Month: November 2011

Web Coolness – Thanksgiving placecards, holiday inspiration and best books of 2011

Here are some things we’ve liked reading around the web this week. We hope you will too. Easy-to-make, fall pumpkin placecards will look so perfect at the Thanksgiving table this week. For more inspiration, check out the Martha Stewart Thanksgiving Pinterest board put together by their editors. Do your kids have a colorful room? Check out the Small Kids, Big Color Contest. Big congratulations to our editor and publisher Liz whose personal blog, Mom 101, was named Parents Magazine’s Best All Around Mom Blog by their editors. Hilarious! A baby recreating iconic scenes from movies. Don’t miss our Five...

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I’m just trying to do my jig-saw puzzle…

If you’re looking for a cool little holiday gift for a cool old school friend, I’m thinking this old school jigsaw puzzle might fit the bill. As in, 33 1/2 RPM old school. The Vinyl Collection Puzzle by Bob’s Your Uncle is so cool for the right person; 550 pieces come together to form a photo of a huge shelf full of LPs. Just a few of the bands I can make out from the spines include Sonic Youth, 10,000 Maniacs, The Clash, and the Pyschedelic Furs. Wait… I think that was my record collection. Hm. –Liz Find the...

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Beautiful ornaments with a past life.

Garfield has never been called elegant, nor is Snoopy considered stylish. And yet, in the right hands, the Sunday comics are being transformed into stunning holiday ornaments. The Sea Urchin Recycled Newspaper Ornament from kissadesign on Etsy is a fun new twist on traditional Polish folk art. In fact, the artist’s family has been hand-creating such decorations for over fifty years. This is serious crafting–each ornament includes eighty meticulously hand-formed points for a delicate and celestial look. Hang them from a tree, dangle them from a chandelier at a party, or even use them for a year-round splash of...

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5 ideas for birthday parties that give back

We are honored to once again be working with our sponsor, the American Cancer Society, on their More Birthdays campaign since if we could make one really big wish, it’d that cancer never steals someone from us again. But wishes alone will not cure cancer, so we think one wonderful way to help fight for more birthdays is to find ways to give back with our family’s own birthday parties. Here, five ideas we’re really digging. 1. Ask for donations instead of giftsIf your kids are already swimming in toys, let party-goers know that in lieu of gifts, you...

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‘Ere-be-dragons on your wall

Wallpaper is cool again, and it’s not all girly flowers and damask. If you’ve got a knight in shining armor (and Converse chucks), you won’t want to miss this quirky but elegant wallpaper made just for junior jousters. The ‘Ere-Be-Dragons wallpaper from Paper Boy is a beautiful merger of imagination and style. The founder, a mother of two boys, wanted to create classic and iconic yet edgy designs just for boys, but with lasting appeal for the whole family. And this wallpaper totally fits the bill, because these dragons perfectly fly the edge between whimsical and scary. Whether the boy...

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Children’s thank you cards that will grow on you

Thank you cards can be a chore or an adventure. A joy, even. We vote for joy. The delightful Thank You Card Set from the wonderful shop Draw Me a Lion is the perfect way to make handwriting–and gratefulness–blossom. Two each of the three designs features a flower child that’s more hip than hippie, hearkening back to the retro designs of the 70s and reminding me of one of my all-time favorite kids’ books, The Phantom Tollbooth. The cards are handmade and shipped from Canada, so it may take a little longer than you’re used to. But it’ll be...

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The handmade custom eco stockings were hung by the chimney with care…

I start every holiday season with the craftiest of intentions. Forget visions of sugarplums. In my head, visions of all the gifts and decorations I’m going to make are dancing up a storm. But every November, it hits me. I’m mere weeks away from Christmas and I haven’t even begun. Which is when I find myself turning to Etsy for a little help. And that’s where I found the gorgeous and affordable custom eco-felt stockings by longtime CMP favorite, rikrak studios. Handmade in Canada from ecospun felt -which is made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles- these stockings are...

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Congrats to our Publisher Liz Gumbinner, the Parents Magazine Editors’ Pick for Best All Around Mom Blog

A looong time ago when I had this idea for Cool Mom Picks, I reached out to a few of my blogging friends for help, one of whom was my co-Publisher and Editor in Chief Liz Gumbinner, who I only knew then as the blogger Mom 101. Taken by her amazing ability to string words together and create, well, magic that was both funny and heartfelt, I knew I needed her on my team. Lucky for me, she asked if I wanted a partner, and we’ve been working together ever since. So, when I heard today that her blog...

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My first tools. Ideally not followed by my first stitches.

My boys love woodworking. It certainly helps having a super handy husband and grandpa to keep them busy and tinkering away in the garage. But I have to admit, seeing them wielding heavy tools does frighten me some. A while back, I searched high and low for kid-sized tools. We found an entire section of mock tools at the toy store, but nothing that would actually get a project done. (Why would anyone pretend to drill? they wanted to know.) Thankfully, Red Toolbox has answered their call. They make legitimate, quality tools for small hands including a screwdriver, hammer,...

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Luchador Love

Nacho Libre happens to be one of my all time favorite movies. Something about Jack Black in “stretchy pants,” as he calls it, just puts me in a good mood. Well these posters bring out the giddiness in both me and the kids. Rebecca Paragine is my kind of artist–whimsical and full of energy. Her newest pieces are based on luchador wrestling culture from Mexico, and I can’t help but chuckle. I want to hang them all up because I really can’t pick a favorite print. The vibrant colors, the funny faces, and the silly names all make me...

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Buffy the Dry Skin Slayer

I love exfoliators, but I rarely buy them. Why? I hate digging my fingers into goop and then watching half of it ooze down the shower grate. But with the cold weather here and the radiators blasting, I’m happy to have found a yummy scrub that sidesteps the bad stuff, to leave you feeling lean, clean, and totally buff. Our friends at Mama Mio have put a stake in the heart of dry skin with OMega Body Buff Exfoliator. Squeeze some into your hand while the water heats up and rub it into your skin from neck to toes– before you ever...

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Sew you want to be in pictures

This holiday season, you can do almost anything with your fancy photos: make books, cards, puzzles, even an afghan. But we found one artist putting a beautiful homemade twist on capturing your family’s image, and we think this one’s worthy of framing. Etsy artist Norma Andreu of Cara Carmina uses your details to hand-stitch fabulous art collages of your family using her sewing machine as her brush and black thread as her ink. The results are intricate, unique, and gorgeous. You can choose the hair and clothes, not to mention the words or sayings stitched along the top. Buttons, hearts, and old book...

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Godspell is back on Broadway. Prepare ye.

I first saw Godspell on Broadway as a young girl back in the 70s (I know I know, I’m old) and fell in love with it forever.  As one of my favorite all-time musicals, I was counting down the days until I could catch its return to Broadway. Well now it’s back, and my advice: if you’ll be in the NY area any time soon, get tickets, stat. It’s a pure joy. [don’t miss a great discount code for tickets after the jump!} For the uninitiated, Godspell is the Gospell according to Matthew as told through wonderful song, dance,...

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Fabulous boys clothes at fabulous prices. At last! At last!

As a mom of a boy, I still can’t believe how challenging it can be to find cool, stylish clothes that will last an entire season (ideally longer!) without killing my budget. I’m more than happy to spend a bit more if it means I won’t have to buy new clothes every couple of months which is why I was so happy to have discovered Red 21 Boys a few months ago. Now, they’re our sponsor (hooray!) and they’re offering an amazing exclusive discount just for Cool Mom Picks readers. Which means you–and definitely I–are getting the best of...

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NYC Parents: A perfect excuse to get a sitter Monday night

If you’re a NYC area parent in need an adult night this week (and who doesn’t?) we have a fabulous idea for you –the annual PS8 Author’s Night to Celebrate Reading Monday night at Galapagos Art Space in DUMBO. Stop by for very fun night of champagne, nibbles, and a night of literary greatness with short readings from authors like Tad Friend, Ada Calhoun, Phoebe Potts, Stacy Morrison, Ned Sublette, Alice Bradley, and even Cool Mom Picks’ own Liz Gumbinner. A suggested $25 donation gets you access, with a $50 donation helping to sponsor a PS8 student for their...

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Cool Mom Picks + Lucky Magazine

So here’s some fun news: We’re so excited to be this week’s guest bloggers at the Lucky Kids site this week! We’ve put together 5 picks for a handmade holiday, featuring 5 fabulous handmade items that we’re crushing on hard. Click over to the Lucky Kids blog for all the details. (And man, if they only made those baby booties in our size…) By the way, if you pick up a copy of Lucky Kids Magazine at the newsstand this month, you’ll not only get a ton of inspired holiday ideas, you just might recognize a feature on a...

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Simple, seasonal crafts for the not-so-crafty

Back before I had kids, I was actually pretty crafty. But add four bundles of joy and I’m struggling to think of something to make for dinner, let alone what to do with empty egg cartons. Well, thanks to this new book from one of our fave craft bloggers, Marie LeBaron, I can whip up seasonal activities in a matter of minutes, most of which don’t require me to spend a ton of money at the craft store. I’m already a huge fan of Marie LeBaron’s lovely blog Make and Takes so I’m not surprised that her new book...

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Harajuku Mini for Target launches. Super heart!

So we’ve finally got a look at the much anticipated Gwen Stefani Harajuku Mini line for Target. While it’s hopefully not going to lead Missoni-style riots at the store, I’d say if you’ve got some funky kids to clothe, it’s definitely worth a trip to Tarzhay. [see some more of the Harajuku Mini looks we like after the jump] Japan’s Harajuku street fashion comes to life in the collection, which means mixing and matching the wildest looks you feel comfortable with; think plaids with stripes, layers over tutus, and leggings that match skirts that match vests. It’s a little...

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Because kids really do say the darndest things

Between a personal blog, a paper journal, Facebook and my memory, I have plenty of places to jot down those hilarious things my kids say. The problem is, I have too many places. But mama Alexandra of the creative Kinderpendent blog has designed a sweet little template that makes it so much easier to keep those quotes in one place. And other than your sweat equity and a few supplies, it’s totally free. Kinderpendent’s Quote Books Tutorial offers step-by-step instructions for making your own little booklet in which to record those statements you never want to forget, from earnest...

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Surviving winter days with color

At the risk of this turning into the Fab.com blog (I can’t help it!), today I discovered a new textile artist there that I’m so excited about, because she makes the most lovely scarves. And wildly affordable too. The lightweight scarves and wraps from Portland artist Chelsea Heffner are just beautful. Even more so when they’re 40% off. I love the soft, colorblocked mrieno wool scarves, in both muted palates and the bolder ones like the fuschia/scarlet shown here. There’s also a mulberry/suede combo with just 5 left at the time of publishing that I love; plus some stunning...

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