Kids

Pay It Forward – Jack and Evelyn

I am rather excited about another fabulous chapter in my “Pay It Forward” series for 2015; this month I discover the wonderful world of “Jack and Evelyn”.

Jack and Evelyn was created last year due to a gap in the Australian market for classically designed baby and kids products.

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Toy of the month – May 2015

HUGE apologies firstly in the tardiness of this post, it was of course meant to be up in time for May which has of course been and gone, but with all the illness in the household and moving house, I just didn’t get a chance to blog about it.

Being a parent as we all know isn’t always easy (see above!). We want to be the best we can be for our children, so that they have  good guidance to follow in life and someone to respect. Not only that, someone they can talk to about everything and anything and not feel judged whilst doing so.

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Reflections

Hello my lovely readers,

HUGE apologies I haven’t blogged in a few weeks. It has been so utterly crazy here in the KGT household mainly due to us all being sick, one after the other and then twice over that I have had no time to do well much at all, accept take care of the family! I remember thinking when our eldest used to get sick all the time as a baby, wow, they don’t tell you that in books!! They don’t tell you how often children get sick and that you and your husband will more than likely catch the illness too and pass it around and then usually your child then gets a 2nd illness and it starts over again. So that has been us for the past 3 weeks with cold, coughs, croup, colds, croup and coughs. On top of that I have been  organising a belated 3rd birthday party for Hudson because somewhere before we fell sick, I thought that would be a good idea, 2 weeks after moving to our new place!

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Pay It Forward 2015 – Chykaboo

I love this time of the month as it when I get to be inspired by wonderful handmade fabulousness through my “Pay it Forward” initiative. This month is the utterly gorgeous Chykaboo. A stunning baby and kids decor brand based in the UK.  Since I first saw the name “Chykaboo” I have been intrigued by it and I have wanted to discover more about its maker, Louise, her story and divine products.

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The Offbits

As you know from reading this blog, I adore Kickstarter and crowd funding sites that help to provide financial support as well as a strong community to help people realise their dreams.

I am also always intrigued and fascinated by new toys and new concepts, one such company doing just that are “The Offbits”, a super cool open source toy in the form of robots! Based out of Tel Aviv, this is their second Kickstarter campaign aimed at making their little robot creations more accessible to all.

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Superhero Party time!

It was J’s 6th Birthday last week and he of course wanted a party and this year it was “Superheroes”! After receiving the directive (ahem) from my nearly 6 year old, I of course had a lot of fun pinning the many many Superhero parties that are on Pinterest, to get some inspiration and ideas for the party.

I decided on colour combination of yellow, blue, red, white, and black and below are some of the party preparations. I was fortunate enough to have the always brilliant Jacinta from Two Little Ducklings design our invitations, water bottle labels and Superhero completion certificate/thank you card. I asked her to model it from Captain + Co’s bat mask. They looked fantastic!

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Toy of the month – April 2015

It has been a hectic month here in the KGT household with townhouse renovations, Master J’s 6th birthday and his Superhero party which went off with a Kapow, Bang and Zoom (photos to follow)!!

But in the midst of it all, I received a fabulous package of Darwin and Penn Kompakt cameras which I ordered in their sale last month. I had completely forgotten I had ordered them ( does this happen to anyone else?) and squealed when I opened up the package.

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Mister. I

I have to say when I opened up the package from Mister.I, I gasped, quite literally, at how beautiful the 2 pieces of clothing were that I was looking at. The prints were utterly divine and the fabric super soft. They took my breath away. I had not seen kids clothing so stunning before.

As such I was in a bit of a fix, as I knew that my photos couldn’t do this beautiful clothing line the justice it deserved. I am still learning with my photography but these clothes needed a master! So I enlisted a photographer friend of mine to take over and weave her magic. I have to say my darling Sina from Petite Etoile certainly did that!

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The boy’s room tour

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I thought I would do a little room tour of the boy’s room before we end up changing it all with our move to our little townhouse. I wanted it blogged for posterity and also as an archive to look back on in case I replicate a few things which I will likely do.

Their room is super tiny and they share it. I haven’t added in photos of the bunk beds yet as they need a respray back to white but they will be up soon. Stay tuned…

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Pay It Forward 2015- Cream Empire

Today I am so excited and honoured to bring you the first in my “Pay it Forward” 2015 initiative and to let you know more about the divine kids linen and decor range from Cream Empire!

I have been following Cream Empire for quite a while now on my Instagram account and I adored Carolina’s monochrome bedding as soon as I laid eyes on it. It is so refreshing, so modern yet utterly classic. I would love to buy each and every piece as each design is so appealing and it is easy to mix and match with other kids linen and decor.

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Born and raised in Melbourne, arguably Australia’s fashion capital, you can see that the city and its style has certainly influenced Carolina’s designs. I read recently that Melbourne woman only wear black, I am not sure that is exactly true, but black and white at least is definitely Carolina’s colour of choice.

Having only been in business less than a year, with a science degree already under her belt and fluent in Spanish, Carolina is one clever, talented and brainy mama with an eye for design and a head for business. Cream Empire has gone from strength to strength in such a short space of time and Carolina has branched out to designing and making cushions, pillowcases and cot/stroller blankets on top of  her cot sheets & duvet/quilt covers. All of which are made from 100% cotton.

You can choose from custom designs like batman, clouds, hot air balloons, grid, icecreams and stripes for cot bedding or even bassinets and then mix and match it with fun pillowcases that Carolina has designed herself like Wonderwoman and Batman. She has created so many gorgeous designs in a timeless style that they can go with more Cream Empire decor, or other children’s bed linen you may already own. It is fantastically versatile and it won’t date especially if you need it for baby no 2 or 3!

With her signature style in monochrome, Carolina has recently added pops of colour, but her heart lies with black and white and in particular designing and creating cushions.

I am so thrilled to have been able to get to know a little more about Carolina, her brand, and her motivation to start this business.

Meet the Maker: Carolina Leyton and baby Javier

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1. You design and create some seriously gorgeous nursery linen which all began because you couldn’t find linen for your own son’s nursery. How did you go about sourcing your own fabric in Australia and creating your own designs from scratch? Is your background in design or textiles? Have you always loved to sew?

When I first started my brand cream empire, I used fabrics from fabrics stores but I found this to be very limiting as I could never find exactly what I was looking for. I decided after much research and many bumps in the road that I had to start designing my own fabrics. I’ve always had a passion for designing and graphic design. Before cream empire was made I wanted to start a prints and wedding invitation brand as I had so much fun designing and making our wedding invites. This idea didn’t flourish as I was too busy in my ‘real’ job at that time as a research scientist and finishing my masters in science. When my little man was born and I was home, I thought this was the time to start off my dream of a small business. 

To help me designing, I have completed an art and graphic design short course and will continue to take up new courses in this area as I love learning new things. I’m even considering going back to uni… Ahhh!! 

Since a little girl I loved making things, my grandma taught me how to sew and knit. I never thought that this skill would help be in the future.

It was such a challenge finding fabrics to print on in Australia that I had to source fabric overseas. After endless emails with fabric wholesalers I found a printing company that could do what I was looking for. In June 2014 I launched my own designed products and launched my new and improved range.  

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2. What is the process around the design for your fabrics? Where do you find inspiration for the each new design?

My inspiration for each design comes from my love of fashion, beautiful things and my everyday life. Of course my little man is a huge part of my inspiration as well.

 

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3. As a mother of a young baby, it seems a crazy idea to start up a new business whilst looking after a new born but so many mothers do it and make a huge success out of it, like yourself. How do you find the work/life balance of taking care of your son and starting up a new business? And all those sleepless nights? Would you have ever imagined doing this before having kids?

It’s hard, it’s very challenging but I would not have it any other way. When my son was younger it was easier to sew in between his naps but now it harder as he is a toddler and sleeps less. Due to this, I had to hire a helping hand as I was finding it very difficult to balance the workload. Now it’s perfect and feeling like this is what I am meant to be doing. 

4. Being a handmade local business based in Melbourne and a one woman show, how hard did you find it to ask for help recently? Do you think as woman and mother’s we don’t ask for enough help?

We definitely do not ask for help. This is such a terrible thing. So many mothers out there including myself always think we can do it all, but really we can’t. It’s such a hard thing to ask for that extra helping hand, I don’t know why but it must be in our genes. To able to recognize that we need help is such a big step.

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5. As a new business you started out creating monochrome designs and you have now added colourful prints like your cloud and gelato linen, what are your customer’s favourite?  What are yours?

I  think I will always be a monochrome style type of brand. I love black and white in home decor. My customer’s favs are definitely the grid. This would have to be my favourite as well.

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6. You have created some gorgeous new designs recently including my beloved grid design, what plans are afoot for 2015 for Cream Empire? Where do you see the baby/kids linen industry heading as there are new players start up?

There are definitely many more competitors out there now than when I started. I find this to be very motivating for me.  It’s fantastic that there are so any creative talented mummas out there!

For my brand, we have many more new things on the cards, I can’t wait to share what we have coming. We have our new A/W15 collection that will be launched soon. I’m so excited!

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With new designs and plans to add single bed linen to her range soon (yes!), Cream Empire is an exciting, refreshing and modern brand that oozes quality and just the right amount of style for your children’s room. I am loving all her designs and I cannot wait to see what else is in store for this gorgeous kids linen company this year! Check them out here.

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Pay It Forward 2015

One of the things that I love to do in life is to give; I love giving little presents and cards, the joy that it brings the receiver, lights up my world. It is just something I have always loved doing and one reason I started this blog as I adore researching and buying gifts and making cards for friends and family.

This year I was touched by the “Pay it Forward” initiative that has taken off on social media over the start of the new year, a movement to encourage and inspire acts of kindness. There is so much bad news in the world, every day, even more so of late, that it is nice to see the real spirit of humanity, and that is essentially one of kindness and hope.

It inspired me and made me think, how can I help someone else, to brighten their day, or to give them something that might help them out in their life.

Now I am not a maker, nor am I creator, so I couldn’t make something to give to people, well apart from a hand written card. So I thought hard about what it is that I do, (my husband questions this most days with me!) and I thought that I could write up a feature on a new shop, kids designer, crafter or artist and get their brand and designs out there through my blog. Give them exposure across my blog and media channels that will help them to boost their brand.  I thought that could be my way to “Pay it forward” in 2015.

I then posted this idea up on my Instagram account in January after being inspired by the fabulous Captain & Co and others I had seen on Instagram and Facebook. I thought about how many features I could write this year on top of my current work schedule and felt that I could manage 5 brands, writing about them twice over the course of the year. I felt bad only picking 5 once I had responses back, so I added in a 6th brand who had also been quick to respond to my post.

The 6 kids brands that I am so excited to write about this year are:

1. Cream Empire – stylish nursery and kids bedding and soft furnishings. Designed and made in Australia.

2.  Canterbury Kids – a fab bricks and mortar children’s clothing boutique stocking Minti, Scotch & Soda, Bebe, Wilson and Frenchy and more. Based in Victoria, Australia.

3. Bowe Baby – produces practical and thoughtfully designed baby items like car seat shades with nappy holder,  stroller covers as well as nursing covers and blankets that will “make parenting simple”. All designed and made in the USA.

4. Schooza –  hugely fun kids dress up and costumes for all occasions.  Designed and made in Australia.

5. Chykaboo – gorgeous baby blankets organic teething rings, softies and prints. Designed and made in the UK.

6. Jack and Evelyn – produces classically designed kids products such as toy boxes, poncho towels and baby bibs. Designed in Australia.

The first feature on Cream Empire will be featured later this week, so stay tuned!

Image courtesy of Captain and Co.

Zilvi – Kid’s Interior Decor Designer

I am always in awe of the makers that I “meet” on Instagram. Each day I am continually blown away by these creative talents; their divine handiwork and unique handmade gorgeousness.

One lady I have been utterly blown away with over the past 8 months has been Nicole from Zilvi, a kid’s interior decor design company based in Queensland, Australia. Her business acumen, creative talent and sheer and utter determination and motivation to make her business a success, is stuff many people only dream about.

Nicole is a rare breed, she is so completely beautiful (both inside and out) and not only creates gorgeous interior products but she gives back as well; starting her “Help Mama out” campaign, where money raised from the individual product goes to the family in question she is helping.

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Nicole designs and creates using wood, acrylic and fabric making unique, individual and never seen before designs. Zilvi quite literally blew Instagram out of the water. She only uses Instagram as her marketing tool and she is one of those Instagram success stories you hear about.

In 8 months she has gone from 0 to 30k+ followers and 10 weeks into starting Zilvi, she quit her daytime job as a Manager of an wedding and corporate events venue to concentrate on Zilvi, full time. That is a phenomenal achievement in this day and age and shows the power of social media. However, given the millions of accounts on Instagram selling their wares each and every day, it shows that her designs have found a niche and truly speak to her target audience, which are other design led parents.

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In the past, I have looked at these amazing successful Instagram businesses and thought, “wow”, how lucky are they to be so successful and for it all to happen so quickly! However, many of these talented mothers have had high flying corporate roles pre-baby in design, styling or events and have found that after giving birth, that their former life and career no longer suits their new life as a mama. Motherhood gives them the push they need to pursue the creative talent in new found ventures.

I have to say I think Nicole might be one of the hardest working creative talents I have ever “met”. Constantly creating new designs, working until the wee hours of the morning and so professional in both presentation and delivery. Nicole is continually evolving and adapting to ensure she is at the forefront of the designs she has created.  Launching a product range directed solely toward children, Nicole is expanding her brand in March and releasing three new collections, Nursery, Kids & Home. I am sure they will all be a huge success and I cannot wait to see them as whatever she touches turns to gold!

We have been building up an arsenal of Zilvi products in our household as I adore Nicole’s products and cannot get enough of her creations. Our first Zilvi design was a gift to the boys papa for Father’s Day last year which he adored.  I have also sent her wooden name plaques as gifts for children’s birthdays and they make the perfect unique gift idea.

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 Above: Zilvi Dad flag “My Dad is a Superhero”.

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Above: Zilvi “Fringe Dreamer “

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 Above: Boys room with feather garland and dad flag

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Above: Zilvi “large feather garland”

In the meantime I have been lucky enough to track down Nicole who survives off only 5 hours of sleep each day to ask her more about her new life as a fabulous mumpreneur:

Meet the Maker : Nicole from Zilvi

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  1. You have had such phenomenal support from the IG community to the extent that you have taken the courageous step of quitting your day job and making Zilvi a full time job! How does that feel? Are you pinching yourself each day?

To be honest I haven’t had time to really take a moment and reflect on what I have achieved so far and to soak in the fact that I am finally living my dream of working for myself while being a Mum at home with Felix, it’s been increasingly busy from day one, which I am absolutely grateful for.

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  1. For most people it can take years to run a successful business but you have hit the ground running in a matter of weeks, why do you think people have taken to Zilvi so much?

When I first launched Zilvi, my products were unique within the small community of Instagram (as this is the only place I market my brand) as there wasn’t yet my style of work available. I shared with them my goal of one day making Zilvi my full time job, this resonated with so many Mums as they too shared this dream. I think while my followers not only enjoyed my products, they enjoyed sharing in my journey to reach my goal and within 10 weeks of launching, I was able to take a risk leaving a well-paying job to work on my brand full time. My journey has given many others hope that they too can achieve it, that it is possible, and that for me is just so rewarding in itself.

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  1. One of the things that struck me early on following you on Instagram, is that although you have become hugely successful, you also want to give back to the community and help make a difference to another family’s life. What inspired you to start “Help a Mama out with Zilvi”? Where do you see this going in the future?   

After two incidents within 12 months of each other, one where I almost lost my life giving birth to Felix and another where I watched my employee almost lose his life through an accident involving fire; I quickly began appreciating just how precious life is. I felt incredibly grateful to be in good health and have all of the basic requirements to get by in life. Many don’t have their health or the basics, and so I wanted to give back while I am fully capable to do so and have no reason not to. And so came #helpamamaoutwithzilvi with my first project raising around $5500 for a young Father with brain cancer (#afeatherforbrad). I hope to launch my second project in the coming months and continue this regularly as an important part of Zilvi.

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  1. As a mother of a small baby, how do you manage taking care of Felix and balancing life as a mum alongside life as a “mumpreneur”?

We have a strict routine which has a healthy balance of work time and Mum time. My studio is baby proof so it is as much his space as my own. I never put my work before him. He is my priority, so if he is having an off day, we are out of the studio and my work simply has to wait. I do a lot of my work when he is in bed of a night time.

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  1. I am a big believer in dreams and it has taken me 19 years to realise my dream of becoming a writer (ahem ok well a blogger), did you ever imagine Zilvi would be your big dream, and how would you inspire others to take the plunge to realise their own dreams? Any tips from a talented mumpreneur on how to run a successful business?

I am still in disbelief. Every day seems surreal. I’m not sure it will ever sink in. I have received countless emails from Mums wanting to take the plunge or from those who have, and would like to grow their business, and each asks me to share what I have done. I can never really put into simple words what I have done. I haven’t followed a ‘plan’; however I do have experience in business and marketing so this may have been of benefit.

In regards to taking the plunge in the first place, the absolute most important point is to first have the support of your partner. So many of my friends who run insta businesses don’t have this as their partners work full time and don’t take the Mama’s idea seriously. This then adds pressure and stress to you as someone starting a new business and follows through to your relationship. So discuss this first with him and both have a solid understanding of the risk you are going to take. Tell him exactly what you want to do, where you see it heading and how you will fit it into your current life as a Mum, partner and now business owner.

The best advice I can give to anyone jumping into the world of Instagram with a small business is to be original. And be yourself. Create your own profile, don’t see someone who is successful and attempt to put their personality into your brand, you can’t maintain something that isn’t you. Provide your followers with unique products. Gain inspiration from others for current trends etc and be inspired to create your own original work.

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Wise words from a Mama in the know and who is on a meteoric rapid rise in the kids interiors world! With this Mama’s work ethic, passion and dedication, I predict world domination soon…watch this space.

To see more of Zilvi’s beautiful creations and her three new collections, Nursery, Kids & Home, coming this month, check out her website here. Be warned, you will fall truly and utterly in love with each piece!

Disclosure: I have not received any gift or payment for this feature.

All photos have been reproduced with permission from Zilvi.

 

Guest Curator – Handmade Cooperative

This last week I was so honoured and excited to be a guest curator for a fabulous  website that focuses on the best of handmade gorgeousness from around Australia, the Handmade Cooperative.

Click here to see the hand picked selection of kids toys I choose from their talented artisans with the theme based around “Learning through Play”.

Thanks so much again for having me!

 

 

Pop Kids USA

Pop Kids USA is a fantastic and super fun brand of kid’s tees that is designed and produced in Chicago. When looking for t-shirts for my boys, I am always after clothes that are fun, hard wearing, and something that reflects my kids’ awesome characters. It was with much pleasure and delight therefore to receive a package of goodies from Pop Kids USA this month to test and review as their t-shirts fit my criteria perfectly.

Pop Kids USA is a year old however, Ellen and her husband Luke have been in the kids fashion business for well over 10 years and with influences like vintage graphics and signs, kids’ books, pop culture and typography; their t-shirts are uniquely designed to stand out from the crowd with designs like “The Wild One”, “Road Rebel” and “Bugs and Slugs”.

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know I love supporting handmade and small businesses and adore when a company designs and creates things in house. It is so hard to design a gorgeous product and even harder to work out where to get it manufactured; using fair trade resources in India, Indonesia or China or locating production somewhere in your own country.

Pop Kids USA are very much American and true to their name, every sweatshop free American Apparel tees is pressed by a local printer by hand which is dedication to the cause. Even more so as either Ellen and Luke are there to watch and check on the printing every step of the way.

Ellen and Luke design t-shirts seasonally, but as they are sometimes inspired by street art or a vintage sign they see, they may design just on a whim! Growing up with a love of drawing, painting and art, they have both been able to develop and evolve that love of all things visual; into creating brilliant designs for their t-shirt line. I love this true artistic aspect to their operation and the fact that they are inspired by lots of things I adore, like vintage graphics and the like. It definitely shows in their collection.

I have to say we have had a lot of fun with our tees from Pop Kids USA. We took the kids to the skate park where they could have a go on their scooters and skateboards. Needless to say they had a ball! And the t-shirts stood up to the test of skating and scooting to perfection. They have become our go to t-shirts as the kids love how soft they are against their skin and their fun designs.

Disclosure: In order to review the t-shirts,  we received a complimentary selection of them to test.

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Australian kids labels – ones to watch 2015

I have to say 2015 is looking like a hugely successful year for so many young Australian kids brands. It was so hard picking just a handful so here is my selection of 12 to watch this year. Some are already established and some just starting out but I predict HUGE things for all of them in 2015! Watch this space…

Australian kids labels – ones to watch 2015

Clockwise L-R:

One Two Nine “Quilt 1”

Paul and Paula “Go Bananas” tee

Inkibabinki  “Grid bloomers”

Mint Rhapsody “Milky Attic House”

Mum life project – soon to be released project supporting mums

Miss Pigeon Productions – crochet sweets

Maven Dolls “Maven Elsie”

The Hook Co “Wall hooks”

Captain + Co “Gone Batty Bunting”

Smallest Tribe “Spearminty dance party girls skirt”

Little Red Elk “Bunny wall hook”

Babee and Me “Handpainted memory game backyard animals”

Creatures and Features

Sometimes I get completely blown away by a new product and this is one of those products! From the time I set my eyes on “Creatures and Features“, I knew I had to  try it out and review one!

Creating your own creature on a t-shirt by iron on pictures is such a fantastic idea and I knew my eldest son Jasper, my little artist, would love creating his very own customised creature t-shirt.

Gorgeously packaged, the tee arrives inside a cardboard carry bag with the tee, instructions and iron on features all included in a cute little packet. The designs and the quality of the tee is just fantastic.

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creatures and features 2After unpacking and washing the tee as per instructions; a day later we got to work on creating our creature by cutting out each part. We made a few different designs before we decided on the final creature.

Included in each pack are both girl and boy features and there are more than enough features available for the tee. So much so, they will soon be selling blank t-shirt’s so that you can create creatures for other siblings.

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We had so much fun creating our little creature and it was a fab afternoon activity that both boys enjoyed helping to create. The iron on features really come to life once you have ironed them on and slowly peeled them off once they have cooled. My boys clapped and squealed in awe after the creature had been revealed.

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Creatures and Features is a sister company to Neve and Hawk who are a brilliant US based clothing company that caught my eye last year not only due to their beautiful yet comfortable clothing range but in part to their philanthropic ways; they donate money towards arts in public schools in America. But back to that part later on.

Creatures and Features was created because their darling daughter Neve loves to draw “fashion” when owner Kris is working. That gave them the idea to find a way for her to create her own fashion masterpiece and thus Creatures and Features came to life!

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With their motto “Fight for Creativity” they have helped to combine their love of fashion and support of the arts in one amazingly designed product. Each t-shirt allows the child to become their own artist.

All the tees and features are hand drawn by Kris’s husband, Bob.  He then takes those drawings and makes them into graphics and iron ons. Creatures and Features is proudly designed and made in the US, it took over a year for them to source a local iron-on company with the outstanding quality they desired.

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With so many plans for a young vibrant company, I can see so much in store for their future. But more importantly, I adore what this company is about and giving back to the community and being socially responsible, this is a company with a huge future ahead. I believe arts whether it is drama, drawing, dance, painting, or writing, deserves more recognition, especially for our kids and the youth of today. Art allows them to express themselves and provides them with a creative outlet to focus their energies. Without art in the world, it would be a very depressing place. As such a company that sees the importance of art and creativity for our children, is a company that is thinking about our children’s future. And that is just what Creatures and Features is doing!

GIVEAWAY: for your chance to win one of these fantastic t-shirts and create your own creature, comment below.

Disclosure: We received the t-shirt as a gift in order to review this product.

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Starting School – Lunch Boxes

As we prepare for the start of school next week, I have finally completed some well needed research into lunch boxes. After making lunches and snacks for J last term at pre-school ( in Germany, kids receive a warm lunch as part of the cost), I have to admit at the end of term I was over having to clean up 4-5 Tupperware containers everyday ( not helped by no dishwasher in our new cottage – the kitchen is so small, ours doesn’t fit!).

I also wanted to try to be “rubbish free” for all of his lunches going forward, which many schools in Australia now request. Alongside the Tupperware I had been using ziplock bags for some of his food.   I therefore resolved as part of starting school to look into the Bento style lunchboxes that have been around for a few years.

J usually has a sandwich, yoghurt, fruit and either crackers and hummus or cheese and salami or some popcorn, so with the many compartments, the bento should work perfectly for him.

So here is my selection of Bento Style lunch boxes:

 

Starting School – Lunchboxes FINAL81. Go Green Lunch bag – It has 5 compartments with one of those you can use for the water bottle. So there are 4 compartments for food if you put the water bottle inside which you would as it fits perfectly. Using “turn ‘n lock” technology on the lid, it ensures food stays fresh with silicone bands around each compartment to ensure a secure leak-proof seal for all 5 sections.  It is dishwasher friendly and it comes with a water bottle included in the price. For an additional $20 you can buy an insulated lunch bag and cooler pack as well which makes it a great buy. The lunch bag comes with a white board for messages and a pocket for utensils and if you buy the additional cooler bag, they have a huge amount of designs on offer to suit any kid.

It is BPA free and measures 30 x 19 x 6.5cm.

RRP A$39.95.

Capacity = 2000 ml

2. Shikiri Bento Lunch box –  It is dishwasher  and microwave safe. It has 6 compartments with 3 movable elements: a horizontal separator, and two 3-compartment inner dividers or cups that fit nicely.  It has a silicone rim lid to keep in freshness.

It is BPA-free and measures 20 × 16.5 × 5.5 cm.

Capacity = 870 ml

RRP A$25.00.

3. Sistema Triple Split and Go – You get 3 compartments and an additional yoghurt pot for the price which is great value.  It is freezer, dishwasher and microwave safe. It features 2 snap-on lids on one side for air-tight freshness but it is not leak proof.

It is BPA free and measures 25 x 22 x 8cm.

RRP A$7.99.

Capacity = 2000 ml

4. Goodbyn Hero –  It is dishwasher safe and has 3 separate compartments. It comes with 2 additional leak proof pots for yoghurt or dips, and comes in 4 different colours – pink, blue, green and red.

It is BPA free and measures 27.2 x 17.8  x 7 cm.

RRP A$24.95.

Capacity = 1745 ml plus the additional dip pots are 177ml, total capacity = 2099 ml.

5. Lunchbots Bento Cinco stainless steel lunch box –  this is the largest of the range  (they have 5 other amazing designs and thermos containers too ) with 5 compartments – 2 large and 3 small. The 2 larger compartments would fit sandwiches, wraps, muffins, rice, salad and more. The smaller are perfect for snacks. It is not leak proof so you would need to put yoghurts or dips in a container ( sold separately).

Made of 18/8 stainless steel, it is easy-to-clean, and virtually unbreakable. It is dishwasher safe.

It is BPA free and measures 20.3 x 15.2 x 4.45cm.

RRP $34.95.

Capacity = 960 ml

6. EasyLunchboxes –  billed as the no 1 lunchbox sold on US Amazon, you get 4 lunchboxes for 1 price, so for value for money, this is the best buy out of all of them. Plus they can nest in each other for easy storage. It is safe to use in the refrigerator, microwave, dishwasher, and freezer but the containers are airtight not leak proof.  It comes in 4 colours – blue, green, orange and red.

It is BPA free and measures 23.82 x 15.49 x 5cm.

RRP A$30.00.

Capacity = 937.5 ml

7. Yumbox Panino – it is dishwasher safe, leak proof and is the newest Yumbox to hit the market catering for a sandwich area and 3 additional compartments, so 4 in total. Yumbox is designed to hold wet foods but not liquids (water). It is available in pink, red or blue.

It is BPA free and measures approx 21 x 15 x 5 cm.

RRP A$40.00. 

Capacity = 780 ml

8. Fuel Bento Sectioned Lunch box –  it is dishwasher safe but they recommend handwashing. It has two removable inner containers that can be used separately. One is perfect for salads, wraps or sandwiches and the other is divided into 3 different compartments, with different sizes and shapes.

It is BPA free and measures 26 x 6.5 x 17 cm.

RRP A$22.95.

Capacity = 1300 ml

 

Which one to choose?

All are dishwasher safe although they recommend to hand wash the Fuel Bento to prolong its life.

I don’t want to spend huge sums of money in case he loses it in the playground          ( another to look out for is the Planetbox) although with his name sticker on it, we should get it back.

I also want to get something that is durable and that will last a long time and see him through a few good years at school. His appetite will increase so I need something that will cater for that future requirement, he is a growing boy of course!

My one issue is that my son loves yoghurt and has one for lunch each day. Therefore I need a lunch box which is leak proof or I could remove compartments to put in a container for his yoghurt. The only ones billed as leak proof are the Go Green or the Yumbox.

The Goodbyn Hero comes with additional yoghurt pots although it then takes up the space of one of the compartments, only leaving you with 1 large and 1 small. However, given the Hero has 2099ml in capacity for the entire lunch box and it has the largest capacity of the 8 shown, I think this could be a great option.

You can buy additional pots for the Lunchbots for yoghurt or dips which are leak proof, so again another option which would work. Although they would be separate from the lunch box.

Ultimately when choosing a lunch box, you have to ask yourself what works best for your child? Are they grazers? Do they just eat a sandwich and some fruit? Do you need to cater for ” Crunch and Sip” which seems common now in Australian primary schools and the kids must have a piece of fruit and water. Do they love yoghurt, therefore you need a leak proof lunch box or containers to store it?

Do you want to splash out on an additional insulated lunch bag? Some of the lunch boxes I have shown are extremely large at 30cm long and many standard insulated lunch bags won’t fit them. So you have to buy their branded lunch bag or find one that is suitable. Do you want a water bottle to fit in with the lunch box or to sit inside the insulated lunch bag?

So many questions but only you can answer them. Who knew it would be so hard to decided on a lunch box for a child?

Best online stores in Australia for bento lunchboxes that I found in my research were:

www.limetreekids.com.au

www.littlebentoworld.com

www.trendyliltreats.com.au

www.yumboxlunch.com.au

Since first starting this post, “Trendy Lil Treats” have kindly offered my readers a 20% discount until the 31st January 2015 on all their lunch boxes ( Go Green, Fuel Bento, Goodbyn Hero, and Shikiri Bento lunch box) using code “kidsgiftandtoys”.

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post.

Australian kids labels – ones to watch!

My very first kids fashion and design feature for this blog was about upcoming Australian talent that I had discovered. I wrote the post for Australia Day 2014 which is celebrated on 26th January every year.

I needed to have this post on my new blog as I love and adore these brands and so excited about how far they have all come in the last year. Luckily for me, this was one of the only post I ever had saved in MS Word. After losing my blog last September, now ALL my posts are backed up in Word.

I feel so proud to be Australian when I see how brilliantly these companies are doing, designing, creating and making on the shores of this country. It just goes to show that if we support small business, it can and will go far.

Read on to be blown away by 4 labels which were definitely my Australian “Kids labels to watch” out for in 2014.  They have diversified, grown, developed and become even bigger a year on. They are truly blitzing the kids world at this time!! Huge CONGRATS and well done you inspiring Mumpreneurs!

 

Kapow Kids labelHaving been established for less than a year, KaPow Kids has found itself a loyal  following amongst Australian parents looking for “kool threads for little people”.

KaPow Kids produces a range of clothing and accessories for 0-2 years which includes: gorgeous  dribs (dribble bibs), headbands, onesies, tees, harems, leggings & the cutest little shorts. Focusing on bright  graphic prints & bold designs like super hero masks, ice creams, bats, clouds, lightning, unicorns and more; this is one label for parents who don’t want their child looking like all the others in the playground! With an emphasis on FUN, these designs look amazing but with the added comfort and functionality required for babies and toddlers.

Kapow Kids labelThe label started in 2013 as hobby by comic book lover and architect, Andrea Goulding. Having loved fashion since she was a child, but following her childhood dream of becoming an architect, all that changed when she became a mum to one little superhero boy! Now her focus is on kids fashion and having received well deserved press from around Australia, this fabulous gem of a kids label is certainly one to watch this year.

Kapow Kids products are all unique, handmade & produced in limited editions in her Melbourne studio.

NB: – the onesies are not made in Australia but are customised in Australia.Hidden tiger harems “Meet the Maker” session with Andrea Goulding aka “KaPow Kids”:

What is your favourite “KaPow Kids” product you love seeing being worn on little ones? When I see a photo of someone’s little one wearing a KaPow piece I get so excited!  I love that mums and dads like to share their KaPow photos, makes it a lot of fun. My favourite KaPow design that I like seeing on kids would have to be the appliqued onesies and tees. These were the first things I made so they mean a lot to me.

icecreamsWhere do you see your company in 5 years’ time? My tiny business is growing every week. I get many emails about collaborations and requests from stockists to stock my range.  At the moment I am making wholesale orders for several little Australian boutiques but in 5 years’ time I hope to be able to have stockists worldwide and have a few more people helping me with the business and production side so that I can focus more on designing.

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How are you celebrating Australia day today? At the beach with my family

What was your favourite toy as a child? I hated dolls when I was a little girl. I was a bit of a tomboy. My favourite toy as a child would have to be a yellow singing teddy that my mum bought me. I still have it.

 www.kapowkids.bigcartel.com

 

Beau Hudson header-cloudyEver since she was a little girl selling freshly picked flowers,  baked cookies and self-designed & created magazines in her  street, Sasha Deacon has always had a business head on her.

With 2 boys to style as her inspiration, this kids label started in 2013 and was developed to provide accessories that are stylish & fashion oriented yet super comfortable.

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With the name of her company coming from the middle names of her two young boys, Sasha takes her inspiration to design from the adult fashion world alongside the kid’s street style so prevalent on social media networks like Instagram. However, not wanting to spend huge sums of cash on kitting out her gorgeous kids, Sasha looked to create her own label of cool and on trend accessories and the kids fashion world love it!

Garnering a large social media following, this is one label to look out for and snap it up fast before all those other savvy parents get in!

Beau Hudson is your “go to” place for beanies, bandini’s, bow ties, suspenders, cardigans and bando’s.

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“Meet the Maker” session with Sasha Deacon aka “Beau Hudson”:

What is your favourite “Beau Hudson” product you love seeing being worn on little ones?

I would say our Bandit Beanies! They have been so popular, and when I see a customer post a photo of their child wearing our Beanies, I still have to pinch myself that it’s actually our product! In saying that, anytime I see any of our products on kids, I love it!

Where do you see your company in 5 years’ time?

We have massive plans for the future of Beau Hudson…the sky is the limit in our eyes! There will always be kids being born and parents who love fashion! We’d like to continue to expand our range with cool new products, and be recognised around the world. Our vision is to grow Beau Hudson to a level that we can one day pass down to our boys.

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What do you enjoy most about living in Australia with a family?

I love the weather! In Queensland specifically our winters are mostly sunny and fresh so you can still be out enjoying the parks and even beaches in the winter! We have great theme parks and have year passes so can take the kids anytime! I still feel like a big kid going to them and love that they never get old for my boys!

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What was your favourite toy as a child?

I so badly wanted a Baby Alive doll and finally got one on my 7th birthday!! I thought it was SO cool that you could give it a bottle and it would pee, and give it solid food and it would poop! I loved changing its nappy and making my dad be “grandpa” and babysit it! haha! It was the most like a real baby you could get when you were 7! If only the love for changing nappies carried on until now!

www.beauhudson.co

LLEGS_CMYK_GREYbkgdThis Sydney based label was started in 2013 by Danielle Bailey after the birth of her son Ledger and her inability to find any cool and hip clothes for him that were affordable and most importantly “Made in Australia”.

Specialising in baby and toddler leggings, it was with a little help from her sister who lent her a sewing machine, some inspirational vintage fabrics and positive encouragement from her loving husband, that has enabled her business to grow and gain a loyal customer base.

Leopard-ShortsIn bold, bright patterns, stripes and animal print teamed with basics on top, she has certainly created a go to label for hip & wallet conscious parents. A far cry from her childhood dream of being an archaeologist!

Leggings are $18.00, shorts are $15.00, beanies are $12.00, Pockerchief tees and singlets are $10.00. NB:- the tees and singlets are not handmade “We don’t make the singlets, we just make them cool”.

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“Meet the Maker” session with Danielle Bailey aka “Ledger’s Legs”:

What is your favourite “Ledger’s Legs” product you love seeing being worn on little ones?

I absolutely love seeing little girls in their Ledger’s legs because I found it really hard to find fabrics that I liked but weren’t overly “girly”, and also, I have a little boy, so girls are a little foreign to me! I also just introduced a new range of matching T-shirts and singlets and I love seeing little LL lovers in them!

Where do you see your company in 5 years’ time?

I see 1000’s of smiling Ledger’s Legs customers, a sewing room, designing my own prints, a couple part time mumma’s working with me to help get my hundreds of orders out (a week), and a little sibling chasing Ledger around the house… that is the dream.

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What do you enjoy most about living in Australia with a family?

The weather here is amazing, the people are nice (most of the time), you can buy fresh produce straight from the grower and it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. I love that we are surrounded by water and I can walk down to the beach with my family and go for a swim on a hot summer’s day. I consider myself very lucky to live in such a beautiful and safe place, I wouldn’t live anywhere else 😉

What was your favourite toy as a child?

Humphrey B Bear went with me everywhere!

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2 little ducklingsAfter deciding not to return to the corporate craziness of the design world with the birth of her first daughter, Jacinta Weir created this AHH-mazing stationery and educational toy company in 2012.  which has

As is the case with many mums, Jacinta refocused her design aspirations and her passion for branding and illustrative logos after the birth of her beautiful daughter and created “Two Little Ducklings”.

“Two Little Ducklings” produces stunningly gorgeous personalised birthday invites, greetings card & birth announcement cards. She also creates custom orders for other events you may require. You can also buy custom name charts, ABC, 123 & colour wall charts.

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The products which caught my eye amongst Two Little Ducklings fabulous range were the ABC flash cards. Starting at $8.00 these cards are a great way to start teaching your children all about animals, counting, colours, shapes & their ABC’s.  However, my personal favourite is Jacinta’s new “Australian Animals” flash cards which launches today! Get in fast as these will surely fly off the shelves.

Two Little Ducklings Australian Flash Cards DSC_0040All handmade in Melbourne using FSC certified silk layered premium paper for all products. This is one kids company that is producing some visually beautiful pieces that are must for any nursery or play room!

Two Little Ducklings Range Photo DSC_0249“Meet the Maker” session with Jacinta Weir aka “Two Little Ducklings”:

As you have so many fabulous products, what is your favourite to work on?

By far my favourite things to work on are my Custom Name Charts. I developed these at the beginning of 2013, my cousin had a little girl and I wanted to make her something. There are so many lovely things for children’s rooms that display their name, but I wanted to go further than that, I wanted to educate along with having something beautiful to look at. I haven’t seen anyone else do anything similar to this, so I feel quite proud of these and they seem to get a great response when someone gives one as a present or orders one for their loved one.

Where do you see your company in 5 years’ time?

At the moment my focus for this year is to get some stockists. At the end of last year, I met the lovely Lisa from Room 99 and she stocked some of my Christmas tag range, I had great feedback that they flew out the door, so I’m really hoping other shops take a chance with me and my little business. As for five years, I would love to have my own little shop, where I can stock my own products along with other work at home mums with beautiful handmade products. Doing everything by hand, can be very time consuming, but you can see the love that goes into the products.

Two Little Ducklings Range Photo DSC_0239How are you celebrating Australia day this year?

This year we are celebrating with friends down by the Yarra River. It is one of our friends little boys first birthday, they asked me to design a dinosaur themed invite, with a matching bunting and t-shirt for the little man to where on his big day. Triple J Hottest 100 will be the backdrop to what I can imagine will be a fantastic day. What more could you want: sunshine; great friends; and great music.

What was your favourite toy as a child?

My favourite toy by far was my two Cabbage Patch Dolls (Paul and Fabian), I have just handed them down to Lexi, they were my first babies, I would strap them into the car and pretend to take them for a drive. I absolutely loved them (and still do) although they are in desperate need of some new clothes.

www.twolittleducklings.com.au

Starting School checklist

If you read my last post, you know my eldest son is starting school this year! I am extremely nervous but he is of course so excited he could burst!

I have been busily thinking about what I need to get him so that he is ready for his big day. I love lists and so thought I should get started to make sure I don’t forget anything. Comment below those experienced mothers, if I have forgotten something!

A little “Starting School” checklist:

1. Backpack

2. Lunchbox

3. Water bottle

4. Hat

5. Name labels for clothes and school bag etc

6. Pencils

7. Pencil case

8. Textas

9. Notebooks/exercise books

10. An apple for his teacher

So over the next 2 weeks I will bring you some ideas based around the above checklist for starting school!

Back to the future

It is a very exciting, sad and nervous year for our little household, as our eldest son starts school. I am not quite sure where the last 6 years has gone and how my little baby is suddenly ready for big school! Where does time go when you have children? It seems to go so slowly B.C ( before children), but once you have children, it zooms along at break neck speed and you just want it to slow down, slow right down, so you can enjoy and remember those cherished moments with them.

I want to hold him tight and not let him go and I definitely don’t want him to grow up. But we cannot stop time, and as a parent, we must give them all the right tools to shape them and help them to grow and become their own person. So they can go out in to the world and be the best they can be. Letting them choose the adventure they want to take and supporting them along the way.

School is the start of all the big things that can happen to a person, it can shape them and mold them for the rest of their life.  As I reflect back over the last 6 years of watching him grow from a beautiful happy baby, into a beautiful happy boy, I am looking to his future and wondering what it may hold.

I thought so I could remember this moment, that I would write down what I hope for him and I thought I would share this with you, as you may also have a child who starts school this year or be going through similar emotions whatever age your child  may be:

I hope:

1. I hope that if he gets disappointed because a friend doesn’t want to play with him, that he picks himself up and finds another person to befriend. Seek out happiness if all you can find is sadness.

2. I hope that if someone bullies him because of his hair colour or for another reason, that he turns the other cheek and walks away. Be brave, as tomorrow is a new day.

3. I hope that he will make some amazing friends that he will have for life. Friends can come and go in life but they will always leave an imprint on your soul.

4. I hope that he will grow into a person that can think for himself, stand up for his opinions and rights but not judge others on theirs. We do not need any more judgement in this world.

5. I  hope that he will always find beauty and hope in the world. Because sometimes it can be the only thing that gets you through the day. Search for beauty in all that surrounds you.

6. I hope he will always be the kind natured, loving, beautiful soul that he is now and he will always look out for others in need and treat them with gentleness and love. Strength through kindness.

I had a friend asked me once “What do you want your son to be when he grows up?”, I immediately said whatever he wishes to, whether that be an artist, musician, lawyer, teacher, I didn’t mind as long as he follows his dreams. She argued that you need money in life and it can be hard to get by without it. She was a lawyer and wanted her son to be in a similar profession. Dreams don’t buy houses and food. I had to agree with her there, but that is with my adult head on and with my dreamer head on, I just hope my son finds joy and happiness in life.  Whatever that may be or whoever he may become.

Be brave, be strong and be happy, my little man.

The creative genius that is Laura Blythman

Having already bought a gorgeous pineapple print by talented creative genius Laura Blythman as a gift for a friend and a “Throw glitter in today’s face” for myself, I have completely fallen in love with all of her stunning designs.

Each piece of art is an absolute wonder filled with beauty, colour and light. Each piece has so many intricate details yet they are presented in such whimsical, fun and irreverent fashion that you can’t but smile at each piece. Any of her pieces, would look amazing in any kids room or indeed anywhere in your house!

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Laura is a Melbourne based designer and illustrator whose works have featured across numerous well known Australian brands like Cotton on Kids, La De Dah kids and Lark.

I was very privileged to get to know a little more about the downright amazingly talented artist more about her life and work.

 Meet the Maker series with Laura Blythman:

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Tell us a little about yourself and your amazing career thus far?

After completing a BA in Graphic Design at The Australian Academy of Design, I cut my teeth working in-house at Hallmark Cards Australia, Cristina Re and Typo (Cotton On) before branching out into the freelance world.

Over the years I feel like I’ve designed and illustrated for a pretty diverse range of things: greeting cards, gift packaging, stationery, home office, decor, textiles, apparel, wedding and event stationery, brand identity, blogs, advertising, print collateral and web bits.

There are still A LOT of things on my wish list though. The dream is to create them under my own brand or through awesome collaborations with ace labels that I admire.Bedding, ceramics, soft furnishings, books… dreams.

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What inspires your designs?

This is always a hard question, because it’s actually a pretty unconscious thing. It’s just what I do, images get in my head and stay there for a while until I get them out on paper. Sometimes inspiration comes from colour, nature, music, friends, daydreaming or even just getting out my boxes and trays full of painted paper scraps and making things up as I go!

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All your pieces are filled with such vibrant intense colour, how do you go about creating each piece?

I’m drawn to colour because it just makes me so happy, it never fails to lift my mood. When I’m creating new work I decide on a colour palette first. Always. At present, I can’t get away from neon pink and peach.

Lately my process involves… covering loads of big sheets of beautiful watercolour paper in a variety of delicious colours and copper or gold leaf. Then I cut the sheets up into a million pieces and put them back together again as new artworks. I often add my signature hand drawn and painted detail too.

BLUE-BUNNYWhat was your favourite thing to draw or create as a child?

When I was young I always loved to cut, paste and layer paper and as a teen I would spend days drawing detailed illustrations of my teen idols (think – Eddie Vedder / Kurt Cobain. ha! )… Some of my happiest childhood memories revolve around the art and craft supplies I received as presents every birthday and christmas.

In my early 20′s while studying, I worked in Art supplies stores which really opened my eyes to other ways to be creative other than draw with a pencil. So I guess in some form or another I’ve always been doing exactly what I still do now. Drawing, cutting + pasting, creating, making things.

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What aspirations do you have for the future and what would be your dream project?

I’m secretly working on a job that has been on my list of dream opportunities and I can’t wait to be able to talk about that!  Another big dream of mine is to work on a collaborative range for an awesome local or international fashion or home ware’s label!  I also have so, so many very clever and creative friends who I’m hoping to collaborate with soon too.

Other than that I’m really focused on creating more art, exhibiting more and releasing more products.  I love what I do and I feel like I am on a good path, I just have to keep going, keep saying yes to amazing opportunities and trust my instincts.

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I love what you do as well Laura and so do so many others around the world. I cannot wait to see more from Laura in 2015.  This interview was from last year but excerpts were recovered from drafts on my old blog. 

If you love any of Laura’ prints, you can also find them on t-shirts, totes, pillowcases and vests at Club of Odd Volumes.

To check out more of her prints

All photos have been reproduced with the written permission of Laura Blythman.

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The Finders Keepers market – Sydney, December 2014

On a Friday night in early December I finally made it to my first  “The Finders Keepers” market! So many amazing Australian labels have found success at these markets that I was seriously excited to pay my $2 and explore the many stalls on offer at the brilliant Redfern Technology park in Sydney.

IMG_0210Natalie Miller Macrame workshop in full swing:

IMG_0214Below are some of my fave discoveries from the evening:

The Feather Tribe – a unique artist collective curated by the most gorgeous Jess and with some of my favourites already being stocked like Made by Mosey, Felt Foxes, this is one amazing shop to keep your eyes peeled to!    IMG_0218

IMG_0220Park Dasom – the sweetest of hand embroidered brooches and dolls.

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Beneath the Sun – for bright, fun and colourful kids decor, this is one brand that I adored!

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Freddy Alphabet – I was so excited to finally meet Selina from Freddy Alphabet and this Finders Keepers, they debuted a new design – the Superhero tee!

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Julie’s Little People – cute handmade little creatures all with their own name, character and style!

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   The Raisin Did it – I ran out of battery on both my phone and camera by the end of the markets but this label had some gorgeous designs with the cutest of pineapples and lions!

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The Smallest Tribe – a gorgeous label that designs and produces all their clothing from scratch using 100% GOTS certified organic cotton with earth friendly non toxic inks. I made the mistake of not buying that night and ordering a few weeks later but a lot of stock had been sold out! You have been warned…

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Laikonik – with their gorgeously designed “Baby Journal” in collaboration with Laura Blythman. A beautiful gift idea for any new born or baby shower!

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I cannot wait to go to my next The Finders Keepers market in Sydney next year to discover more new labels and fabulous designs! They are held twice yearly in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney, so check them out when they come to your city next for some awesome finds!

Giddy Up Gertrude – “Revez en Grand” doll collection

As a child and as an adult, I love and adore dolls, so I am so very excited and truly honoured to present a gorgeous new handmade doll collection by GiddyUpGertrude, which is launching this Wednesday, 3rd of December. These dolls are seriously so sweet and beautiful. You will want to collect them all!

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All dolls are designed and handmade on the Australian Gold Coast, by Jaimi Lee Pennell. With a childhood love of creating and drawing, not to mention building fairy houses in her garden, it seems that Jaimi was destined to turn this passion into a creative talent as an adult.

Each doll is hand stitched and takes 4-5 hours to complete with hundreds of hand stitches going in to make each doll’s face.  All the materials are sourced from local shops or from fellow WAHM ( work at home mothers) running online shops.

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The first collection from GiddyUpGertrude is aptly titled “Revez en Grand” or “Dream Big” and there will be 10 -15 dolls each individually made, with their own character, name and styling.  Gorgeous names like Stella, Valerie, Suki, Mabel and Eden.  Every doll has been designed with removable clothing and there will soon be a range of Giddy Up Gertrude dresses, kimonos and gorgeous faux fur vests which will launch in the next 12 months. Oh my, I cannot wait to see the sweetest of doll’s clothing for these divine dolls!

Not only has Jaimi turned her hand to dolls but she has also made 2 limited edition stunning pink flamingos for Wednesday and some seriously cute Watermelon bags. This gorgeous mama is beyond talented!

I wanted to find out more about the inspiration, design and background of this new fabulous mumpreneur enterprise and I took the opportunity to ask Jaimi a few questions about “GiddyUpGertrude”:

Meet the Maker: Jaimi Lee Pennell

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Your dolls are truly stunning fashionista style pieces, what inspired your first doll collection, “Revez en Grand”, what is your background and how long has GiddyUpGertrude been in the making?

As a mother of 2 boys I don’t get to indulge in the gorgeous little girls fashion available at present, so this doll range has allowed me to get my fix of sequins, divinely soft tulles & all things pretty & pastel.

I taught myself how to sew almost 3 years ago, it was a way for me to cope and manage my Post Natal Depression. From this, my ability & confidence grew & creating really became a passion. Like a lot of people I started to make dolls using some great simple doll patterns that are easily available. However as my confidence grew I found myself really wanting to create a doll that reflected my soul & creativity, and the concept of GiddyUpGertrude was born. It has been a long road to create a pattern that I am 100% happy with, about 40 hrs of pattern testing in total, but I am so proud of how this first collection has come together.

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Given that you have children of your own, are they the first testers of your dolls? 

Haha, yes my toddler is known as the “destructor” tester! It is his job to make sure my dolls can stand up to the over affectionate cuddles & oddles of kisses they will receive in their life time.

As a child yourself, growing up, what was your favourite doll to play with and do you think it has helped to inspire you to create GiddyUpGertrude?

As a child my favourite doll was an old handmade ragdoll made by my great grandma’s sister. I loved her until her felt face had almost worn off & I actually rescued her from the bin a few times, as my mum thought she needed to be thrown away. Needless to say my love of dolls started very early, & has continued through to adulthood.

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As your collection is aptly named “Dream Big” which is one of my favourite sayings, what made you take the HUGE plunge and finally realise your dream of making dolls and creating such beauty? To be 100% honest, like many young families our budget is tight & the thought of leaving my two beautiful boys to go back out into the work force broke my heart. Which is why I am fully committed to making GiddyUpGertrude a successful brand.

The response so far on Instagram for your dolls has been so exciting, there is a real buzz and anticipation for the release of your collection. I can and will predict that it will sell out within minutes, where do you see the future of GiddyUpGertrude?

I am so amazed at the response my dolls have had so far. After starting a little under a month ago, I never dreamed of them getting so much attention and praise! Its pretty overwhelming.

My dream for GiddyUpGertrude is to walk into fabulous boutiques and see my dolls proudly displayed. That would be an amazing accomplishment.

Finally, I am sure there is a little story behind the brilliant name, do tell, what is the story behind Giddy Up Gertrude?

Well, remember my favourite rag doll I spoke about? She was made by my great grandma’s sister, Gertrude. So I thought it was only fitting that the woman that ignited my love of handmade dolls, to get a special mention.

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What a beautiful story filled with courage and bravery, overcoming post natal depression to create this beyond perfect doll collection by the sweetest of doll makers,  Jaimi, all whilst having a new born baby strapped to her and her toddler using her photography props as car jumps! I can see that this first collection of dolls, is but the start of amazing things to come for GiddyUpGertrude.

RRP: GiddyUpGertrude dolls will be A$120.00 and will be released for sale at 11am QLD time on Wednesday 3rd December.

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Disclosure: I have not received any gift or payment for this feature.

Toy of the month – October 2014

This month, (sorry I know I am a little late for October!), I am super excited to review a stunningly illustrated personalised book by lostmy.name. I was introduced to this company by an awesome friend of mine,  who had seen them on Dragon’s Den in the UK. I was kindly given a book by them to review for the blog.

In looking at the personalised kids book on their website,  what I adored most were the illustrations. They were so beautifully creative and I knew my youngest son would adore reading a book all about his name.  Plus what child doesn’t love a story that includes dragons, unicorns, and even a Narbalek?!

I clicked on the “Create your book” section on the website and added in Hudson’s name and that he was a boy and you can also add in a personal dedication for the first page of the book.

A few weeks later our book arrived in Australia.

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Bandit Kids SS15 – The Kingdom of Cool

I am super excited and truly honored to show you some sneak peaks of the SS15 collection from one of my favourite kids clothing brands, Bandit Kids.

Hitting the kids fashion scene with well deserved  fanfare earlier this year, they have gone from strength to strength. With 2 collections so far, showcasing some amazing artist collaborations with Emma Battaglia aka Pax and Hart and  in house typographer/friend Ruben de Haas for AW15 and SS15, they are utterly rocking the world of kids fashion.

This season I think is arguably their best yet, and that is saying something as their last two collections have been beyond amazing.

Designed in Australia and made ethically in Indonesia, I can attest to the fantastic quality of each piece. They wash and wear oh so well. My eldest son adores his Bandit Kids clothing ( they make from ages 3+) and he chooses to wear them above all others.

So what is their SS15 “Kingdom of Cool” collection all about?

Do you remember those lazy summer days as a child where you didn’t really get up to much?  Maybe you had a swim in your friends pool, rode your bike to the shops to get an ice cream,  you climbed trees or you and your mate did the big hike to the beach in the sweltering heat?

Days were long, blisteringly hot and summer holidays stretched for hours, days and weeks. You longed for them never to end… Mix that summer vibe with cool pastel and retro neutral prints of palm trees, ice creams, parrots, flamingos and swimming pools and this is exactly where you find the “Kingdom of Cool” reigning supreme!

 

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Photographer: Lizz Pennings

Styled by: They Called It Paradise

Location: Brisbane suburbs

Pray4Trax Necklaces: The Little Vikings

Sunglasses: Sons + Daughters

Shoes: Saltwater Sandals

Plus video by Levi Cranston

https://vimeo.com/110973397

For more info about this season:

www.banditkids.com.au

All images reproduced by Kids Gifts and Toys with permission from Bandit Kids.

Monpetitzoreol – cute toy storage solution

I always love new and fun ways to store toys and when I saw these gorgeous toy paper bags from french label Monpetitzoreol, I knew I had to have one!

Designed by hand and printed onto vinyl stickers  these toy storage bags are super cute and would look fab in any kids room.

For myself, it was a tough choice as I adored Audrey’s  panda designs and it was this designe that caught my eye in the first place.  However,  our boys new room design is  a mix of super heroes, alongside pops of mint, grey and monochrome, so I thought the mask was perfect. I love the design and I thought the gold would compliment my colour scheme in the room.

Disclosure: we purchased the gold mask toy storage bag and we were very kindly gifted the sweet mint star.

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Toy of the month – April 2014

 Starring Us – Rocket Train Adventure

This  April,  my “Toy of the Month” is a rather special one! It is a personalised children’s book called the “Rocket Train Adventure” by Starring Us.  I was asked to review this book and I was given our copy as a gift in order to complete the review.

As we live over 15,000 km away from our family who all live in Australia, this review has special significance as my children have only seen their families in real life a handful of times. This book helps to remind them of their beautiful family members back home, who all miss them dearly.

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