Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Winnie&Clem...the name of hats !!

Congratulations and best of luck to Winnie & Clem on the BIG website launch today 20th July 2011 at 8pm. Well done on a fantastic achievement.

Anita with her gorgeous children who are also one of her inspirations.

Winnie & Clem is a handmade store specialising in stylish handmade accessories with a strong focus on handmade hats and caps for babies, children and adults. Winnie & Clem is run by the lovely Anita, a work at home mum of 2 beautiful children aged 4 and 2yrs. Headquarters for Anita is her home on a farm in rural NSW! Anita named her business after her grandparents ~ Winifred and Clement. Winnie & Clem, a little cute, a little old world and a lot of love! Check out our interview with Anita but most importantly pop over to her new webpage - Winnie & Clem

When was Winnie & Clem born and what were your original thoughts of what it would be?
Winnie & Clem was first born in January 2010. Initially I didn't really know what I wanted it to be, what products I wanted, business or hobby? I was really just testing the waters. I started with quite a variety of handmade products to gauge responses to them. Then when I launched a facebook page in April 2010 it became apparent from the feedback that there was a need for well made stylish hats, for both kids and adults.

This is one of Winnie & Clem's winter
 wonderful 'Cloche' hats.
 Where do you get your inspiration from when creating?
My kids, my hubby, my mum, life, fabric, beauty and nature!

You are about to launch your website, what were the steps involved once you had decided you wanted to launch Winnie & Clem on the web?
I am by no means an expert in this area, very much learning as I go! The first step was to get my domain name registered. With that sorted I chose a web provider and then organised my graphic designer. Sounds like a simple process when written in a few brief sentences but it was a lot of work and learning.

How do you juggle your crafty career and family life?
I am very fortunate to treat my business as my job and hence I have the kids in childcare for 3 days a week. I also have an incredibly supportive husband.

We both run small businesses and although that means a lot of work we both can be flexible and share the load when necessary. I am also naturally an organised person and use lists, diaries and planners to keep on top of everything. I am also a strong believer in routine for the kids, it helps everyone (including them) to manage day to day.

Like AnK Bowtique you also live in a rural area - tell us a bit about your surroundings and do you find them limiting ?
I live on a farm in the Southern Tablelands of NSW. It is predominantly a sheep and cattle breeding area. Our closest city is 60km from the farm and nearest main centre is Canberra, 2.5 hours away. Sourcing supplies for my business locally is almost impossible, I rely heavily on online ordering of supplies. Access to major markets is also very difficult with most markets requiring travel of between 2-4 hours.

When did you start sewing and what was the first item you finished?
I started sewing when I was about 5 yrs old. The first item I finished (aside from the practice sheets my mum use to make us sew) would have been either a needle book or a pair of elastic waist shorts, its a long time ago its hard to remember, but I do recall sitting at the big kitchen table with Mum and my older sisters waiting my turn to use the machine.
Anita's fabric combinations are timeless and
very versatile.

Where do you see Winnie & Clem in 5 years time ?
My aim is for Winnie &Clem to be the name of hats! But in five years time I hope to have employed some help so I am able to concentrate on not only making my products but able to work on more designs as well. I also plan to have a branch of Winnie & Clem producing and selling patterns for the sewers who would like to make their own hats.

Anita is truly a fantastic business woman who excels in the field of hat making.  AnK Bowtique wish her every success with her new web page. 

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Whats in a Name..

We have a LOT of animals out here on the property.  One day Miss S asked when we were going to go and visit a real farm...apparently we aren't a real farm because we don't have pigs and sheep.  Point taken but you have to draw the line somewhere with how many mouths you have to feed.
We have about 30 horses, most of these are retired and too old to ride so they get put up into the 'retirement paddock'.  Mr B calls it other names that I am not willing to mention on here but I like to think it's a special place and a reward for all the long hard days of work they have done for us over the years. I like to call it the retirement paddock because there is lots of grass and your not disturbed by the occasional chasing from the dogs.
Talking about dogs, we have 15 work dogs.....some really good, some just OK but everyone is given a fair chance.  It's a big effort to keep up with all the names and it's really funny when you are out mustering and the cattle are misbehaving and the dogs think they know what they are doing but are just being more hindrance and Mr B's father is trying to watch the cattle and keep them in line and yell at dogs at the same time.  I have heard him yell at dogs that aren't even out mustering that day because you have to go through the list of names until you find the one you want.  Poor things their must be some burning ears on some days.

This brings me to 'Whats in a name'.  When Mr B & I name our animals we try and give them names of things, people or events that are happening the day they are born or the day we get them.  Since having Miss M & Miss S it's getting a bit harder and occasionally we end up with names like Ruby, Petunia, Rose and those types of girly names.

This is 'Ekka", one of Mr B's work horses.  He is HUGE!!  With Miss M standing beside him he looks even bigger and has hooves the size of dinner plates.  'Ekka" came about because he was born during the time the Brisbane Royal Show was on which is also known as the 'Ekka'.  A few other horses that we have are 'Indy' - born when the Indy car race was on, 'Cricket' born on the night of our local ICPA Cricket fun day, 'Vinnie' born on the day that Princess Mary christened and announced the twins names and 'Oakey' named when we bought her and the old guy couldn't remember her name and he lived on a property with the name Oakey in it.

Onto dogs...I will only give a few examples because we could be here all day.  'Alvin' is Mr B's wolfhound and of course he was named after the movie 'Alvin and the Chipmonks'.  He suits that name and it really does sound like that when you yell it.  'Kirby' named after the people we bought him off and 'Billa' named after a property where we got him from.

This is 'Nell'.  She was named after the children's book Sail Away written by Mem Fox about 2 dogs who went on a sailing trip to go to the Americas Cup.  At the time we got Nell and her brother so we had Skip and Nell and it was Miss M's favourite book.

So how do you name your family Pets?  Do you have a system like us or are we the only weird ones who think too hard about a name.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Epic Photo Shoot

I've always been told I never do anything by halves but I was even starting to wonder what we had got ourselves into when planning for the AnK Bowtique & Mulberry Photo Art 2011 Photo Shoot Extravaganza.  Whilst packing the car I started to wonder how on earth we were going to cope with the 35 models, each with at least 2 changes of outfits and 4 changes of accessories.  Would everyone turn up on time, would the clothes fit, would I remember all the names of the princesses? Even though we had put our madeit store into vacation mode, AnK Headquarters was still insanely busy with Mr AnK's skin cancer operation, school papers to be done, mustering, tax, and all of the other associated tasks that come with running a busy cattle property whilst teaching and crafting.

Like every big event there are always people behind the scenes making sure everything goes to plan.  I would like to send a great big thankyou to my special helper at "Malden" - Miss Courtney. Courtney happily helped to bag and tag outfits, pack, unpack, repack and swap accessories countless times. 

Mr AnK also needs to be thanked for his ability to put up with racks of clothes, ribbon, bows, fabric etc strewn all across the lounge room and pettiskirts hanging in every available cupboard. He was also in charge of Master T whilst we were away and although I have it on good authority that not a lot of vegies were consumed, a good time was had :)

A special big thankyou to my little helper, Maddy.  Affectionately named Little Miss AnK by Phoebe, she really did try to help out even though she had been eaten by mossies at shoot 1 and was tired and cranky.  Apologies to those who witnessed the whingy moments !! And here she is - not looking the slightest bit like a drama queen !!

Of course I can't forget to thank the other half of AnK - Angie and her Mr AnK who put up with incessant phone calls and demands for this and that as well as having Master T and Miss M for a sleepover. Angie was able to sort my mess in the Mulberry Photo Art Studio and had everything under control. I also need to thank my parents and my sister who had the kids come stay for some of the school holidays while I could focus on the photo shoot.

A mammoth thanks to Phoebe - owner, creator and dedicated photographer from Mulberry Photo Art
Over 3000 images.....WOW
Phoebe had the most unbelieveable amount of patience with each and every model.
Despite having her own family to attend to she dedicated herself to ensuring each child had some beautiful portraits as well as satisfying AnK for products shots.  Thanks so much Phoebe and to Mr MPA and MIL MPA for providing family assistance so that you could click away.

A huge thanks to all the little models and their mums and dads.  Some who travelled from long distances to attend.  It was lovely to meet you all even though it was only a quick hello on most occassions.

A special thanks to our locations Emerald Homestay, The Irish Village, and the Hutchinson Family.

It may take us a while to recover but the images Phoebe has uploaded far outweigh the efforts involved.  Truly beautiful photos by an extremely talented lady.  We highly recommend Phoebe if you are looking for a photographer in the central highlands, all her details, pricing and dates available are on her website.  She is best reached by email.

Thanks to all of our fans for their support, we look forward to working with you to continue creating beautiful accessories for your princesses.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Made It Monday - Sleepovers

I have the pleasure of Master T and Miss M staying at my place for a sleepover.  Miss S & Miss M are delighted to have them and there has been constant talking, laughing, playing and all round just having a fantastic time together.  Sleepovers are few and far between out here because of distances but it's great to take an opportunity when one arises.  Non the less some of the conversations I have heard have been quite amusing but I suppose that's what you talk about when you are 5, 8 & 9 years old.s

So I have found a few things that maybe of some use when having a sleepover.  The only thing I didn't find on there was EAR PLUGS!

Gorgeous Girls Pyjamas from Kids Bitz

Story Starters from Leaf Journals

The cutest ever soaps from Bubble Lane

Boys Pyjamas from Red Gum Kids

Cute Lunch Bag, but I thought great for toiletries from Edan Rose