Made in Australia

Handmade Christmas Crayons from Funny Little Things

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Christmas is one of my favourite times of the year but I think we can all agree it can be pretty stressful with all of the end of year events at preschool, school and sport not to mention carols, family parties, get together’s with friends, work parties and did I mention actually getting in your Christmas shopping somewhere?

This year I have a few giveaways coming up on the blog which will mean for the lucky winners they have some of their kids gifts all sorted.

We already hosted the incredible Kazoops Soft Toy giveaway which was met with HUGE enthusiasm especially from all the non Australian fans. And this week, I have teamed up with a beautiful local Sydney maker and creator, Tess from Funny Little Things. Tess makes the most beautiful handmade crayons which make perfect stocking fillers, party favours and birthday gifts.

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Meet the Maker – Things by Bean

I am a massive fan of birthdays as you can imagine being a toy blog and gift guide site, so when I was introduced to Jo Power aka “Happy Birthday Girl” extraordinaire I had to find out more about her.

Jo is the head honcho over at Things By Bean and has been since she started the company in 2011. Things by Bean is an awesome stationery brand based in Melbourne that now stocks in over 50 retailers in Australia! A phenomenal effort in such a short space of time, oh and did I mention Jo became a Mum during that time as well.

Jo has even had the honour of travelling to New York City for the National Stationery Show which I think is pretty awesome as basically stationery stores are like my FAVE stores after toy stores. There is just something about cards, gift wrapping and all that paper. I have been known to be lost in stationery stores in NYC, Paris and even Tokyo!

This year, Jo expanded Things by Bean introducing an awesome blog and podcast. The blog has heaps of cool DIY party ideas as well as some pretty crazy kind of cake recipes.

The podcast is next level, hosted by Jo Power and Jeremy Gay, Happy Birthday the Podcast is about all things birthday and celebrations. Introducing some fab ideas I had never known, like Ancient Egyptians were the first to give birthday cards! Given my major at University was Archaeology, that is one of the coolest things I have heard all year.

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Toy of the month – July 2017

This month we are testing out some seriously awesome handmade colouring in mats from Australian maker Noble Cubs and I have to say my kids are absolutely loving them!

All  designed and handmade in Queensland by mother and creator Martina Noble, these eco-friendly toys are completely machine washable, and brilliant for entertaining kids whilst out and about. I would much prefer my kids play with these  fab washable mats than the dreaded tech ( oh tantrum city when you tell them no more playing!)

Martina kindly gifted us two colouring in and doodling mats to test out and review.  My 5 year old was so excited to see the construction mat when he opened it up and he was super intrigued as to how it was going to work. I have to admit I was too. I wasn’t sure how the washable markers were going to colour onto the fabric and I was equally intrigued as to whether they would wash out in full to enable further uses of the mat.

So how do it all go?

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Seriously, the best milestone baby cards!

There are some absolutely brilliant new baby milestones cards that launched this month, Seriously Milestones, an Australian based company set up by mama Issy Kerr. All cards have been designed and produced here and showcase “real parenting moments”.

They are a humorous take on the gorgeous cutesy baby milestone cards that you see a lot on Instagram of late and I have to say I adore them! With and $1 from every box set being given to Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia (PANDA) donation, I think these are a brilliant and fun gift idea for any expecting mum.

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Reaching the highest of heights in wooden toys!

As a toy blogger I see a lot of kids toys as you can imagine, but the ones I am always drawn to are ones that will last generations, ones that our children can enjoy, but also their children. In this very consumerist society, it can be easy to give your children toys upon toys upon plastic toys. But the ones that they will remember won’t be the plastic ones that break or run out of battery, but those that provide them with hours of imagination and wonder. The ones that are sturdy, robust and built to last, which is why I tend towards wooden toys. Aesthetically from a parent’s perspective they are beautiful to look at which is important as you will be seeing it daily,  but from a consumerist perspective, they are also ones that you know will survive the rough and tumble of children. They won’t be thrown in the bin because they no longer work!

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Mint Rhapsody – gorgeous kids decor

One of my favourite Australian brands over the last year and one I put on my “one to watch” for 2015 is Mint Rhapsody.

Sam and Laura, a husband and wife team based in Victoria, Australia, they have their finger on the pulse and are pulling out some seriously stunning pieces of kids decor and toys.

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Christmas Gift Guides – Threenager

Some fabulous gift ideas for your threenager ahem, three year old! They seem to grow up so quickly these days and here are some fun gifts to educate and entertain.

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Christmas Gift Guide – Toddlers

Oh those important “Toddler Years”, when they start to walk, move, climb walls and tables, and generally keep themselves and you busy, oh so busy!

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Minimal Christmas

As you know we adore Inkibabinki here on this blog, it is one of our fave Australian kids fashion and decor range for their minimal, design led approach.

They have done it again this festive season with their new limited edition Minimalist Christmas Tshirt.  We loved it so much that we thought we would get into the Christmassy spirit in November and have a bit of fun!

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Pay it Forward – Schooza

Wow, I cannot believe we are almost in November, where has the year gone? I am super excited about this “Pay It Forward” as we were extremely lucky to attend an “Under the Sea” themed birthday party way back in February ( it seems many moons ago) and much to our surprise, we received a Shark tail outfit from Schooza as Jasper’s party favour. I nearly fell over myself after seeing the label, realising I was going to be writing a blog feature on this brand later in the year.  

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Inkibabinki

Grids, monochrome, stripes and geometric design, all of this gorgeousness encapsulates the work of  Inkibabinki. A fellow mama and lover of all things handmade, Indri is a beautiful mama based in Melbourne, who I discovered through our mutual love of monochrome.

Indri produces stunning cushions, softies, onesies and t-shirts. All created with this utterly perfect geometric design. They are timeless, classic design pieces that won’t fade with trends. You can mix things up a bit like I do and add some pops of colour to your kids room to soften the look.  With a quality to match, I have been blown away every time we buy a product from Indri.

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Gus Makes Three

Today, I have decided on a new name for my boys, they are no longer Jasper and Hudson but rather the… “Café kids”!! Yes, I have to admit, it may be partly my addiction, ahem, obsession with coffee that has made me make a beeline for a café, when I am out and about with the boys.

Last week, we went to have a look at the Bahai temple, a place we travel past daily which is a house of worship for the Bahai faith. As we came outside, Jasper asks “So where is the café mama?” “ Ahh Jasper, it’s the equivalent of a church here, there is no café!”

Oh dear what have I created….

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Toy of the month – September 2015

September is always a wonderfully special month here in Australia, as we celebrate Father’s Day. This Father’s Day, we gave our Papa ( a throw back still from Germany)  a lie in, breakfast in bed and cooked him a yummy late brunch. Plus he was spoilt with lots of tools, handmade cards and chocolates!

We also presented him with 2 awesome toys that he could share with the boys, “Buildme wooden toys“. He was blown away by the “Build Me” boxes he received and a week or two later we had a chance on a rainy Spring afternoon, to construct them.

Buildme Wooden toys toys are an awesome brand established in Melbourne and started by a dad, Darryl Thompson, whose past experience as a shipwright in the Royal Australian Navy and later as a graphic designer, has enabled him to develop the wooden toys from concept and design through to production. I adore that he is trying to bring back some time honoured traditions and to teach children life long skills especially in this techy age.

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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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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!

 

 

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