Month: February 2009

Cards that make you say, “Awww…”

Creating eye-catching baby stationery is not nearly as easy as it looks.  Anyone can print teddy bears or glue gingham bows on heavy card stock.  It takes something special to make me sit up and say, “Awww…” Gracie Girl Notes are definitely something special. Designer Bevin McSorley combines simple yet innovative designs with great attention to detail on her custom note cards, party invitations and birth announcements. Adorned with paper cut-outs of ice skates, dump trucks, animals or polka dotted cupcakes, Gracie Girl’s brightly colored personalized notes really stand out from the standard 2-D offerings. These custom cards are...

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Do you believe in magnets?

If there’s one thing that I love in a bib, other than the fact that it actually works, is not having to fight with my baby to get it on. And thanks to Cheeky and Swank’s magnetic baby bibs, I don’t. Sure, the bibs’ magnet closure makes life incredibly easier, with only one hand needed to pop a bib on and off your little one. But the soft chenille back makes these bibs comfy and functional, and the bright stylish fabrics don’t make you feel so bad having to cover up your kid’s clothes with a bib. When someone...

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I clutch myself

I’m not much for buying cutesie accessories that are intended to be used on one day only. But that’s the lovely part of Valentine’s Day (apart from the chocolate and wine and flowers, of course); red transcends the symbolism of the day, making it the perfect color for Valentine’s Day gifts that can be used all year long. Take for example this cool poppy clutch from Sakura Urban.  With red Italian leather and simple black and olive poppies, this perfect party purse will add some great-looking pizazz year-round. Rich, romantic, and not a whit of cutesy holiday kitsch. In...

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Cross packing the hospital bag off your list

We’ve come across a few prepacked maternity bags and I have to say the idea is generally better than the execution. The bags often have these huge ugly logos on it that say something awful like NEW MOMMY ON BOARD and they’re filled with stuff that sounds good but you’ll never actually use. Exfoliator? I’m sorry, after I gave birth the last thing I considered was a luxury skin sloughing in the nasty hospital shower. The maternity bags from Babytime Bags were developed by two moms who obviously gave it a lot of thought. The cute quilted tote contains...

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Is spring in the air? Darn it, no. Not yet.

Because we’ve been hibernating from the snow in New York every other day lately, I’ve taken to peeking at the spring clothes for children that are starting to appear in our favorite shops. And after seeing the yummy handmade girls dresses at CMP fave Louise Hedley’s new etsy shop, Sohokids, I’m doubly excited to see my little girls’ bare knees outside again. Because every handmade piece at Sohokids is one of a kind, grab something now if you love it. The beautiful Vera dress made from vintage cotton makes me wish we were in 6T these days, and the...

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Central organization even shirkers can’t escape

You know that woman who’s always at school functions, the one who walks up while you’re manning the ticket table or dishing the chili, and says, “Oh, I should’ve signed up to help! I must have missed the flier!”  Hopefully her flier is crammed into the bottom of a backpack somewhere and she really does want to help. Hopefully. Either way, those conversations are about to become a thing of the past, because our PTA is going to start using Center’d to coordinate volunteer sign-ups for our activities. Everyone gets an email notification, and everyone can see which slots...

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Batik is back. More than back, it’s hotter than hot.

Move over Suri and Pax. It would seem that the world’s most important celebrity children in the design world are now Sasha and Malia Obama, at least if the press releases flooding our inboxes are any indication. If the First Children are photographed in some label or another, we’re hearing about it. A lot. A whole lot. Fortunately, the First Family has nice taste, so we’re finding some new picks ourselves. Like the fun handmade kids’ tees from Hiho Batik. Mom/designer Julia Silver-Gordon creates exclusive lines for the likes of Kitson and Barney’s, but also some very cute off-the-rack...

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The 2009 ALA award winners are announced and with that, we go book shopping

We admit it, we’re a sucker for the annual American Library Association awards which help us navigate the thousands of virtual bookstore shelves when picking out great reads for our kids. Last week the 2009 ALA winners were announced and we’re excited to check out the big winners. John Newbery Medal: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (ages 9-12). And right on the heels of his first film, Coraline, too. I can’t wait til my kids are old enough for this one – I’ve been a Neil Gaiman fan for ages. Randolph Caldecott Medal: The House in the Night...

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Big brands doing cool things – The Fisher Price and DwellStudio baby swing

With all the amazing advancements in baby gear over the last few years, I’m still baffled as to why baby swings are still so ridiculously heinous. Well, thanks to Fisher Price and DwellStudio’s new cradle swing, you can finally say good bye to circus colors and depressing muted pastels. This plain white infant swing combines Dwell’s exquisite fabrics and design sensibility in both the seat and the mobile, along with Fisher Price’s beloved swing functionality. While it’s definitely still a humongo baby swing, it’s waaaaaaay more attractive than any I’ve ever seen.  Or tried not to see, actually. -Kristen...

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Conversation hearts actually worth talking about

Because, let’s face it, actual conversation heart candies are adorable but taste about 3% better than chalk, I love the idea of conversation heart cookies for Valentines Day. A half dozen yummy, almost cakey, pink frosted cookies from Cheryl&Co come with classic conversation heart statements like BE MINE and LOVE YOU. Ship a tin of fresh baked treats off to your grandma for February 14th, or grab a box yourself and let your kid hand each individually wrapped cookie out to friends and neighbors. They will go quickly; my sigOth downed four of them before I even had a...

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Nonstop to Spain

I love peeking across the ocean via the www to see what our European friends are doing as far as kids and design. Occasionally there’s some wacky baby tee featuring a wolf riding a unicycle with a pig on his head or something, but generally we’re in love with what we find. Like the baby and children’s gifts from the brand new Haciendo el Indio Spanish design studio. The most charming characters adorn everything from dolls and decor to kids wall art to “maxi bibs” which are one part giant napkin, one part craft apron, one part superhero cape....

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I like cute booties and I cannot lie

You know what a baby can never have too much of? Okay. Sleep. Right, you got me. But other than sleep, and poops that smell like roses? How about baby booties? Well in our house, the answer would be yes, considering I can’t keep track of all the teeny baby socks. So, baby booties, like these adorable linen chick baby shoes by Lotta Jansdotter and found at lovely shop Open House, would be perfect. Pair them with the matching bib and you’ve got the perfect newborn gift. Or a “wow I can’t believe she’s four months already” gift. Ahem....

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A naturally gorgeous blanket for your naturally gorgeous baby

The soft, fleecy blanket with a satiny trim is a nursery staple– not only did my kids have them as babies, I had one as a baby, too, about a hundred years ago. And now Organic Blankees is offering up a new and fabulously earth-friendly way to grab your own. A whole variety of sizes, from a crib blanket to a huge sofa throw come in certified 100% organic cotton, trimmed with a charmeuse of hemp and silk. Customize your organic blanket with a ruffled or straight trim in a range of colors, and choose fleece or velour– which...

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Childrens art that tells a story. A good story, too.

I love children’s art that seems ripped out of the pages of a classic storybook. So when I discovered that very thing at the newly opened Tutti Studio…instant swoonage. Tel Aviv artist Tutti Shafir’s imaginative children’s giclee prints can only be described as lovely. The elegant portraits of children examining ladybugs or gazing at the ocean will set little minds in motion to create their own story around the imagery. Plus it’s nice to find so many options for boys that don’t involve a baseball bat. Even the small postcards are printed on such nice paper, several would look...

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Animals coming out of the closet

I wish I were one of those crafty types who could look at an old sweater and see more than a Goodwill deduction. If you’re Viola Hale of Viola Studio, you imagine adorable stuffed animals including elephants, puppies, pigs, and even a moose made out of cuddly recycled wool. I especially dig the matching gift cards that come with each one. Seriously too cute. All of her upcycled softies will make you go ooohh with their waldorf-style faces and beautifully crafted bodies, but I know my Happy Feet obsessed toddler would go crazy for the stuffed penguin. Of course,...

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A dog tag that’s the cat’s meow

Although technically Atlanta designer Asha Patel calls her series of necklaces “revamped lockets” I actually think they’re too edgy and cool to be called anything other than designer dog tags. I liked the Lotus Flower pendant so much that I took it out for a test drive and not only did my friends all notice it, but they really liked it. I have to say, it makes me feel very hip with a touch of Zen chic thrown in for good measure. The hand-cast oxidized sterling silver has a brushed, worn-in look about it– think distressed leather. And two...

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Bamboo meets letterpress and thus, two of our favorite things come together

So maybe lifting a pen and sticking on a stamp doesn’t seem like hard work, but when you’re chasing after three kids, putting on deodorant is a big deal let alone handwriting a note card. If there was ever a card worth the effort, it’s the gorgeous letterpress cards from Smock Paper, printed completely on bamboo paper. In fact, they’re the first ever US company to do so. Their bamboo is harvested in Thailand without the use of pesticides or fertilizer, and because it requires very little water to grow, it’s actually a more sustainable choice than cotton. Who...

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A baby registry for the green-minded mama

Looking around the online shop, Sage Baby NYC, which focuses entirely on eco-friendly baby gifts and gear, it was hard to know what to rave about first. Wait — I know. All of it. Co-owners and moms Francesca Olivieri and Susan Gluck-Pappajohn (NYC ballet fans might recognize that name) have put together a beautifully curated selection of environmentally mindful and organic baby gifts, clothes and furniture. Plus there’s a convenient shower registry option that allows new moms to start their baby off on a green foot. Register for layette essentials for preemies on up, baby bath time goodies, modern...

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Totally doable DIY Valentines Day cards

If the big wall o’ children’s Valentine’s cards at your local big box store fills you with dread, don’t despair. You’ve heard of DIY, but have you heard of DIYBWALHFTWD? This acronym came to us from Three Wheels Design owner Vicki Shields, and it stands for Do It Yourself But With A Little Help From Three Wheel Designs. Obviously. It’s simple; you spend a few bucks on the Valentines Day card of your choice (I’m smitten with the robots, myself), and what you get is a ready-to-print PDF with six cards per standard sheet of paper. Print as many...

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Picture picture on the wall

I’ve made the leap into actually printing my photos, mostly due to pretty strong nudges from the grandparents who keep asking me for a darn hard copy of everything. So that means I’ve now got some pretty nice prints lying around, without the bookshelf space to display them them. Enter these very cool re-stickable wall decal photo frames which give you creative license to display as many photos as you want all over your plain old walls without the use of a dreaded nail. Can you hear my husband cheering? And the best part is when you get tired...

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