Category: Around the House

Going coastal; better than going postal.

I am a sucker for kitsch, as long as it’s clever. My apartment is filled with funky knick-knacks that I believe add to its charming–or what my mother likes to call “eclectic”– style, so these witty coastal Reed Wilson Design coasters are perfect for me. Spotted  in part of the Martha Stewart American Made collection on eBay, you’ll find a set of four coasters repping the North, East, West and Gulf Coast. Get it? Coaster?    These double entendre wooden coasters add a touch of artisanal fun to a coffee table. Along with protection from dreaded drink rings, of course. And how great are they for a Fourth of July hostess...

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These 3D cookie cutters are anything but cookie cutter.

Cookie cutters have come a long way since I was a kid and we could choose between Jelly Jar and Lopsided Heart. Thanks to 3D printers, we can now have our cookies cut like charcuterie diagrams, our favorite literary characters, three-dimensional gems, or, well, basically anything your lopsided heart can hope for. Printmeneer is shop printing out 3D cookie cutters in the Netherlands. It  grew from the shop owner’s frustration at not being able to find a miter cookie cutter for Dutch cookies to celebrate Sinterklaas at Christmas. Now thanks to the wonders of 3D printing technology and a little creativity, you can...

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The Maker Dad book: A Father’s Day gift for the DIY dad in your life

I love the idea of a father’s day gift that’s actually an experience rather than, you know, another tie (not that there aren’t some cool ties out there), and that’s exactly what you’ll get with Maker Dad: Lunch Box Guitars, Antigravity Jars, and 22 Other Incredibly Cool Father-Daughter DIY Projects, a new book from Boing Boing co-founder Mark Frauenfelder. A big DIY-er himself, Mark scoured books for cool projects that he could create with his daughters, but couldn’t find just the right fit. (Maybe he hasn’t seen our Pinterest boards?) So he complied his own ideas in Maker Dad,...

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An easy way to find cool, contemporary art for kids

None of us at Cool Mom Picks has an original Picasso in our living rooms as far as I know, but we do believe in finding cool art for kids that engage, inspire, and yes, decorate. LittleCollector has long been a favorite online spot of ours for their carefully curated selection of kid-friendly, affordable contemporary art. So we are happy to learn that they have partnered with Artsy, one of the world’s biggest online art platforms, to bring the cool artwork they feature to a wider audience and make it even easier to find. The LittleCollector gallery on Artsy features art from quirky to sweet, colorful...

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This watercolor artist made sophisticated superhero art. Our hero!

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a really lovely watercolor of your favorite superhero, and it’s ready to frame! As much as we love covering cool artwork for kids, we’re excited to have found a collection of sophisticated superhero art that you would expect to find in your favorite local gallery. We’ve brought you artsy movie posters and Star Wars art, and now we’re excited to see some of our favorite characters brought to life in atmospheric watercolors by Clementine, a French mom of two living in Australia. Her Blule website gallery includes everything from cats to fairy tale shoes, but what we really...

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Frazier and Wing mobiles: You don’t have to be a baby to smile up at them

I’ve been singing the praises of the gorgeous handmade mobiles from Portland’s Frazier and Wing for a while now, and as much as I love the artistry Heather brings to her paper mobiles and reusable handmade paper garlands, I’m so excited to see her getting into new materials. She’s just introduced the striking new Auden mobile made from German felt circles and  natural maple. It’s a gorgeous piece of original art that can transition from a baby’s room to pretty much anywhere in the house. If you love wood, then you may like the Sandro mobile in a dark walnut that looks...

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Our favorite Maya Angelou quotes, in honor of one of the best human being in the history of the world

I can’t tell you how sad we all are about the death of Maya Angelou today at 86. Starting with the must-read I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings back when I was a kid, I was instantly captivated by her amazing command of the language, and how profoundly she could find truth and convey meaning even using the most accessible prose.  The older I grew, the more important her essays and poems became to me. In fact, there are so many quotes we have all commonly heard, that you may not even know they originated with Dr. Angelou. If you feel like surrounding yourself with a little more of her remarkable...

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What to do about picky eaters: 4 parenting books to help you call a truce on mealtime battles

Wondering what to do about picky eaters and how to feed them can be one of the most exhausting parenting challenges. We’re responsible for feeding our kids at least three times every day (or so we’d hope), and three daily battles is three too many. When you’re ready to stop the madness, these 4 parenting books can be amazingly helpful, and hopefully one is right for you. My hope is that they help you get your child to eat what’s on the table–or at least end the power struggles when he won’t.  All are available through our affiliate Amazon, or local indie booksellers...

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10 of the best essential summer wine accessories to keep your vino fresh, cool and portable.

I love a good glass of wine any time of the year, but especially during the summer months. There’s something about sipping a good rosé on a picnic or starting dinner with an effervescent, chilled dry Lambrusco that brings out the wine lover in me. The weather makes wine feel casual and my favorite summer wine accessories make drinking it easy. Hope they help you too.   In the summer I nearly exclusively drink from my GoVino glasses, which we count among our picnic essentials here at Cool Mom Picks. These attractive cups made specifically for wine are made from a BPA-free...

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The silver lining over the crib

One of the most fun things about opening the Cool Mom Picks shop last week at great.ly is the ability to introduce new artists to all of you. One of our favorite finds: the lovely handmade cloud mobiles from Jahje Ives who was one of the very first makers we knew we wanted to feature. I was never a big fan of mobiles with music–especially now that it’s so easy to pump in your own favorite (and decidedly less repetitive) sleepytime music via MP3. These mobiles, on the other hand, do everything I want a mobile to do, floating and twisting and enchanting...

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Picnic-perfect plastic tableware for toddlers

It’s picnic weather down South, and we’re spending most nights out on the back porch, sipping on some tea and eating dinner with the neighbors. It’s idyllic, until the kids start playing frisbee with their plates. I’m not big on plastic dinnerware inside, but when we’re dining al fresco you never know what can happen, so I stick with the non-breakable–and preferably non-toxic–variety of kids’ cups dishes tableware. If you’re looking for an option beyond melamine but with the same durability and convenience, our family’s new favorites are the cool kids’ dishes in Lollaland’s mealtime set. Made in the USA in...

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Wine2go portable wine bags: The life of the (pool) party

Our neighborhood pool has a strict no-glass policy, which is why I’m excited about the portable wine bags from Wine2Go. I get that glass, concrete and bare feet are a dangerous mix, but relaxing by a moonlit pool after a long day while my kids swim just feels like a nice time to have a glass of Sauvignon Blanc and this is a better way to do it than you might think.   The plastic Wine2Go container holds a full bottle of wine, while the Flask2Go portable wine bag each holds 8 ounces, or 5 shots, of liquor. Not that I recommend slamming...

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Beyond Baby by Meagan Francis. Your BFF for the next stages of parenthood.

We’re longtime fans of Meagan Francis of The Happiest Home here at Cool Mom Picks. Beyond Baby, her latest guide and accompanying workbook, makes another wonderful resource for parents, offering productive and calming exercises to help them make the transition from all-consuming babyhood to the next ages and stages in parenting. The lessons in Beyond Baby are geared toward small, easily digested challenges, spread out over 40 weeks and organized into five sections. Each week tackles a scenario–from the state of your home to the state of your mind–and gives you a challenge to complete. Some are fairly straightforward, like...

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Custom peg dolls that become fun, modern family portraits. Bonus: you don’t have to pose on a chaise lounge.

Family portraits have come a long way since mom was draped across the chaise lounge, dad stood stoically behind, and the kids and cat were perched stiffly around them. I’m not sure when this was ever a good idea, but I’m thrilled that artists these days are taking a fun, interpretive play on the traditional family portrait, from the personalized embroidery hoops in our Mother’s Day gift guide, to custom embroidered portraits on pendants to the awesome custom LEGO family portrait we just found. One of my new favorites at the moment are the custom wooden Waldorf peg dolls by Bazar...

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12 of the most awesome Star Wars posters and artwork for Star Wars Day

We love Star Wars posters and the fact that its imagery, icons and lines never get old. The evidence being that there are still so many great artists finding inspiration from the series and creating terrific Star Wars inspired artwork of all styles. If you’re looking for a cool, modern Star Wars poster for a kid’s room–or just you know, your own room–here are a few of my favorites in honor of Star Wars Day. May the Fourth be with you, friends. Retro-modern Star Wars posters at the Handz Shop   DIY Star Wars cross stitch pattern at Wee Little...

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Cool cloth napkins bring ombre to your kitchen

I weaned my family off of paper napkins awhile ago, and we’ve never gone back. This is mostly thanks to my ever-growing supply of cool cloth napkins, like these ombre napkins at Nine Space. I love that the ombre trend is hitting kitchen accessories, and these napkins are the perfect way to introduce it into your home. They’re a fun pop of color for your dinner table, outdoor BBQ or picnic basket, and a nice change from the often simple, subdued napkins I’ve seen and own. And considering how much time you spend at the table–or if you’re me, in...

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Everything is awesome when you’re part of a custom Lego family portrait

When it comes to family portraits, everything is awesome when you don’t have to wear matching shirts and comb everyone’s hair. With Legos, this is possible, and everyone’s going to look fabulous. Plus, you won’t have that one photo where everyone is smiling and looks great–except for the kid who had to make a monster face. These Lego Family Portrait prints from Peanutoak Print in Lisbon, Portugal are a great way to capture your family in a playful way that appeals to kids and doesn’t require them to say cheese. Just tell the artist what everyone looks like, and she’ll...

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Pretty herb labels that help you tell your sorrel from your sage

It’s the time of year that I can go for a nice, beautiful little indoor herb garden on my urban windowsill. I love the idea of always having fresh basil for pesto, and fresh mint for lemonade or iced tea.  A Click and Grow Smart Herb Garden is a great way to start, but when you’re ready to replant into larger individual containers, it’s nice to make them pretty. These herb labels for flower pots can help. And aren’t they sweet on a simple, handpainted, two-tone flower pot? Even I can do that. It’s a neat idea if you have...

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One Simple Change: a book of healthy living tips that actually work.

I’ve never been one for new year’s resolutions, but every spring you’ll find me looking to clean up in more ways than one. There’s something about the budding plants, fresh green veggies, and warming weather that inspires me to recommit to healthier living. And still riding the momentum of Earth Day this week, I’m turning to One Simple Change: Surprisingly Easy Ways to Transform Your Life, a new book of healthy living tips by naturopath Winnie Abramson, for inspiration. I’ve followed Winnie for years through her blog Healthy Green Kitchen where she shares fabulously healthy recipes, as well as...

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Felted wool bowls full of love. Or better, jewelry for Mother’s Day.

I bought a few felted wool bowls a long time ago and while they seemed a bit of a frivolous purchase at the time, they turned out to be really useful. They sat on my dresser to catch all my rings, dainty bracelets, and tiny necklaces just perfectly–that is, until my mom liked them enough to take them home with her. So upon discovering these custom felted bowls at The Felterie on Etsy, I decided was a sign for me to add some new ones back into my home decor mix, especially considering how much I use them.  ...

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Learning dishes for kids and other educational tableware that sneak some brain food in with the vegetables

Mealtime is the one time my busy kids sit still for a little while, so I love that smart people are creating such interesting learning dishes for kids, educational placemats, and other housewares that let kids do more than doodle at the table. Or uh, play Candy Crush. Whether or not your kids will actually review math facts or practice cursive over the mashed potatoes, they’re likely to absorb some of the information presented in front of them, which I think is kind of neat. ALPHABET PLACEMATS For little ones, Brinware’s brightly colored, easy-to-clean silicone alphabet placemats (above) make for a...

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Pretty desk organization: Make it your tax day resolution for next year.

This is the day, my friends. Tax Day. Which is more than simply the day that you cringe as you drop that massive check into the mailbox or break open the bubbly to celebrate a refund. At least for me, it’s always the day I vow to get my receipts and accounting more organized for the year ahead. And…it rarely happens. Just being honest here. But hey, this year could be different. See Jane Work, a longtime favorite spot of ars for all things organization, has some great storage products and solutions for catching those wayward receipts, insurance forms,...

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Silikids new silicone drink covers and table accessories for kids brighten up spring

Our readers recently went nuts for Sip Snap lids, silicone drink covers that stretch to fit over any glass, turning it into a sippy. Well clearly it’s a trend because now CMP favorite  Silikids has just released new silicone drink covers too, along with some other fun products that keep mealtime colorful–and a lot less messy–for families. When my youngest turned three I went on a rampage, determined that we would be a sippy-cup free home and my children would know how to drink from a regular glass, darn it. But there are times that visiting friends’ kids come over, and I...

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A new collection of deliciously soft, handcrafted kids’ home accessories from Lil’ Pyar

The dreamy new collection of kid stuff from luxury home decor brand Pyar & Co is perfect for design-conscious moms who want their kids’ home accessories to be durable, playful and homemade. The Lil’ Pyar collection melds ultra-yummy fabrics made from natural materials, happy (but not garish) colors, and modern graphic elements for a small line of Pinterest-worthy home goodies.   The standout from the collection tome is the Kitab Pouf, which is handmade from recycled canvas and adorned with letters that are hand-painted–a far cry from those mass produced poufs that seeming to be poufing up everywhere. I...

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If mama can’t go to Acapulco, bring the Acapulco to mama

I got a brief taste of spring this past week and that’s only made me hungry for more outdoor time. (Oh, how I envy my LA friends who apologize profusely when the temperature dips to 64.) One look at these Acapulco Multi-Colored Lounge Chairs at CB2 and I knew I had to have them. The retro-modern shape of classic Acapulco chairs is so fabulous to begin with, but the handwoven color block cords are what really pulled me in. And the price is not bad, considering I’ve seen similar for twice as much. Now I just need a big...

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The all natural laundry detergent tablet gentle and safe enough to lick.

We just moved, and the New House Rules state that kids do their own laundry. But my preschooler just can’t be trusted with dangerous chemicals that might end up in his eyes or mouth–or on the dog or in the toilet or under my pillow. Luckily, we have a handy bag of Vaska One. These all natural laundry detergent tablets made of safe, natural cleaners are a great way to get little kids motivated about cleaning up messes instead of just making them. We dig the regular Vaska detergent too, especially the lavender scent. But Vaska One is especially convenient...

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Oh Joy for Land of Nod: A new line of baby gifts and decor bursting with fun.

When we heard that one of our favorite design bloggers, Joy Cho, was launching the Oh Joy for Land of Nod baby collection, we seriously couldn’t wait to get a look at it. All of her design collaborations have been terrific and we figured this one would be both terrific–and affordable. And so it is. Well, not like thrift shop affordable, but definitely in the realm of baby gifts that people outside the 90210 can afford. Starting today, you’ll find cute, colorful, playful baby gifts with modern touches from artwork to bedding and decor. Even three fun patterns of an elephant...

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New toy storage solutions from P’kolino Mess Eaters

If your little monsters can tear up a room in under 15 minutes, check out how the new P’kolino line of monstrous Mess Eaters storage units are ready to put it all back together again in a snap.  And now that we can find this playful line in our local Target store, it’s even easier to stock up on the toy storage solutions that help keep parents sane. We saw the collection introduced Toy Fair just a few weeks back, and we’re so happy it’s now available so quickly. The line consists of brightly-colored, friendly monsters that can live in...

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Sweet dreams are made of these.

My daughter’s baby mobile came with the crib and featured four demented and hungry-looking rabbits, so I don’t know why I’m surprised she had sleep issues. Maybe a cozy handmade modern baby mobile  like the new from our pals at Blue Without You would be more soothing. Whether you prefer hearts or stars, they’re sure to bring sweet dreams when dangling overhead. These simple baby crib mobiles come in a rainbow of colors and feature hearts or stars and clouds, all swinging beautifully from a mountain laurel branch–with non-toxic finish, of course. Select from one of the color schemes shown...

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Embossed custom rolling pins: Mad tools for mad baking skills.

I finally understand the benefit of those embossed, custom rolling pins. I love to bake for my family, especially a yummy batch of homemade cookies, but it all turns tragic when I try to decorate them. As in, my kids aren’t quite sure if they’re supposed to be Easter eggs or basketballs. Well, I don’t have to be awesome at it to love baking, so I’m itching to get my hands on one of the amazing custom rolling pins from Valek’s Rolling Pins on Etsy. These wooden rolling pins remind me of my grandmother’s kitchen, but they are embossed...

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