessories and childrenswear by talented Sydney designer Sophie Cooper (Scoops) under the Scoops Design label.

18 October 2011

Parrot Carrot book for kids

It's fantastic to see local artists teaming up with local writers to create excellent illustrated children's books. Such is the case with Sydney-based Kate and Jol Temple, who have collaborated with super-talented illustrator Jon Foye (also based in Sydney) to create the beautiful book Parrot Carrot, launching at the end of this month. This is a fun rhyming book that will appeal to a pre-schooler's silly side - a parrot that looks like a carrot?!??! That's crazy!

Jon Foye's fantastical illustrations and hand-drawn typography will appeal to the little ones as well as design-savvy parents. I'm feeling a whole line of licensed products using these illustrations! Who wouldn't love a Whale Snail t-shirt or a Hawk Cork backpack? (I'm looking directly at you Kate, Jol and Jon!)

Carrot Parrot is published by Allen and Unwin.You are cordially invited to the Parrot Carrot book launch, 4pm Sunday 30th October 2011 at Ariel Book Shop, 42 Oxford St, Paddington, NSW. I'm thinking a signed copy of the first edition will be pretty special for years to come. And there is an app coming soon - keep an eye on the Parrot Carrot website.

Images: Parrot Carrot

14 October 2011

Stylish Kids: Inklet

I'm a huge fan of the Ink & Spindle eco-friendly textiles and surface art, so when the Melbourne-based girls teamed with childrenswear designer Dana from Twiglet, I knew the resulting collaboration was going to be something pretty special. Behold, Inklet eco-friendly kids clothing!

You'll find a great range of t-shirts and onesies (sizes 0-4), bibs and blankets with fun trams and bikes, ocean faring, and sweet twig motifs. All Inklet products are locally made with certified organic cotton fabrics and screen printed by hand with water-based, environmentally-friendly inks.

It's so great to see a range with a strong focus on designs that appeal to the boys as well as the girls. And if you fancy yourself handy with a sewing machine, Ink & Spindle offer the Pirates and Sea Creatures and Trams and Bicycles design on jersey by the metre (and for textiles too!).

You can find Inklet in the Ink & Spindle online store. Read more about Ink & Spindle here on Bondville. And head over to Bondville Kids Style for more great Australian-designed clothes for kids.

Images: Ink & Spindle

13 October 2011

Party Ideas: Gruffalo 3rd birthday party

Alison Lawson is a spectacular cake-maker. So it's a good thing that her sister encouraged her to foster her talent, learn cake-making and set up her own business - Alison Lawson Cakes! Here Alison shares with us tips and tricks for a Gruffalo party that she created for her son Harry's 3rd birthday. It's truly amazing! Not only are Alison's cakes awe-inspiring - check out those cookies. They are perfect. (You'll know what I mean if you have ever attempted to make these). Bring on the Gruffalo...

Birthday: My divine second son Harry – turning 3.
Organised by: Mum Alison of Alison Lawson Cakes.
Location: Our temporary home in Bowral, NSW – we are in the midst of building our dream home having moved to Bowral from Sydney one year ago.
Theme: Deciding on a theme for Harry’s 3rd birthday celebrations came easily this year. We had to look no further than his favourite book The Gruffalo, written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler.
The next job was to choose a colour scheme. Brown, white and green came to mind quickly, to represent the ‘Gruffalo’ as well as the ‘deep dark wood’.

12 October 2011

Stylish Kids: Minyaka Design + 10% discount

If you love no-fuss, classic lines for kids using organic cotton, hemp and bamboo, then new Australian childrenswear label Minyaka Design is definitely for you.

You'll find sweet tunics, cheeky bottom pants, jumpsuits, bubble dresses, tank tops and super-cool dandy pants in a range of eco-friendly fabrics with coconut shell buttons. All items are designed and made by friends and design partners Jamie Lee and Michelle Lee in Sydney and presented in hand screen-printed calico bags. I asked Jamie and Michelle a few questions about their fabulous label...

Label: Minyaka Design
Designer: Jamie Lee and Michelle Lee
Location: Sydney, Australia

Can you tell us a little about the history of your label?
We are university buddies (nope, we’re not sisters) and Minyaka Design is our first collaboration. Jamie has a background in interior architecture and Michelle in fashion design. Although we come from different disciplines, we share the same vision so it works!

It was always so difficult to find beautiful, quality gifts for children, so we decided to do something about it. Now one year later and after many all-nighters, we are very excited and proud to finally see the fruits of our hard work with the launch of our first summer collection and the winter one just around the corner!

Both of us are passionate about the well-being of children and the environment and this has inspired the way we do things and our decision to use eco-friendly fabrics such as organic cotton, bamboo and hemp. We are also supportive of the local industry. All our products are made in Australia and we source locally where possible.

What makes Minyaka Design different?
Children’s clothes need to be functional but they can be so much more! All our clothes make us wish we were children again, just so we can wear them! Take our bubble dress for instance, how we wish we had one when we were little!

Childhood is so short and precious. So we put a lot of love into all our creations and hope that our beautiful and fun things can add something special to the photo albums and memories of mums, dads and families.

What is the inspiration for your collection?
We believe the simplest, most natural creations are often the best. We aim for each creation to reflect Mother Nature’s simple, elegant style with our own playful twist.

If you could pick an ice-cream flavour for Minyaka Design, what would it be?
Vanilla of course! It’s an all time classic favourite. It’s so simple yet it will get along with any toppings…strawberries, chocolate, nuts, sprinkles, you name it!!

What is your favourite thing about Minyaka Design?
We try to make each of our customer’s experience special. Our products even come packaged in a calico bag personally sewn and screen printed by us!

This is just the beginning, there’s a lot more to come!!


Thank you Jamie and Michelle. I can't even wait to see what is next from Minyaka Design (the bottom image is a sneak peek from the Winter 2012 collection - YUM!).

You can find Minyaka Design in the online store and at various markets (keep an eye on the website for details). And lucky for us, Jamie and Michelle are offering Bondville readers a 10% discount on online sales until the 31st December 2011! Simply enter the code THXBONDVILLE at the checkout. Discount terms: does not apply to items on sale. Only one coupon per customer. One coupon per transaction only. Coupon is not redeemable for cash.

For more great Australian-designed clothes for kids, head over to Bondville Kids Style.

Images: Minyaka Design

Best of Bondville Aug/Sept 2011

The latest issue of the Bondville monthly newsletter is now out with a summary of all the best posts from August and September 2011. There are some beauties in there, including Australian-designed fashion for kids, party ideas, kids' room ideas, yummy things for Mum and Home and an introduction to printables. If you would like to subscribe, head over and sign up now to make sure you get the newsletter in your inbox each month. It's chock-full of good stuff.

Image: Steph Bond Hutkin

10 October 2011

Sydney For Kids: Cattai National Park

This weekend heralded a major achievement for us as a family - our first camping trip with the kids. And it got four tiny thumbs up!

Camping was a favourite activity for us pre-kids and we've been chomping at the bit to take them away for a weekend. Cattai National Park, just 55 km north-west of the Sydney was a great choice - not too far to travel to, lovely large flat camping areas with undercover shelter, good hot showers and decent bathroom facilities, fireplaces and right on the Hawkesbury River.

There was abundant wildlife - lots of kangaroos feeding right near our tent, dozens of Crimson and Eastern Rozellas, Corellas and all the more common Aussie favourites. We saved a long-neck turtle from imminent squashed-ness on the road and made a mental note to get the updated Slater Field Guide To Australian Birds to identify all the species we spotted. There was even a nice children's playground with swings, slide and climbing equipment.

We braved a decent storm with lashings of hail, but eventually had to jump into the car and head to nearby Windsor, NSW to warm up and dry off at the local pizza joint. No complaints there! It dried up enough to head back and make our own version of smores with marshmallows and choc wheaten biscuits that were almost the highlight of our trip. We'll be back for more :)

Images: Steph Bond Hutkin

5 October 2011

Australian Artist Spotlight: Simone Downey (Nomuu)

Simone Downey is Nomuu, a Melbourne-based artist who creates whimsical animal-child characters. Her style is so calming with her soft palettes and soulful subjects. These Art prints and greeting cards would make great gifts for a new baby. (I think I'd like little miss Bunny Girl With Circles - 3rd below - in my study too!). I chatted to Simone about her inspirations and how she creates her amazing artwork...

2 October 2011

Halloween Party printable pack

I am so thrilled to share with you these fun Halloween printable party pack, just released in the Modern Printables online shop, designed by much-loved Australian illustrator and graphic designer, Pilgrim Lee of draw! pilgrim.

Pilgrim's style is all about bold colour with serious retro leanings (think 70's children's books mixed with Scandinavian style).

I just love this pack that Pilgrim has designed which includes: spooky editable invitations (enter in your own info before printing for a polished, professional look), matching fold-your-own envelopes, bunting flags, cupcake wrappers, 5 different round topper designs (for garlands, envelope seals and decorating food), buffet label place cards, and cut-and-fold editable treat boxes to fill with goodies.

Here's a little photo shoot that I put together to show how the pieces look in real life.

This party kit would look great with Enticing Icing's edible fondant ghost sugar toppers, pumpkin spice cookies, ghoulish purple forest berry smoothies, and some persian fairy floss spider web on top of those dark chocolate cupcakes.

Head over to the Modern Printables shop. I can't wait to see your parties!

Images: Modern Printables
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