Month: May 2009

Duct tape goes designer, and metrosexuals everywhere rejoice

Anyone with a baby knows the brilliance that is duct tape. No! I kid! Duct tape is only for older children and only when they’re very very loud. But for real, I do love duct tape and its 1001 uses and obviously I’m not alone. So it was only a matter of time before someone came up with designer duct tape to patch up basement furniture and garden hoses and tennis rackets with a little more panache than the age-old industrial silver stuff. Grab that swanky blue paisley one and go get to work fixing something. –Liz Find designer...

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Supermom might be a myth but SuperCook is all real

On a good week, I plan our meals but in reality, I sometimes find myself facing a nearly-empty fridge, wondering what I can cobble together for dinner out of half a lemon, some mustard, and a handful of mushrooms. (Oh, like that’s never happened to you.) Thanks to SuperCook, those what-to-make-for-dinner panics are a thing of the past. Simply type in the ingredients you have on hand and it generates a list of links to recipes from tried and true sites like Epicurious, AllRecipes.com, and Recipezaar. It even sorts by missing ingredients, so you don’t have to wrack your...

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Comicon fans, this one’s for you. Or your kids.

From skateboard and sneaker design to children’s picture books, Australian artist Luke Feldman has created quite a cult following of his waif-like illustrated characters known as Skaffs. They hang in the Cartoon Art Museum, they delight hipster animation fans, and now they come to life in the vibrant children’s book Chaff n’ Skaffs: Mai and the Lost Moskivvy, created along with illustrator and co-author Amanda Chin. Mai (the lead Skaff in this story) heads on an outrageous adventure with her strange, large, round, gray, top hat-wearing Chaff pal and escort Moskivvy, the lost Australian mosquito, while meeting monks and...

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Sales whoo! Special Saturday Edition

We’ve rounded up the best sales and deals from this week just for you. Get 15% off all new kid cape styles at Little Capers with “NEW15” or take 20% off everything else with “UNIQUE20” through 6/7/09. For one week only, you can grab a pair of Eleven shoes (pictured) for $20-35, plus with a purchase of two or more pairs, you’ll get free shipping. Offer ends 6/5/09. In case you missed our features, you can snag 25% off the beautiful organic summer clothes at Scout Baby through 6/30/09 and 20% off the lovely kid’s dress clothes at Velvet...

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Maybe not the final frontier, but possibly the cutest

Ever on the search for more money-saving ideas that don’t compromise your design sense, we’ve found there’s no need to pay for stickers when you can download awesome designs for free and print them right in the comfort of your own home. Lotta Bruhn is now offering a free downloadable stickers PDF with an adorable space theme, and all you need is a printer and some adhesive paper. Actually, if you’ve got kids like mine who’ll be happy with a glue stick, just print the designs on regular paper and let them go nuts. I certainly won’t tell anyone....

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The lighter baby bootie

My six-month old is at a point where she could use a little something on her feet other than socks, but doesn’t yet have a need for heartier leather (or fake leather) booties. Enter Wombagully Wonders cotton baby booties, handcrafted by Aussie mom Charlotte Northrope, and perfect for those in-between babies like mine. The baby shoes feature cheerful cotton uppers and a soft microsuede sole for early walkers. I’m loving the adorable apples (pictured), but am also digging the bluebirds and the vintage Japanese fabric booties. Similar in style to various more popular leather baby booties, these cloth baby...

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A whole new level of gift organization

I pride myself on my “gift closet”–I always have a few goodies stashed for those unexpected invitations, and it saves me tons of time and money to stock up at my leisure (and when things are on sale). But if I had a nickel for every time I had to stop and ask the kids if we gave one of those games to Jonathan at his party last year–well, I could buy my gifts at full price. Other gifting organizers let you input people and dates, and send reminders, sure. But Gift Elephant does all of that and it...

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Camp stationery the kids might actually use (we say now)

I went to summer camp for five years, and I loved every minute of it. I also almost never wrote home, despite my mother’s exhortations, because it just seemed too much trouble to write a whole letter when there were things to do. But maybe if I’d had this adorable Note From Camp Kit from Hollycake Press? Each kit contains ten letterpress cards in orange or blue, just the right size for sharing a few choice tidbits. The camp stationery kit also comes with envelopes, a tiny pen, and a “write more” booklet about the joy of writing, so...

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No passport required for this European playground

It’s already been ten years that Putumayo’s eclectic playground series has been introducing families like mine to kid-friendly music from around the globe — from New Orleans, Brazil and even a multi-cultural Sesame Street. And now the new European Playground takes us on a spirited jaunt across the Atlantic. Even if your kids are too young to know the difference between Switzerland and Spain, they’ll still love listening to this collection of diverse family-friendly songs. Starting off with the bouncy Trampolin from the Finnish/Swedish Sas & Kopp and ending with a pretty instrumental Sandy River Belle by Sharon Shannon...

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Organic play clothes of a different stripe

When I first discovered Scout Baby organic children’s clothes at the Bubble trade show a few years ago, it was still a big deal to find fair trade organic clothes that were so soft and so vibrantly colored. Now a lot has changed in that world, and a lot has changed with Scout too. Mimi Leinbach’s organic kids’ clothing line still features soft, high-quality, made-for-play clothes for babies and toddlers, but the spring/summer collection has evolved from featuring esoteric tribal symbols to more classic motifs like monkeys and sharks, all on lovely solids or thick stripes. I totally love...

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A gift for the littlest graduate (or maybe even bigger ones)

If you’re looking for a graduation gift for the preschooler in your life – or even the high schooler who’s not so cool she can’t appreciate a sweet children’s book –  Peep: A Little Book About Taking a Leap gets a big thumbs up from me. Maria van Lieshout’s charming story of a baby chick trying to follow his mom down off a big scary curb wlll captivate kids with the old “try, try again” theme. Think The Little Engine that Could meets the Mo Willems’ pigeon books, but without the edge. I love the adorably sparse art direction...

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Kids dress clothes that make you hope for a special occasion on the calendar

We probably get more reader requests for cute wedding clothes for kids “that aren’t, you know…wedding-y” than nearly any other. And now that San Francisco-based Velvet and Tweed has opened their online shop, far more parents can breath a sigh of relief when outfitting their little flower girl or ring bearer or first birthday party guest of honor. These kids’ dress clothes come courtesy of Designer Tina Schreiber who helped launch Janie & Jack (one of our favorite mall store chains) and knows a little something about chic styling for kids. For girls I love the children’s garden party...

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Move over hippies, tie dye just got cool again

Hey, I know tie-dye. Tie-dye involves buckets, little boxes of dye, and an unholy mess, right? Not anymore, actually. Welcome to 2009, and the Jacquard Products Tie Dye Kit. The dye gets mixed in squirt bottles, the soda ash for pre-soaking your shirts makes the colors super-vibrant, there’s gloves and rubber bands and, oh yeah, an instructional DVD. Go ahead and laugh, but my daughter and her friends watched the entire thing and then they made some professional-looking shirts. (My son and his friends opted to skip the DVD; their shirts came out pretty well, too– with a bit...

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These are a few of my favorite things (in wood)

This little wooden giraffe toy set spotted at the adorable shop My Sweet Muffin is a perfect marriage of toddler toys. First, you have the giraffe on wheels, which is adorable. Next, you have a set of domino-shaped pieces suitable for stacking or other imaginative play. Third, the dominoes fit neatly into the cart which can be hooked to the giraffe or used to tote other items. The whole shebang is made of up to twenty different kinds of wood and finished only in linseed oil so it’s naturally beautiful, and ready for years of playtime. Surprisingly, it’s not...

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Get an A in teachers’ gifts with Khaya Cookies

I personally think that most teachers deserve a sports car and a month in Hawaii as an end-of-year gift, but know that many would just like to hear a heartfelt thank you as the kids scramble out the door for the last time. You might also add a box of the deliciously unique Khaya Cookies to make the beginning of summer break even sweeter. My favorites are the three shortbread flavors like Cranberry Rooibos and Grapeseed which are rich, buttery and crisp but not so sweet that my kids will snarf down the whole box. Khaya cookies have no...

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French shopping, hold the airfare

I must say, despite the CPSA I still remain most confident by mass produced toys when they’re made in Europe. The standards are consistently high, and the products seem made to last more than one kid. Or more than one month as the case often is. Plus, the French know a thing or two about cute. Comptoir d’Enfance is a lovely little online shop filled entirely with French toys, decor, and wonderful baby gifts. You don’t even have to be a Francofile to love sweet Vilac pull toys or fun wall decals, but it would explain why I got...

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Free movies for kids all summer. As in, free. No catch. I swear.

Call me frugal, or cheap, or just a big old party pooper, but there’s just no way I can rationalize taking three young kids to the movies these days when all they really do is gorge themselves on popcorn and bounce around in the big seats. But this summer–with apologies to the other guests in the theater–I think we’re going to be enjoying a break from the hot Atlanta sun with free movies courtesy of Regal Entertainment. As part of their summer free family film festival, Regal Theaters will be showing various G and PG flicks at 10am on Tuesdays and...

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Cards from Paper Culture: Design totally within reach

The beautiful new collection of modern cards, announcements and invitations from Paper Culture have me as excited as any note cards we’ve seen in a while. And we see a whole lot of note cards so that’s saying something. The baby announcements are a welcome change from the same old derivative designs we see pretty much everywhere, combining your own photo with sweet contemporary illustrations in color combos right out of the latest Wallpaper* magazine. There are also some fantastic kids’ birthday invitations (love that pirate!) and a great selection of personalized baby shower invitations that while modern, are...

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The Karaoke Channel: You’ll love it, hate it , or really really love it.

I’ve sung karaoke in a bar once, and my face still reddens at the memory of attempting Hollaback Girl in front of a room full of strangers. My kids share none of my shyness though and since I refuse to drag them to the nearest late-night “open mike,” I’m thankful we’ve discovered The Karaoke Channel website to scratch our sing-along itch. To get started, I tried out The Karaoke Channel Kit which includes two sturdy microphones and a USB vocal mixer, although those pros who have their own microphones can use them as well. I then visited The Karaoke...

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Your own personalized wine bottles – second only to your own personalized vineyard

It’s like we blinked and Mother’s Day is over, Father’s Day is around the corner, and as always, it’s darn near impossible shop for the dads in my life. Fortunately, I was just turned onto Etching Expressions, which makes custom wine bottles that I think would be awesome gifts for that proverbial Guy Who Has Everything. There’s a whole category of Father’s Day wine gifts but I think there are cooler designs if you poke around the site and use a little imagination. I love the funky retro-looking Love design and the Special Thank You bottle could be funny...

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