27 September 2012

Do you ever look at your website statistics?

If you have a small business and you're not checking out your website statistics regularly, then you could be missing out on some valuable information to measure your marketing campaigns and even tweak your product line. I've pulled together an article about the basics of using your company's website statistics over on eBay's Mum's Business website. Head over here to find out more.

26 September 2012

Real Kids Room: Ruby's 2 Year Old Bedroom

You know that I love showcasing the parties, kids' rooms and style of real Australian families, and photographer Danielle Trovato's style is one of my favourites. Danielle lives on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria and is soon to start a photography business focusing on children and children's interiors. Have a peek at these images of her own daughter Ruby's room, and you'll see why! 

Room:  Ruby's bedroom
Age:  2
Designed by:  Photographer Danielle Trovato (Ruby's Mum)
Location:  Mornington Peninsula, Victoria
Photography:  Danielle Trovato

25 September 2012

Zac's 6th Super Hero Birthday Party

Zac's Mum Leesa and I went to school together and when I saw Zac's 6th birthday party photos on Facebook, I knew you would love the inspiration, and Leesa's tips too. Leesa cleverly kept to a tight colour scheme of red, yellow, blue and black with stars to go with the superhero theme. Even the packets of chips matched! Leesa's cupcake stand with cake on top is a great focal point for the party - how yummy do those cupcakes look. Read on for Leesa's hints and advice...

24 September 2012

Great Ocean Road cheese packaging and magazine love

I hope you all had a great weekend and haven't been struck down by the dreaded lurgy that is making its way around. I very luckily timed my sick days with the weekend, which meant I was able to recuperate with much help and am right as rain again now :)

It also meant that I had some time to think and have been working on a Bondville site freshen-up with the talented Lisa Tilse which I am beyond excited to share with you when it's ready.

Some things that I noticed around the traps this weekend:

1. It seems like all my Instagram buddies snapped up copies of the new Real Living magazine to read over the weekend. I haven't bought a new magazine for a long time, but I was also reading Shannon Fricke's blog on the weekend and guess who the October 2012 Real Living magazine cover girl is?!?! I had to buy the magazine to support the use of Shannon on the cover and to thank Real Living for using real, inspiring women (not just young models). Shannon is 43 years old and yes, she is gorgeous, but she is a Mother and a hardworking, authentic woman. Read more about Shannon's journey on her blog. Good stuff Real Living!

2. More magazine love - the new Coles magazine! I loved the September 2012 Coles magazine and made my daughter's birthday cakes, cupcakes and 3 meals from it (what a huge improvement on previous issues). The new issue looks just as promising with beautiful photography and lots of recipes I would like to try (particularly the easy-looking desserts). There's even an iPad app. No, this is not a sponsored post by Coles or by ACP Magazines. Mind you, I did work at Coles casually as a "check-out chick" from 15-21 years of age. But truly - no bias here.

3.Warrnambool Cheese and Butter's Great Ocean Road cheese - I am suckered in by the packaging. This 123-year old Australian dairy has created cheese that is a stand-out on the shelves and celebrates locally-made produce. That deserves a big tick in my book.

How was your weekend? Did you pick up either of the magazines above? And were you a "check-out chick" too? You know I'm always interested to know...

21 September 2012

Real Kids Room: Spoonful of Colour playroom and shared girls bedroom.. and giveaway!

I adore the white-with-pops-of-colour look that Melbourne graphic designer, paper product designer, all-round crafty gal and blogger Pascale Clearihan of Spoonful of Colour has pulled together for her girls' playroom and shared bedroom.

Pascale has included many of her own handmade decorations and artwork in her childrens' rooms. The stand-out A-Z Animal Print below is one of Pascale's own (you can find it in the Spoonful of Colour online store). I'm thrilled that Pascale is giving away one A3 print to a lucky Bondville reader! (giveaway now closed). See the end of this post for details. Enjoy this tour!

Room: Girls' bedroom and playroom
Age: 3 years and 4 months
Designed by: Pascale Clearihan (Spoonful of Colour)
Location: Melbourne, VIC, Australia

19 September 2012

Polka Dot trend - ideas for kids

Have you noticed the polka dot trend popping up? It's super-fun and I'm looking forward to a spotty and neon summer - very much in-line with our fun-loving aesthetic in Australia.

I have been so inspired by the beautiful spotted wedding dress worn by this Bride in Italy, photographed by New Zealand studio bayly&moore. The nude base cloth and slim ribbon belt is really unexpected and takes this dress out of 101 Dalmations territory. How chic to team this dress with t-bar heels and a simply posy of baby's breath (another flower that is back big-time). For the full wedding see the Boho Weddings Blog.

I've pulled together some of our own great Australian-designed dotty kids fashion for (mostly) girls, inspired by the beautiful Bride above!

Featured designers:
Milk & Soda gold studded bow tie
Paper Eskimo baking cups black spots and black tie paper straws
Ola & Olek spot dresses (on sale now in the Style Milk shop)
Knuffle Kid tightrope dress and leggings
Paper Wings Little Wings tulle skirt
Little Mouse Brown high-waisted shorts

So fun. Hands up if you're loving the spots and dots!

18 September 2012

The Hungry Workshop & Koskela presents Rituals - get your letterpress on

If you're a fan of letterpress and Australian illustration, then you will love Ritual - an exhibit being held at Koskela as party of Art & About Sydney.

Letterpress cool kids The Hungry Workshop, based in Melbourne, have pulled together a stellar group of Australian artists including Beci Orpin, Ben Ashton-Bell, Drunk Park, Eirian Chapman, Georgia Perry, Kindred Studio, Lauren Carney, Luke Lucas, Malade Pathetics and Spew Corp for a hand-printed letterpress exhibition. The exhibition will feature limited edition prints and unique, one-of-a-kind overprints.

There are lots of other great actitives happening for Art & About Sydney, including some fun events that are child-friendly too. Organiser Jenna Hipgrave - one half of The Hungry Workshop duo - is a friend of mine from Brisbane, so I'll be heading along to the opening night on Saturday 22nd Sept 2012, 5-7pm - hope to see you there.

Update: The Hungry Workshop and Malade Pathetics are also hosting a lino and type workshop from 1 - 4:30pm before the Exhibit opening. Participants will be exploring the fundamental principles of letterpress, relief printing and typography, through simple, hands-on techniques. Check out the Koskela website for more details - looks great!

Image: The Hungry Workshop

15 September 2012

The Tomkat Studio Aussie Party Challenge

Here's one for all you party fans out there. Fabulous US printables designers The Tomkat Studio know how many talented party stylists there are in Australia, and are hosting a fun competition that we can all participate in to win a $100 voucher in their online party store. They challenged eight Australian party stylists to create a party shoot themed around The TomKat Studio printables, and we get to vote.

Here's a sneak peek of the parties - simply click on the party you like best and leave a comment to enter (US and Australian entrants only):

Leanne from Sweet Style put together a Vintage Surf party. I adore the layered jellies.

 Vesna from My Little Jedi created a Vintage Ballerina party. I spot glorious tutu du monde dresses!

Suzanna from Mon Tresor designed this Little Red Wagon party. Yum. Toffee apples.

Daisy from Leo & Bella wowed with this pink and grey Chevron Stripe Bridal Shower. So polished.

Leoni from Just Call Me Martha created an Owl Themed Baby Shower. Must check out the doily gift tags.

Belinda from Styled By Belle designed this sweet Flower Garden Party. Those cake slices look amazing!

Lilian from Lily Chic Events created this Blue Giraffe Party. So classy.

Louisa from Little Big Company put together this Vintage French Patisserie Party. The yellow cruiser is a cute touch.

What a great way to showcase some of the talent we have here in Australia. Congratulations ladies on beautiful work - everyone wins in my book with all this creativity on display. Head over to The Tomkat Studios to vote for your favourite.

14 September 2012

Stylish Kids: Udder

Four years ago I introduced you to the cool-as-cucumber handmade toys of exceptional quality made by Fliss Dodd from Udder. Time has flown and in-between I met Fliss at a market and then bumped into her serendipitously at the movies and at a wood festival at Buderim; and then Fliss and family headed off to Bali to live the good life. Now Udder is back and as well as the handmade softies, Fliss has just launched a cool-as-cucumber collection of children's clothing up to size 8 that is rocking the world. Let's have a look at the Udder Make Believe collection...

Udder's first collection is full of fun, stylish clothes that are comfortable to play in. The triangle skirt is a stand-out and I want one adult-size asap. And those Oki shorts have the perfect cut for a little girl who doesn't like to stray far from skirts. And I bet you didn't even notice - no pink! Just sweet green, yellow, teal and grey for your little hipsters.

Congratulations Fliss on yet more exception products and hope your first season goes gangbusters.

You can find Udder children's clothes, accessories and handmade friends in the online store and select stockists.

Images: Udder

13 September 2012

Our Big Girl's Spring Ice Cream 5th Birthday Party

Well you know that birthday parties are big news around here, and my daughter has been planning her 5th birthday party for at least 6 months. She wanted to make sure that everyone could wear "whatever they want" and that there would be lots of ice cream and games and goodie bags. We put together a casually-styled, low-budget party, with lots of DIY, seasonal fruit and garden flowers. These are some pics from our big girl's Spring ice cream party!

Party: Spring ice cream 5th birthday party
Organised bySteph Bond-Hutkin (that's me!)
Location: Sydney, NSW
Theme: Casual, budget-friendly, pretty ice cream party

11 September 2012

the red thread 50% off artworks online garage sale

My talented friend Lisa of the red thread is hosting a once-only online garage sale with her back catalogue of artworks available for at least 50% off!

Head over to the red thread garage sale pop up shop to grab yourself some great artwork at a bargain, including SushiBird Tiles, vintage Heart Boxes, vintage Storybook Tiles. Gorgeous for kids' rooms.

Hurry - this is the last of Lisa's artworks and most are one-off designs. They won't last long, and won't be released again. Happy shopping!

Image: the red thread

10 September 2012

Megan Morton's The School craft workshops coming to Brisbane and Melbourne

If you've been hearing all about uber-stylist (and fellow QLDer) Megan Morton's The School craft workshops in Sydney, then brace yourselves for a mini-tour of Brisbane and Melbourne! The Brisbane workshops will be held at Black & Spiro (why of course!) and the Melbourne workshops will be held at Glen Proebstel's usually trade-only The Establishment Studios and Prop.d Prop House. How cool.

Head over to the The School website for more details and booking info.{read here on Bondville for more information on The School}

Images: The School

Pinterest Pro - little old me

I can't tell you how excited I was to be featured on Ez Pudewa's excellent Creature Comforts blog as a Pinterest Pro. {insert happy dance here}. Ez has been putting together a great series of interesting Pinterest users to follow that is definitely worth checking out. Thank you Ez! And a special thank you to Lisa for the nomination!

Image: Creature Comforts

7 September 2012

It's party time

Hi everyone, wishing you a wonderful weekend. It's party time here at Bondville HQ with my big girl's 5th birthday and my Dad's 70th birthday. My sister is visiting from the US and we are all together to do some celebrating. The fun has already started with my big girl's birthday day at preschool today. The girls made these cute mini cupcakes for all the preschool kids (with a little help from me, but not much!) and we're gearing up for a seafood feast tomorrow. I'll be back early next week with news from the party. Steph x

Image: Steph Bond-Hutkin | Bondville

6 September 2012

How To Pin Like A Pro - a Pinterest guide for small businesses

I've written a few articles over the last few months about using Pinterest. One for eBay's Mum's Business website, one that I offered as a download for small businesses (who have had the heads up for a couple of months) and a tip sheet that I added to the Sydney abcd meet-up last month. I thought it was only fair that I should share some tips with you too!

This is a short version of my Top 10 Tips For Small Businesses to get the most out of Pinterest. My emphasis is on keeping true to yourself, and remembering that it's less about promoting your products (although this is important too), and more about using the platform to get to know other like-minded people and possibly form special connections that might be impossible otherwise.

I could literally talk for hours about Pinterest and I'm happy to continue the conversation in the comments below. I am particularly interested in how you are using Pinterest, and what you are gaining from it. Please share!

Pin what you love
Your boards represent your personal brand. Imagine that a talent scout is following you; what would you pin to truly represent your aesthetics?

Pin your products and other products too
Your followers will feel as though they are being marketed to if they are only presented with your products.

Use thoughtful descriptions
Increase the chances of your pins being found through Pinterest Search, by creating useful descriptions with keywords, hash tags and searchable terms.

Categorise your boards
Make sure that all your boards are categorised so that the pins on each board appear in Pinterest's overall category pages.

Like your own products
Use pinterest.com/source/yourwebsite address/ to find pins from your website. You can thank the pinner by commenting, “liking” and re-pinning to your own boards.

Follow users you respect
Write thoughtful, value-added comments, and possibly form an authentic connection with industry leaders, media and bloggers and people you admire.

Use Pin Etiquette
Lead by example. Use your brand name (and link to your website) and credit the photographer.

Keep It Nice
Your reputation is created from every interaction, including the images you pin, or re-pin, and the comments that you make. Keep those comments positive and value-added.

Share your Pins
Make your Pinterest boards work hard for you by sharing your Pinterest URL with your clients, on your website, your email signature, and your newsletters.

Actively engage with your clients
Reinforce your brand and engage with clients by following their boards. Comment on their pins where appropriate, and use the @username feature to share pins of interest with them directly.

Let your clients, friends, contacts and online buddies know you care, and there's a good chance you could deepen your relationships (and that's a good thing).

P.S. Come and follow me over on Pinterest, and let me know so I can follow you too :)

by Steph Bond-Hutkin | Bondville
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