Month: July 2008

I Like This Bookshelf, Sam-I-Am

It isn’t often that the kids and I both love a piece of furniture. To them, furniture isn’t something to covet but something on which to climb, or at best, throw their stuff.  So I knew I’d found something special when I spied the gravity-defiant bookshelves from Dust Furniture which look straight out of a Dr. Seuss book. We equally loved the unusual, curvy design and the bright, fun colors of the handmade furniture from this husband-wife team. I also liked that it would get their books off the floor. This is definitely not the kind of furniture you...

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Music Together: Out of the Classroom and Into Your iPod

When I heard that Music Together was creating a CD for everyone, and not just the lucky families who get it free along with their children’s music classes, I jumped at the opportunity to check it out. Granted I’m a registered Music Together teacher currently on mom-hiatus so yes, I’m biased. But if you’ve ever taken a class, or heard the music, you’ll know exactly why this is audio crack for kids. A research-based program that encourages the love of music in kids from a very early age, Music Together is all about culturally diverse tunes along with a...

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These Toys Have Feelings

Q: When is having Mixed Emotions a Good Thing?   A: When they are the super-cute kind that comes inside a Kimochi.    What is a Kimochi you ask? Kimochis are soft, cuddly, stuffed toys that come in a variety of shapes, with a surprise inside–a set of three “feelings” in the form of stuffed little guys, each one with a facial expression that’s identified by an emotion (happy, jealous, shy, grateful) on its back.    With a background in children’s therapy, I can tell you that Kimochis offer almost limitless possibilities for instructional play on the topic of...

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It’s A Girl, and No She Will Not Be Wearing Any Sheep

I’m not a girlie-girl.  In fact, I tend to be a minimalist when it comes to dress and decor.  When my daughter showed up, we ended up custom-designing our announcements because we couldn’t find anything that wasn’t covered in bows, sheep, kittens or flowers.    I only wish there had been this fill-in-the-blank It’s a Girl Announcement from the very cool Bumble Ink. Pink without being PINK.  A doll who clearly doesn’t spend time with Barbie.  A decided lack of exclamation points.  All courtesy of designer Gavin Wu who mercifully (for parents) made the leap from computer engineering. In...

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Baby Shower Favors, Hold the Cliches

In theory, party favors are a wonderful idea.  Sending your guests home with a lovely memento of a special occasion – who could object to such thoughtfulness?  Problem is, most favors are destined for the dustbin. Have you ever received a pewter carousel horse keychain engraved with the name of someone else’s kid? (ed note: I have. -Liz) A far more appealing alternative are the personalized favors designed and produced by Ink and Paper. The designs are fresh and modern and the gifts themselves, like scented candles and mints, are worth giving and keeping, making you an enviable hostess....

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The Tutu That’s Not Too-Too

I have resisted featuring tutus here for like a million years – or at least two – because frankly, 99.9% of them are too frilly, foofy, poofy and mega-princessy for even our little princesses. Rule of thumb: A tutu shouldn’t look as if it has eaten your child whole. But I have happily come around now that I’ve seen the delicious little creations from designer Nathalie Beardon of Kennedy & Friends. As a fan of hers put it, the kids wear the tutus and not the other way around. I love the simple contrasting color palates and the amazing...

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Pop Fly: It’s a Hit

“HEY!  Don’t turn that down!”, I snap at my husband who has interrupted my backup singing so he can figure out some complicated directions on our way to Boston. He looks at me, warily, from the corner of his eye. Shoot. I have been caught singing along to the kids’ music. It’s no secret that I dislike a lot of the music my kids love. This is a big reason we listen to a lot of audio books in the car. But, then kindie rock artist all-star Justin Roberts releases his new CD, Pop Fly, and I actually get...

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Big Brands Doing Cool Things: Paint Your Own Polos from Ralph Lauren

The last thing you might think to do on a rainy day is set your kid lose with permanent paints on a $45 Ralph Lauren Polo. But then Ralph Lauren begs to differ. Behold: The Paint Your Own Polo kits for kids. Packaged with paints, stamps, and brushes in a  cool little paint can, the kit makes a great gift for the children of your friends with the beach house that you scammed an invite to this summer. Oddly, the kits only start at sizes for about five year olds (Hey Ralph! Preschoolers like painting too!) but if you’ve...

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Environmentalists, turn on your solar-powered laptops

I do like a lot of the educational cartoons on TV today, but c’mon! Where’s the Schoolhouse Rock of the 21st century? Where are the shows that try to break down the electoral process, explain the constitution or tackle global warming? Aha. Enter Heartwood USA, a new series of animated shorts featuring a twelve year-old detective and her best friend who take on the planet’s bullies and environmental do-badders. Kids will get the humor and appreciate the messages, and certainly the high quality animation – producer and writer Shane Keats has a background in hard-core journalism, and director of...

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Ditch your daughter’s lead paint jewelry

It seems like every day I get an e-mail about yet another recalled piece of girls’ jewelry.  It also seems like every day my daughter is begging me to let her play with mine … my jewelry that I really don’t want her mitts all over. Enter this age-appropriate sterling silver necklace from Tulsa mom and artist Erin Edwards of The Vintage Pearl. It’s a teeny silver moon hand-stamped with I love you to the moon and back, inspired by the artist’s favorite bedtime story. It’s affordable enough you won’t die a thousand deaths if your daughter breaks or loses it,...

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Baby Tees that Say Me Me MEEEEEEE

It’s been said that babies are all id. So why not develop onesies and shirts for babies called Me Tees that walk right into that fact? That’s just what mom Melissa Stanchock of modern*me baby did and I can tell you, Freud would just be tickled. Each hand-pressed design works upside-down and right side up so that children can look down at their chests and enjoy their own tees too, thank you very much. Her fun, swoopy illustrations range from classic motifs like airplanes and owls to an organic line featuring animals from a panda to a koi fish,...

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bObles: Furniture For Your Kids’ Minds

One of the cooler finds of ours from the recent International Contemporary Furniture Fair were the very amazing bObles tumbling animals out Denmark. Of course! Because what is Denmark if not homebase for playful, modern design that I absolutely have to have immediately. (Sorry Sweden.) Created by moms and sisters Louise and Bolette Blædel, the geometric animals are essentially sturdy foam childrens furniture that double as seesaws, rockers, steps, spinny-twirly things, and, knowing kids, rocket ships and secret invisible space animals of doom. bObles are Pthalate and toxin-free, and a full selection can be found at very good prices...

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Victorian Goth Hipster Baby Redux

Oh Lou and Lee, where were you when my daughters were still young enough for your beautiful handmade onesies? I suppose I’ll have to forgive LA designer Ann Dewitt, who’s captured my heart with unusual details like vintage lace and tromp l’oeuil felt cameos or vests, yielding the kinds of shower gift that put all others to shame. I love the Marguerite Pink Felt (shown) and Amy Fancy Lady onesies if you’re lucky enough to find either in stock. Plus Ann may actually have the first floral headbands for girls I really could get into. More Carrie Bradshaw than...

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Connect the Dots

While my four-year-old daughter can definitely write her name, she still has trouble nailing that tricky letter N. But now, thanks to her Little Stamp, she doesn’t have to tell me that the N in her name is a super special fancy letter that’s not in the alphabet. Quite simply, the Little Stamp is a personalized self-inking stamp that uses a large “dotted” font so that your child can easily connect the dots, placing their name on letters, artwork, you name it. Just send them your kid’s name, pick an ink color, and choose all caps or lower case, and you’ve got a...

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DJ in Da Playhouse

Generally speaking, I pry out the batteries from those loud plastic toys at first opportunity. But upon seeing the New School DJ Mixer at Ollie Bollen, the only thing I could think about digging out were my go-go boots; you know, if I could still fit my big pregnant feet in them.     Sporting six different rhythms along with a tempo control, this toy is way hipper and less annoying than half of the the mini keyboards and kid guitars out there. Aside from the two “scratch” turntables, the only thing it’s missing (and for this I thank God), is the microphone.  The...

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Art + Philanthrophy. A Combo We Can Get Behind.

We’ve all wished for more hours in the day, but I think mom and artist Rebecca Peragine of Art and Philanthropy must have actually found them. In fact I’m sure she’s uncovered a way to recycle those hours just as she recycles everyday objects in her collage art. The artist turns snippets of old newspapers and scraps of old magazine pages into colorful, exciting original artwork and note cards–which come with recycled paper bag envelopes. And starting this week, she’s also making great-looking eco-market totes. But her good work doesn’t end there. Not only does Rebecca donate a portion...

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With stroller pads, everything old is new again

There is something beautiful about a pristine, brand new stroller tucked away in the corner of the perfect nursery just waiting for the baby’s arrival. And then there is something equally horrifying about how that same stroller looks a year later, coated with grease splotches and food remnants and stains of unknown origin. Or worse, an origin which you wish were unknown. If I had to do it all over again, I’d invest in a stroller pad from the get-go, and a whole array of nice options are available at myMonkeymoo. The handmade-in-Canada stroller pads are very nicely constructed,...

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Blocks To Knock Your Socks (Off)

Oh Petit Flaneur, where have you been all my gift-giving life? This brand new Toronto-based design shop is doing super fabulous things with a combo of natural or reclaimed materials from local sources and a sharp design sense. The handmade wooden blocks may be the next gift that every one of my pregnant friends receives – I love that they’re bigger than your average mass market set, and that each block is hand crafted from a different high quality reclaimed wood. The circus theme is adorable (especially in the vintage color palate) or flip them to reveal apples and...

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The First Generation Seventh Generation Diaper Bag

Seventh Generation is pretty much owning the “look how eco I am” market of household products these days, so it makes sense that they’d branch out. In this case, with a swanky diaper bag. A swanky eco-diaper bag. And a nice one too or so it seems from the high-res photos. As part of the company’s new Wee Generation partnership with CMP fave dot-org, Healthy Child Healthy World, they’ve reached out to all kinds of big deal award-winning designers to create a Japanese-influenced messenger style diaper bag that looks cool, works as it should and wipes clean when you...

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Organic Fruit to Go With That Organic Cotton

Not every pregnant woman spends her pregnancy scarfing down Twix Bars and chocolate chip pancakes. Or so I hear. (Ahem.) Some actually go all greenmarket for nine months, craving organic bell peppers, counting carbs and actually taking her prenatal vitamins without fail. If you’ve got a friend like that, we’ve got the baby gift for you in the Farmer’s Market Baby Basket from Organic Style. The basket o’ goodies features a basic onesie, burp and infant cap from Under the Nile, all biodynamically grown Demeter-certified cotton, of course. (Whatever that means.) But what I really love is that it...

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